#GoReadWrite2016Join National Book Store and Raffles Makati’s Philippine Readers and Writers Festival featuring Pulitzer award winning author Adam Johnson and bestselling authors Paula McLain and Anna Todd from August 26 to 28, 2016 at the Raffles Makati.
Admission is free! Attend three days of book signings, discussions, and panels about books, literature, and culture from top Filipino writers and artists.
All events will be held at the Raffles Makati with registration starting at 9 a.m. every day.
9:30am – 12:00pm Lines of Flight:
The Practice and Limits of Realism in Philippine Fiction Charlson Ong, Jaime An Lim, Dean Francis Alfar, Luna Sicat Cleto, Gabriela Lee, and Eliza Victoria.
Moderated by J. Neil C. Garcia
University of the Philippines Press
10:00am – 12:00pm Mundong Hindi Palaging Atin: Lunsad-Aklat ng The Lait Chronicles, Wounded Little Gods, at Instructions on How to Disappear Gabriela Lee, Eliza Victoria, John Jack G. Wigley, Carl Javier, Dean Francis Alfar, Alan Navarra, Carlos Malvar, Joey Arguelles, and Ferdinand Pisigan Jarin
Reactions to Marte were of varying intensity and ran the gamut from “It’s astonishing!” to “This play should never have been staged”. Having written at least four books now out in the market, I’m not a stranger to less than stellar reviews. Still, I was surprised by how the negative-to-harsh reviews affected me. Is my confidence crumbling? Is my thick skin no longer thick enough?
Then it hit me. I write prose fiction. With prose fiction, the book or story is marked in my head as DONE following publication, and becomes psychologically separate from myself.
Above all, it is static. Interpretations of the text may change, but the text, every time you flip the page, remains the same.
Not so with theater.
I sat through four out of six shows of Marte and each one of them was different. An actor forgets a line or adds a line, the lights are changed to enhance a scene, the director changes a blocking instruction. A prop falls, gets snagged on a costume, goes missing. A fantastic performance tonight may be middling in the matinee show the next day. And vice versa! With theater, until the very last curtain call, you can’t breathe easy, you can’t relax, because until then you are not done.
It was the most physically and psychologically demanding creative project I have ever worked on.
And I loved it.
My deepest gratitude to everyone who joined me (willingly or unwillingly) in this production journey.
Marte class picture.
On the way to (Tagaytay) CCP.
Pre-show warm-up in Buff aka Backstage Extension c/o Direk Nic Pichay.
I’d like to claim that the first two shows were a success, based on the comments of close friends and audience members who messaged me online and spoke to me right after the show–and also because the lights came on at the right time, the smoke machine didn’t malfunction–I’m probably not the best judge because I’m too close to this.
See you in the theater, and tell us what you think! We have four more shows to go.
July 7 – 8 PM
July 8 – 3 PM
July 13 – 3 PM
July 17 – 8 PM
Visit the CCP Box Office or Ticketworld Outlets. Tickets can also be bought on the day of the show–please line up for tickets one hour prior.
J celebrated his birthday recently. I wanted to give him a cake with his likeness as a topper, playing video games, but since I was working with a limited budget, I decided to go for cupcakes instead.
I found Swell Sweets through good old Google, and browsed their designs, as well as external reviews by previous customers. Gel of Swell Sweets replies promptly and is very nice. I was also able to speak to her on the phone after giving her pegs through email, and she described what she planned to do “to make it special”. (Actually, I called their phone number just to make sure the outfit actually exists before making my deposit. You’ll never know, these days.)
Their website is under construction, but the link above goes to their Instagram. Check out their cakes, cookies, and cupcakes! For cupcakes, they require a minimum order of two dozen cupcakes, for a maximum of two designs. You can email Gel through firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more details, or to ask for a quotation.
J’s pretty happy with his PS4 and D20 cupcakes! PS4 is buttercream (my favorite) and the D20 is chocolate. Everything is edible except the stick and the wrapping.
The city makes you miss the idyllic pastoral life (which only ever looks idyllic when you’re looking from afar; after a while, it becomes tiresome and you miss the city again). I don’t look forward to the commute, or the lack of air-conditioning (listen to me whine), but I do look forward to the peace and quiet.
I traveled with my closest high school friends from April 27 to 28 from Bulacan to Bataan to Tarlac and back again. We met up in Malolos City early in the morning of the 27th to travel to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan. We stopped by the Mount Samat National Shrine, also known as the Dambana ng Kagitingan (Shrine of Valour), in Pilar, Bataan, since it was a special request by our designated driver. (Since he’s the driver, and he owns the car, we actually have no choice. I’m glad we went, though.)
Mount Samat National Shrine
The shrine complex and the Memorial Cross were built to honor the Filipino and American soldiers who fought during the Battle of Bataan (January to April, 1942).
Entrance is PhP 30 per person.
The elevator has been under repair since early this year, so we were not able to go to the top of the Memorial Cross.
There is a museum in the basement of the complex.
Above: Japanese propaganda, according to the Americans. The truth, according to the Japanese. I wonder what the Philippines would have been like if they just left us the f– alone. But alas, history happened.
I kept reading this as “azucar” due to the azucareras of nearby Tarlac, but this heritage resort is named after its owner: The Houses of the Philippines by Acuzar. Jose “Gerry” Acuzar & team started dismantling, transporting, and rebuilding Spanish houses and mansions in Bataan in 2003. The houses came from Manila (Tondo, Binondo and Quiapo), Quezon City, Bulacan (there were a LOT of houses from Bulacan), Pampanga, La Union, Ilocos and Cagayan.
We got two rooms at a discount. We paid PhP 1,800 per head. (There were eight of us.)
The room we got was HUGE. Taking a bath will literally tire you because of all the square meters you’ll have to cover.
I did not read up on Las Casas, so I was surprised by how large the resort was (400 hectares). There is a jeep and a tram that goes around the resort to bring guests to and from their hotel rooms.
Precisely because I did not read up on Las Casas, I didn’t know it’s near a beach or that it has a pool. Bring swimming gear, for the love of god (or you’ll end up buying overpriced swimming gear on the way to the resort).
They have a nice pool.
We rode a Banana Boat and I scratched my face when we fell into the water. I hate water sports. Whose idea is this? I thought we’re just here to soak up some culture???
Cafe Marivent is where you’ll have breakfast if you’re an overnight guest. We decided to have lunch here as well. A bit of a bad idea. Food is expensive and comes in small servings. If your group has a car, you’re better off driving to the Bagac Public Market. (Which was what we did for dinner. Consider: Halo-halo at Cafe Marivent costs PhP255. Halo-halo in the public market is PhP75. Sa palengke ka na lang, di ba.)
They serve a pretty good buffet-style breakfast.
Bringing food inside the resort is discouraged. Corkage fee is a whopping PhP500 per head.
During the tour: Wear footwear you can easily remove and slip back on again. You’ll be asked to remove footwear before entering the casas.
For pasalubong:They sell pearl jewelry and some good cashew butter at their panaderia. Bread is expensive. They sell cheese bread for PhP50 a pop! But I thought the sweet and creamy cashew butter at PhP265 a bottle is worth it.
There is a Heritage Tour that meets here (see photo above) every hour. I enjoyed the tour. I love old houses and historical tsismis.
While waiting you can check out the games in the entertainment room. (The second floor is part of the tour.)
According to Mica, our tour guide, Las Casas has 27 heritage homes. The hour-long tour will give you background info about the houses’ origins and previous owners, and how they ended up at Las Casas. Among the houses featured is the home of Jose Rizal’s mother, Teodora Alonzo (Casa Biñan); the house that served as the first University of the Philippines (Casa Hidalgo), and the home of the Novicio clan (Casa Luna), to which the Luna brothers’ mother belonged.
Below is a not very good shot of the exterior of Las Casas’s newest luxury casa. You can rent all three floors for PhP150,000 a night, and you’ll get a butler and unlimited cookies and coffee.
A better shot, using my friend J’s GoPro:
A recreated Escolta.
We woke up early the next morning for a walk along the beach.
Look at this Venice-like view outside our room.
My friend presenting the West Philippine Sea. Guests are allowed on the beach from 6 AM to 6 PM only, for their own safety. The pool is open until 9 PM.
More than the place and the history, I enjoyed hanging out with my friends, whom I have known since 1999. We talked about everything from our idiotic teenage worries to amortization payments to ophthalmology appointments to maintenance meds to Wacky (don’t ask). A few years more and we’ll be talking about menopause and rheumatism.
It’s good to be back! I missed last year’s Summer Komikon so I made it a point to attend this year and ask kind folks online what good titles are out there.
There were a lot.
What we got:
Lost (Rob Cham, Anino)
12:01 (Russell Molina and Kajo Baldisimo, Anino)
Kare-Kare Komiks(Andrew Drilon, Anino)
Amorsolo Esperanza & Andres Celestial (Elbert Or, Anino)
ZsaZsa Zaturnnah sa Kalakhang Maynila Blg. 2 (Carlo Vergara, Visprint)
Congratulations, You’re a Girl! (Grickenfish, self-pub)
Bits & Pieces (Grickenfish, self-pub)
Ugh 1 & 2 (Hulyen, self-pub)
Gekorr(Pancho Karambola, self-pub)
Alaala ng mga Anino(Mike Esteves and Mikey Marchan, self-pub)
Ligaya(Fatima Bergonia and Adrienne Onday, self-pub)
Aswang de Manila (Ianthe Pimentel and Kevin Samala, Blue Indie Komiks)
Buhay Habangbuhay(Paolo Herras and Tepai Pascual, Meganon Comics)
+ a couple of books from Charles Tan (not sold at the event–thanks Charles!)
We were very happy with our purchases and will spend the next few days going through them. My early raves and recommendations: Lost, 12:01, Congratulations, You’re a Girl!, Bits & Pieces, and Ugh. I hope to find the time and energy to review them one by one.
Thank you to everyone who dropped by the Visprint table! (Apologies if I forgot your name/got your name wrong/called you by a different name/asked for your name when I should obviously know who you are. It’s embarrassing. I’m really sorry. I’m bad with names.)
I’ll add more photos here as soon as I get them! (I remember posing with Alexandra Trese.)
We escaped the summer heat and dropped by Greeka Kouzina (which I also recommend) for dinner. It’s a short walk away from Bayanihan Center.