Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April = Summer = Fun

Here's an amusing photo of the April cover cintra board with John-D, Lourdes and me. We attended a Mommy-Fitness symposium (of which John-D was the excellent emcee) at the new Atrium of SM Megamall.

The April issue has lots of fun and important tips for a happy healthy summer. Here I learned (with mouth falling open) what bottle water does to the body and the environment. (You may want to pick this up for that article alone). One thing is sure: the one who wrote the feature, Ditas, mountaineer extraordinaire, hasn't been seen with a bottle of water since. XD

As we worked on this issue, we dubbed it with different names: "the food issue" and "the green issue," besides the original "the summer issue." Summer, because it brings us back to the great outdoors, is a time we find ourselves most close to nature--hence, the "green" or that yearning to leave the world in good (if not better) condition for the next generation (i.e. babies!).

Food happened to be highlighted too, especially for women who are trying to have a baby and who have just had a baby. (Interesting how these stages are often not focused on, don't you think so?)

That pretty swimmer on the cover, by the way, is SM Starbaby winner Samantha Sayson, who loved every minute in the water--she even went down the slide (her Tita held her of course)! Kristin Rodriguez took the photos. Baby magazine is published by Marathon Publishing Co. and is sold at all National Bookstores, Babyland (Robinsons Galleria, Shaw Blvd. near Cherry Foodarama, Shoppesville), Baby & Co. (The Podium and Power Plant Mall), Bufini, Procreation Shangri-la mall, Big & Small Co. Shangri-la Mall.

Friday, March 27, 2009

100 posts & The Best Cat Ever

Technically, this is my 101st post, because Blogger tells me I have a total of 100. But I do remember some glitch happening a few months back that made Blogger add 1 to my total number of posts, so 100. But that's beside the point.

Right now I'm reading a book by Cleveland Amory, the animal rights activist and writer who wrote that nice book called The Cat Who Came for Christmas, which we took up in nonfiction class. This book I'm reading now is called The Best Cat Ever, and it turns out to be book three in a trilogy where The Cat Who Came... is book one.

Reviews of the Cat trilogy actually say that the books are biographical--as in: Amory writes Polar Bear's (that's the cat's name) biography. But I think it's more like memoirs, autobiographical snippets, which, in Amory's not-so-famous status, will not make the book sell. But Amory was wise in this way: he shared his stories by hinging them on a unifying element, and that was the cat. And though the author himself was, like Polar Bear--if he could forgive me--neither celebrity nor VIP, the book is quite a gem. It looks beyond the who's who and what's what and the boo hoos, and a reader can pick up a thing or two about good writing. ;-)

Here's an observation of Amory's that I found rather true--despite the fact that I love writing. There are just some days when one feels the need to do something else. An excerpt:

When you are a writer almost anything except writing seems a far more interesting thing to be doing. Cleaning up the house, sharpening pencils, telephoning, rearranging books, even reading something you have read quite recently--these all seem infinitely superior occupations compared to the job of actually putting your own words on paper.

Ordinarily, this quote would make one think that perhaps the person didn't enjoy writing in the first place. But if you really didn't want to write, why bother writing all that down? I suppose writers are the only ones who are in danger when it comes to whining about the thing they do. That's because they're the only ones who get a chance to record their, uh, shortcomings.

So here's a little writer-ly resolution (which I can imagine my own cat Petru giving me, with his signature swooshy tail and evil blue eye): stop whining and start writing.

Now I have 5 posts for March!

EDIT: P.S. I finished the book after 1 week, and it made me cry. I was crying last night for a cat that was put to sleep 17 years ago. Polar Bear, I take back what I wrote, you have celebrity.

Monday, March 23, 2009

"Superhero Duties"

I got this term from Sunnyday some months ago. She used it to describe her turn to wash the dishes at night--"Brb," she would type in chat, "It's time for my superhero duty."

I'm writing about this now because just last Sunday I found myself doing the same superhero duty--our kasambahay took a leave for the weekend, and the Sunday morning kitchen chores hadn't been assigned to anyone. It so happened too that my parents just got home from the market and they were busy putting away the vegetables, not to mention nobody had done the daily chores of sweeping, dust-wiping, mopping, feeding the cat and so on.

Little though my house is, there's just so much to do--and even if they're pretty easy to do one by one, the fact that you have to do all of them can be pretty overwhelming. Add to that your day's duties apart from the housework and perhaps that's why some people can say there's really no time for anything.

But going back to the title. Doing chores, no matter how small and insignificant-seeming (what a word), brightens up the home significantly. Take washing the dishes. After our breakfast that day, looking at the dining table was a pain. All those plates and cubiertos, glasses and mugs everywhere. You'd wonder how a family of five eats at a table like that. But when I rolled up those sleeves and managed to convince myself that it just "looks like" a lot, it all started to look better. Before I knew it the dishes were out of the table, and the plates were stacked away properly etc. and the dining room looked inviting again.

My mom, holding a rag, came out of the bedroom prepared to declutter the dining table. Apparently she had told my dad not to touch the clutter, she said she'd do it herself. When she saw that I had fixed it, her first reaction had been, "Did your Papa tell you to clean up for me?" Wow. I think that just goes to show how little initiative I have around the house. I guess the superhero balloon sort of deflated from there.

I suppose a superhero's duty is what it is because it's constant, and not a "whim" kind of thing. To volunteer once to wash the dishes is simply that--your turn for a day. But to take the rein without anyone pushing you to, to get the job done (and done well) so constantly that the only way anyone will notice that you do it is when you suddenly stop doing it one day (like in the storybook Chenelyn, Chenelyn!)--now that's Superhero Duty. And the awesomeness of it is anything, not just chores, can be superheroic.

...and to help us along, maybe sometimes we just need to look at things in a "cool" kind of perspective, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The pregnancy issue!

Women's month brings a very cute girl on the cover of Baby Magazine! Kiesha Isabelle H. Tabucal here plays at We Play, with photographer Kristin Rodriguez behind the lens.

What's in store for readers for International Women's Month? First, the many pregnancy-related articles--including preggy exercises, baby's development in the womb, solutions to pregnancy discomforts, and how to write a birth plan--are sure to help women get into their new role as moms-to-be with as much help and ease as possible.

Next, there's a story on four generations of strong and admirable women. Hopefully the story of Amelia Juico Gordon, Barbara Gordon-delos Reyes, Amelia Ann Alba, and 6-year-0ld Isabella Rosa Alba inspires other women--mothers and daughters--out there to create family traditions worth keeping and instill in their daughters a compassion that ties the family together and makes the community they serve thrive.

Also, get to read about the Magna Carta of Women. What is it all about? This bill can do a lot of good for women, but some of its provisions have to be changed. It's good to be aware why.

Hope you learn a lot from (and enjoy) reading this March issue--I know I did! Baby magazine is published by Marathon Publishing Co. and is sold at all National Bookstores, Babyland (Robinsons Galleria, Shaw Blvd. near Cherry Foodarama, Shoppesville), Baby & Co. (The Podium and Power Plant Mall), Bufini, Procreation Shangri-la mall, Big & Small Co. Shangri-la Mall.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Palm Sunday is Papet Pasyon!

Lola Amel with Magdalena, Jesus and Batang Lalaki. Photo from Teatrong Mulat.

Once a year, we bring the puppets called Jesus, Maria, Juan, Magdalena, Pedro, Tomas, Felipe, and Judas out of their sleeping bags (i.e. boxes) for the annual free show, Papet Pasyon. Last Sunday was our first rehearsal, so that explains why "Jerusalem, Jerusalem" keeps playing in my head. Happens every time.

Of course, I'm inviting everyone to come see our Holy Week show! It's free, so all you'll really worry about is transportation! :-D Here's the invite I sent by email.

(the Philippines' 1st and only children's senakulo in puppetry)
April 5, 2009/Palm Sunday
3:00 & 5:30 pm
Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio Teatro Papet Museo
64 Mapagkawanggawa St., Teachers Village, Quezon City
for details call 921.9773, 929.0895, 0918.903.2040

Directions from Quezon Memorial Circle: Take Commonwealth Ave., RIGHT on Masaya St. (before Mercury Philcoa; corner w/ tricycles, Ministop and Bank of Commerce) LEFT on Maginhawa St. go straight until you see Holy Family School. Theater on the left side in front of Talleres de Nazaret.

From Katipunan: Take CP Garcia, go straight when you see National Stud Farm turn LEFT. RIGHT on Magiting St. when you see Ministop turn RIGHT (Maginhawa St.). Next street to your LEFT is Mapagkawanggawa. Theater on the left side in front of Talleres de Nazaret.


In 1977, Prof. Amelia Lapena-Bonifacio was invited by the Dept of Speech and Drama to present one of her plays. Originally a playwright for adult audiences, Prof. Bonifacio decided to present Abadeja: Ang Ating Sinderella, a puppet play based on a Visayan folktale. It was performed in cooperation with DUP and UP Rep Company. Moved by the enthusiasm and spurred by her own long-standing dream of forming a children's theater group, Prof Bonifacio founded TEATRONG MULAT NG PILIPINAS (1977). "Mulat" means to open and to awaken; hence, a theater to awaken children to the beauty and richness not only of their own culture, but of still unfamiliar Asian cultures. Papet Pasyon was first staged in 1985. Visit www.mulat.org for more info.

See you there, folks!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

On modesty when the required attire is "ahem"

Taking off from Cady Driver's post in Modestly Yours, I realize there's a lot about stage and theater that, shall we say, attacks modesty with the reason "but it's art" on its side.

There was a conversation repeated to me by one of my high school teachers (one popular comedian in showbiz used to be her student). After graduating, the comedian went into showbiz and had to dress up the way mass media wanted her to (not exactly modest). My teacher asked her, "Why do you allow that?" and she was said to reply, "Because the director said so."

There's also a play I saw last year in UP, and in one scene women were dressed in nothing but a sheet draped over the shoulders and tied with a flimsy belt. Seeing that, I wondered then what these women thought of the costumes and the movements they had to do. Were they like the comedian who thought it's okay because the director said so? Did they think "Don't compromise art"? I wondered whether they felt uncomfortable...I know I did, all the while hoping that they had skin toned leotards underneath like in Eula Valdes in Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah (tough luck).

This is a pretty lengthy introduction! It's certainly easy to fall into the trap of That's Just How It Is when it comes to art and showbiz--and come to think of it, the same excuse arises in fitness centers (here I'm thinking about yoga, where an outfit made out of one square yard of cloth seems excessive).

I started taking yoga classes late last year, and my first concern had been what if they made me wear those itty bitty things? (Luckily, my sister had enrolled a week earlier, and this was how I learned that more cloth could be worn.)

I'm not gonna overlook the fact that for Filipinos everything is a fashion show, which explains pretty much how one could spot a beginner in a snap (s/he's the one who is dressed to impress). So besides wanting to cover up more, I also wanted to look like a seasoned yogi (tough luck on this one also--you can't hide inexperience).

In yoga couture, I learned, what's more important is what your clothes allow you to do and not what they make you look like. I ended up settling for a t-shirt and leggings combo because it satisfied four things: I could move in it, my teacher can see if I'm doing the poses correctly, it doesn't obstruct breathing in the bending postures (see above) and I don't feel over exposed (not like in pic above).

Perhaps when it comes to costumes, there are certain needs that have to be satisfied. So for ballet that should be the stretchy and fit leotards that allow the dancer to move and not get snagged. (Recalling the post in Modestly Yours, the fishnet stockings for the teen dancers weren't necessary!) And in theater, thick makeup, no matter how unpleasant, is a need so that you don't lose your face in the spotlights (even actors, not just the actresses, wear makeup).

But anything that takes away a degree of modesty without answering to the needs of the activity is simply crossing the line. Because real creativity finds a way to make a better costume when the first idea for the costume is simply unwearable. Art for art's sake is a popular argument--but art shouldn't compromise human dignity (big word!). Whether you're a dancer, a stage actor or a yogi, you must know that it's the costume (and actions you allow yourself to do) that spells out whether you're a serious participant of an artful discipline or simply a knut-and-bolt in a spectacle made for gawkers to enjoy.