Tuesday, February 26, 2019

El Bohemio at the
44th Bamboo Organ Festival

      Well I just realize that the the Bamboo Organ Festival is as old as I am haha!   Though the instrument existed since 1824, parts of it was finally brought back from Germany for repairs in 1975. And since then every year the Las Piñeros celebrated the restoration of their organ, which was made National Cultural Treasure in 2003. The Bamboo Organ Festival is actually the longest-running annual international music festival in the country.

    This is actually the first time I ever attended the festival.  I have been hearing about the bamboo organ and its festival since the turn of the millennium but I didn't have the means to see it. To think that Las Piñas City is just a neighbor to my city (Muntinlupa). Well the church is about 9 kilometers from home hehe not too close either. Well now after years of missing the event, for various reasons such as forgetfulness and beezeeness, I finally took the time buy tickets online and ride my motorcycle to the St. Joseph Parish Church.

      I went on a Sunday night when a repeat performance of the Magnificat is scheduled. The performance was at 8 PM. I came too early, like an hour early and I'm glad because I was able to watch a series of delightful folk dances. Too bad my cam is not powerful enough to make good shots of every dance number to show all the elaborate costumes!

      So yeah, behind me is the one and only bamboo organ. Completed in 1824. It has 1,031 pipes and 902 of them are made bamboo.

     So every year in February the church is made into a concert hall. A stage is built beneath the organ, just behind the main door of the church, and pews are replaced with individual chairs for audience seating.
    This year, J.S. Bach's Magnificat was performed and it was well delivered under the baton of Beverly Shankuan-Cheng, conducting the Manila Baroque Ensemble (Christian Tan, concertmaster) and the Villancico Vocal Ensemble, Manu Mellaerts (Trumpet, Belgium), Stefanie Quintin and Sherla Najera (sopranos), Michelle Mariposa (alto) Irvin Lumauag (tenor) Christopher Arceo (bass) and Armando Salarza (organ).
   Also on the program are compositions by Bruna, Buxtehude and Charpentier.
  The performance lasted about less than 2 hours and it was an awesome experience! I was seated just about 3 meters away from the nearest violinist. How much does it cost to sit that close to the performers? Just Php 600. It's so... bohemian! Haha!

     Yup. The Bamboo Organ Foundation brings to us world class performances for quite an affordable fee. They provide a venue for our local classical musicians and contribute in keeping the younger generation interested in classical music. If your taste in music is eclectic and you can spend tens of thousands of Pesos to watch your favorite pop star or band, then my goodness what's 600 Pesos just to hear live music by Bach, Mozart, or your favorite classical composer right? Hihi!
      So yeah, go see performances in the Bamboo Organ Festival, bring the entire family or your squad, or buy a CD or two of recordings from previous performances, and maybe go to a Bamboo Organ Tour.

     If you haven't experienced being at a Bamboo Organ Festival, here's a YouTube video by Associated Press to entice you. The dude you see on the cover, by the way, is Prof. Amando Salarza who, since 1992, has been the titular organist of the Bamboo Organ and the Artistic Director or the BOF.

The Church

      Equally important as the Bamboo Organ is the church that houses it. The construction of The St. Joseph Parish, also known as the Las Piñas Church, also Bamboo Organ Church, was completed in 1819.

     The man behind this remarkable structure and the remarkable instrument inside it was an equally remarkable Spanish priest named Padre Diego Cera. He was the architect of the church and the organ. In fact he also designed the organs of the Manila Cathedral and of the San Nicolas Tolentino Chapel inside Intramuros. He too was an organist and also a natural scientist, chemist, and a community leader.
     The photo above is a statue of the talented priest looking at the church while holding the architectural drawings. And with him are two Las Piñeros representing the townsfolk who loved him and helped him build the church using local materials such as adobe and bamboo which was quite abundant in the area.
    I imagine Padre Cera seeing tall bamboo shafts growing in the wild and said, "hey, they look like pipe organs. Hmmmm..." LOL

       So bamboo is very much present in the church's interior. You will see that the ceiling is made of bamboo strips. The big chandeliers are also made of bamboo with capiz shell lamps. Oh did I mention that the organ is made of bamboo too? Haha!

      Well I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. Believe me, I was playing my pipe organ playlist on Spotify while doing this. ^_^

Sunday, February 24, 2019

An Artsy Weekend at the
2019 Art Fair Philippines

   I went to see the Art Fair last Friday. The 4-day show opened last Thursday, February 21, 2019, at the same venue, The Link car park building in Ayala Center.

    I've attended 5 of their shows already, my first was in 2013. Thanks to my BPI Gold Master Card that gives me free access to their shows haha! And as always, being there is an incredible experience. Imagine 3 floors of galleries - it's a melting pot of creative ideas! An artist who has been there will surely step out of the building with inspiration.

    Anyways I took a lot of pictures and will share in this post some personal favorites. You will find a link to all the photos at the bottom of this post.

    Philippine folklore says that if it rains and the sun is shining at the same time, a tikbalang couple is being wed. A tikbalang is a creature that is half human and half horse. Not to be confused with a centaur because a tikbalang has a human body and a head of a horse. Artist John Paul Antido gives us a visual of that magical occasion in this remarkable painting which included other creatures in Pinoy lore.

      I personally love Antidos painting style. Also I'm beginning to have a growing fondness of this male character wearing the an 18th Century Filipino get up.

    A library made of wooden books. Well not really books but blocks of wood. Well after all paper is made from trees. Amusing installation art by Christina Quisimbing Ramilo. It's an interactive work. You can write a book title on a wood block with chalk.

    Awesome hand-molded epoxy sculpture entitled "Ihip" by Jerson Samson.

     The impasto technique  made this painting look like there's an actual stone bust before me.
Brilliant work by M. Irfan

    I really love this work because of it's grungy-ness and seemingly dystopian theme. Also because it is made of magazine pages. The work of Arnold Bornios.

       Words by the Dalai Lama lazer-cut on textured galvanized iron sheets. Love it. The works of Dedi Sufriadi.

        Stepping inside an exhibit by Daniel dela Cruz always give me the feeling of being in a surreal world because the presentation is complete with light and sound effects. Of course the pieces are outstanding by themselves.

       Dela Cruz' show at the Art Fair, "Finding The Light", if presented to raise awareness and lessen the stigma associated with mental health issues.

     So did you miss this year's Art Fair? Well do not despair hehe. I'll give you a virtual walk-through of the show with pictures that I took. Just click on the memo strip below. Enjoy!

Monday, December 31, 2018

The 2018 Year-End Blog Post

    Well another year is about to end in a few hours and here I am writing a year-end post for my not-so-active blog hehe. We're having quite a different New Year's Eve here in the Philippines. I remember celebrating some new years with a drizzle or an isolated rain shower but today oh we're just having downpours courtesy of the tropical depression Usman. It was even raining last Christmas Eve and the day before that. After a 3-day break it's back to wet weather again. So now it has been raining for 5 days now.

    And you know what that means for people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) like me. Looks like I'll be greeting 2019 with the blues. Yeah I know I shouldn't be feeling this way but fuck this rain haha! It has spoiled some plans I have for my  3-week vacation. You see, when the Christmas orders from this client of mine were all done by December 15, I decided not to work until the year ends. I also decided not to do anything for my already neglected brand Buhay Bohemio. I don't wanna work and I don't wanna think about work, or think about how to get back on track with my brand. I just wanna relax for goodness sake.

   So after the pre-Christmas concerns I focused on Hardin Bohemio, my garden project that started in April 2018. It is almost complete and it kinda stressed me out because I hoped it will be all finished by Christmas Day. Sadly the rains kept me from doing garden work (well at least the plants are happily watered). When it's not raining I go out to buy garden stuff. I went to Cartimar last Thursday to check out the plants (but mainly to buy fish to re-populate my aquarium that has been fish-less for weeks), I also went to Cubao yesterday and checked out Farmer's Garden and I was glad to find a variety of plants at affordable prices. I bought some hanging plants there and got caught in the rain on my way home which is a complete hassle - carrying all those plants with one hand and an umbrella on the other...

   This year-end post seem to be more about Hardin Bohemio haha!  But this garden project is my only creative achievement for 2018, I guess. Well I did relaunch my Tees & Tanks this year in June with new designs and printed stocks after about a 2-year hiatus from retailing. I was able to sell a good number of pieces to previous customers who had been waiting for this come-back. But stubborn me, I still didn't do any marketing. Then after a couple of months, orders from my regular client (Customized Chic), that I supply graphics to, started to pile up because it was already the peak season, you know, the -ber months. So since August all the work I did was for Customized Chic (which I am grateful for) and my garden, Hardin Bohemio, while Buhay Bohemio Tees & Tanks got pushed aside again and that adds to my New Year blues. I feel that I owe a great amount of time and attention to what should be my primary enterprise. But why did I allow this to happen? Maybe I'll talk about it in another post because this post is getting really long hehe.

   Like what I said earlier, I know that I shouldn't be caught feeling this way as we step into the new year even with all these puddles. Did the holiday storm ruined some of your plans too? Well some people didn't plan to lose property and loved ones to the recent storm...  Even if 2018 is marked with sorrow, we must face 2019 remembering how we were blessed with the warm and sunny days of our lives and to be made strong to survive life's cold, dark and stormy days.

  So yeah, let us all allow ourselves have a happy new year!