Monthly Archives: December 2015

Why Visayan Pop rocks!

A day before we went to an out-of-town trip, my office mates and I decided to sleep in one of the guestrooms in the office for the night. We borrowed the office projector and my personal laptop to watch a Star Cinema movie called Etiquette for Mistresses as a part of our “big screen” movie marathon

It’s a movie about mistresses (if the title fails to convince you) and it stars big names like Kris Aquino, Claudine Barretto and Kim Chiu. Anyway, I don’t want to spoil the entire movie nor I want to share my two cents about it. There’s this just particular scene where Kim Chiu’s character, a spirited and cheerful young lady hailing from Cebu, sings a Cebuano song for her lover over the phone. It’s a pretty song called Labyu Langga, a piece written by Jerika Teodorico for VisPop 2.0. Check it out here:

And then I surprised my office mates by singing along with it, word by word, like a fluent Cebuano speaker would. They were like “Naiintindihan mo ang kanta?” but of course, their exact words are: “Hoy Feeling Cebuana!”

I said I know some words but not entirely the song. I’ve been listening to it on Spotify along with other Vis Pop songs which are also nice to hear, considering my Cebuano vocabulary is more or less limited to a Tagalog’s common knowledge of basic phrases (Maayong buntag, Daghang salamat, Ano nimo ngalan?) 

I’ve been vocal in my support for the empowerment of other Philippine languages aside from Tagalog in mass media. For months now, I’ve been trying to learn Cebuano, along with Spanish, as an added weapon to my language arsenal. Needless to say, I was also pleasantly surprised that Cebuano songs have found their way to mainstream media, especially in a Star Cinema movie. Hopefully, this is just the start.

Since I’m learning the language, I’ve been drawn to Visayan songs on YouTube and Spotify. I learned that Cebuanos have really good voice, their songs are catchy and their music is reflective of their warm and loving culture (If you can’t understand the lyrics, you will enjoy the beat)

I recently discovered a rock band called Missing Filemon (which falls under the genre of Bisrock) I would love to hear them live one of these days! Check out their songs here:

And the band ‘Phylum’ is also worth knowing about.

Bisrock or Bisaya Pop is such an interesting phenomena to study, especially with the prevailing music scene in the country. Since Tagalog is the predominant language (in mass media), it’s quite difficult to ‘sell’ music to the larger audience and be a break-out artist. To learn that these folks in the South have a thriving music scene of their own is truly admirable. I believe that producing songs in a regional language is also for the enrichment of OPM (Original Pinoy Music) and we, as Filipinos, should be proud of it.

I would like to commend the organizers and sponsors of VISPOP 2.0 for their efforts in promoting Vis Pop. I hope other regions would follow. I look forward on hearing songs from other Philippine languages as well.

In a more serious note, it is sad to see that most of the Youtube comments in the video above is an internet flame war between Tagalog and Bisaya. Moreover, I’m interested how the ‘rivalry’ between these two languages (or people) seemed to manifest every now and then as far as the issue of a national language is concerned. Any thoughts why? 🙂





Breaking out of the Writer’s Hibernation


Some writing motivation cliche

As a lover of words and a student of writing, I’ve always had this innate fear that I would no longer have anything to write about.

What I mean by that is, I would simply lose the desire to write. That anything I would ever experience, no matter how monumental or simple it is to my life, would lose its appeal to be immortalized into words. I fear I might lose my ‘second sight’ – an acquired sense which lets you perceive any object, person or a happening beyond than just the literal and the physical.

I was shaped into thinking that writers don’t just ‘live on the moment’ – they need to ‘feel’. In order to capture the moment, they need to encapsulate the wonder, disgust, awe, anger, loathing, hilarity, and other ranges of emotion into words. In short, it is usually the emotion that drives the writing. We are literally bursting with feelings, being sensitive souls that we are. Writing allows us to release that inward pressure and although it may disappear overtime, we would soon feel an unmistakable pang of regret of not ‘writing about it.’

But what happens when we stop to feel?

That was my case for the last three months. I call it writing hibernation. While writer’s block prevents you to write in the technical sense of the word, a writer’s hibernation prevents you to ‘think and feel like a writer.’ It replaces your love for learning and weaving words with indifference. A period of just living by, not living on. I felt like a passenger on a bus who is gazing through the window when something strange happens. I will just watch it with interest for a moment, think of other things and eventually forget the whole thing.

My rational side tells me that it’s all biological. Our brains like to prioritize things and activities in a day-to-day basis. It gets rid of clutter – those random thoughts, curious sights that don’t matter to our practical lives, daydreams and what-ifs – for a more pressing issues like agendas for Monday’s meetings, convincing a potential client or what to give to your significant other on your anniversary. We thought these are all too normal to write about. There’s nothing new in them anyway. And so the brain simply gets rid the thought of writing it and move on to something else.

When I logged into my blog this past week, I cringed at the number of weeks I wasn’t able to post. I looked back and thought, hey there’s nothing to write about for the past few months (no life-changing encounter, no travels, no milestones, no moments of hitting rock-bottom) so I have a perfect excuse for not writing. But this reasoning calls upon a more important question: Do I need to experience these moments just to have something to write about?

Did I lose the ability to ‘feel’?

And I know that my worst fear is starting to unfold itself before me. This is what drove me to write this post – fear, anxiety, disappointment over myself. I feel bad. I welcome and embrace this emotion warmly. After all, writing is unbiased to any emotion that propels it.

It’s fairly obvious by now but the best way to break through your writer’s hibernation is to write your way through it, just like if you have writer’s block. There is no other way.


So I learned an important lesson today…

Today, I was supposed to meet one of my favorite writers for the first time. I was fortunate to be invited in an academic round-table at a big university in Taft, Manila for his intimate discussion of Politics in Literature.

But thanks to my poor time management and awful lack of hindsight in navigating through the chaotic traffic of Manila, I have no choice but to take a rain check and go home disappointed as crap (for the lack of better word to express my current state.)

The day started out fine. I woke up early. I didn’t have to report to work because I already told my boss I’m going to meet my idol and this is going to be one of the big moments to cap off my 2015 and I wouldn’t be able to perform my best at work if I let this one go by. He excused me with a slight nod. The urge to leap and hug him was tempting that time.

I decided to drop by my university to get my transcript and other important records for my application to Law School. Yes, law school. It’s such a shame because this day is supposed to be one of the days I shall look back fondly while I’m in hell the next year.

The processing of papers went fine and smooth. I was ordered to go back by January for my Certificate of Good Moral Character (yes, the law school requires it. hahahaha) and I still have plenty of time to commute to Taft for the seminar.

What happened was…I didn’t left right away. I stayed longer at my university than necessary. I dallied. I was on a nostalgic feels trip. I was confident I can get there on time because of the train system. Oh what on earth possessed me to think like that? This is Manila we’re talking about. A 30-minute ride on the streets to a 3-5 km destination is considered a miracle.

So what happened was, I left my common sense in Pureza and took a jeepney to go to Avenida where I’m supposed to ride the LRT-1 going to Taft. I have one hour to spare. 30 minutes to Avenida, a 30-minute-ride in LRT going to Taft. Plenty of time, I said to myself. (By this time, most of you who are reading this and are familiar of the commuting time from Pureza to Avenida are shaking your heads in despair)

Guess what? The ride going to Nagtahan bridge alone costed me 30 gob-smacking minutes. It didn’t help that the air was dreary and the whole city feels like it’s inside a colossal oven. Everywhere the jeepney driver turns, the roads are blocked and we’re always stuck in some intersection. The worse part is, I think I was the only one who’s making a big deal out of this. The other passengers just act like it’s just another good day to live in this city. Somebody should conduct a study to measure a typical Manileno’s ability to estimate the duration of his/her travel compared to the actual time he/she got there. I bet the results will be fascinating. Poor souls 

Legarda isn’t a better place either. We barely moved. I already chunked in 45 minutes of my time. In Kubler-Ross model of Five Stages of Grief, I was already bargaining with God. “Okay fine, I get it. I learned my lesson. Can you please speed this up? Please all I want is to see him with my own eyes and maybe touch his shirt. Just that then I’ll go home happy”

But we remained stationary in Legarda until all my time is used.  At this rate, I’ll be one hour late in the seminar which only lasts for 2 hours! And I hate being late. I don’t want the attention and I certainly don’t want my favorite author to think how much of a time leech I am. (geddit? because I suck at time management) Most especially, I can’t just walk in there smelling like exhaust fume and dust, my face salted with grime and my hair dry like straws. Eh screw it, I might as well go home and hope for another time. The acceptance sits like a cold slab of meat in my tummy. It’s so queer to think that sitting there and doing nothing while time flies by is so exhausting, as if the lost time happens to drain your energy at their wake.

And so, this experience got me in a Mr. Rochester-esque brooding mood.  I swear I must be giving off some dark aura on the LRT ride home. Everyone stayed away from me.

I don’t want to rant about how awful the traffic in Manila is and how the driver waits irritatingly long to get some passengers as the other vehicles around us surge forward. No, this one’s on me. Blame my poor judgment. My time management sucks. I was overconfident.

I certainly cannot bring these traits to law school wherein you are expected to work your ass off everyday, plan carefully your study habits and make the best use of your time. It will be better for me to take this awful experience into heart and learn from it than going on thinking how bad this day ended up. Most people find it hard to enjoy each day of their lives because we cannot have the good stuff all the time. It ultimately depends on ourselves on how can we end a negative experience in a positive note.

And I promise, one of these days, I will post a picture of me and that writer’s eventual encounter and how much I’ve waited for this day. What life taught me today is patience after all. (As if sitting on your ass for one whole hour fuming mad isn’t enough.)

When that day comes, I will look back at this ‘bad experience’ with affection.



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