CCP world premieres Tarog, Deldoc new short film on dance

Director-composer Jerrold Tarog (Photo from his Facebook account.)

The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) shares healing and hope this month of love with the world premiere of award-winning filmmaker Jerrold Tarog’s new film “Ang Kabaligtaran ng Gunaw” (The Opposite of the End), back-to-back with the launch of “Hilom: Sayaw Dalangin ng Pag-asa at Pagkakaisa,” on Feb. 14, at 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, to be broadcast via CNN Philippines channels.

Director Tarog transformed the original poem by playwright Eljay Castro Deldoc with the same title into a cinematic experience, showcasing the original concept and choreography by Ronelson Yadao.  

Tarog also composed the music for the dance film.

The film features dancer Eloisa Jessa Tangalin, as well as other faculty members of CCP Dance Workshop, including Sarah Anne Alejandro, Monica Amanda Gana, Stephanie Kerilen Santiago, Karla Marie Santos, Victor Maguad, Lester John Reguindin, Earl John Arisola, Al Frederick Abraham, Louise John Ababob, Danilo Dayo Jr., Bonifacio Guerrero Jr., and Justine Joseph Orande.

Adapted to screenplay by Tarog and Deldoc, the eight-minute short feature film brings together the different art forms, from literature, dance, music, theatre, and film, to create a unique collaboration which hopefully reminds all artists and the public on the importance of artistic expression and undaunted creativity that is much needed in the process of healing and overcoming the pandemic, the CCP said.

Gunaw is also a promise that once time permits, CCP will open its doors again and welcome artists back, it said.

“There are stories to be told, songs to be sang, and ideas to be expressed. As artists always say, the show must and will go on,” the CCP announcement said.

For 51 years now, the CCP is a place where creativity thrives, and a home to various productions, festivals, and artists.

In 2020, CCP shuttered its doors due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The arts sector is one of the most affected industries by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Thousands of artists and cultural workers were displaced.

“The question lingers: will the arts survive?  And Tarog responds through the short feature film,” the CCP said.

Playwright Eljay Castro Deldoc (Photo from his Facebook account.)

Hilom: healing

Meanwhile, Hilom features folkloric dances associated with Filipino rituals and dance traditions to show how relevant dance is to the lives of the people, especially during difficult and challenging times.

Hilom engages various folkloric dance groups and communities in working together to produce dance performances that would highlight the affinity of the Filipinos to connect to the spiritual world for prayer, supplications, thanksgiving, and worship. 

Featured dance groups and artists are: Abigail Calma (as Inang Bayan) from Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group; the Kaloob Phil Music and Dance Ministry (with Ed Lapiz as artistic director); Lyceum of the Philippines University of Batangas – Lahing Batangan Dance Troupe (Rodel M. Fronda, artistic director); Leyte Dance Theatre of Jess De Paz Foundation Inc. (Lowe S. Taňa, artistic director); University of Cebu Dance Company (Victor Lim Hao Cuenco, artistic director); Melengas Dance Ensemble (Odysso D. Oyales, artistic director); and Koronadal Hinugyaw Cultural Dance Troupe (Benhur Zerrudo Abulencia, artistic director).

Directed by Stephen Ramos Biadoma, the dance video production follows the story and concept by the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, with music by Teresa Barrozo, edited by Gem Aňonuevo, cinematography by Brandon Relucio, and costumes by Carlo Viray Valderama.

“Hilom is a dance film that forwards the Filipino spirit to the forefront of our fight against the global health crisis.  Our differences in culture, language, or ethnicity do not hinder, us but rather enrich and unify our call and prayer for healing,” Director Biadoma said.

“We shall move as one nation, one community, one Filipino toward the hope for recovery,” Biadoma said.

After the twin bill production premiered on CNN Philippines, the CCP plans to have a hybrid outdoor screening to be knowns as “Cinema Under the Stars” at the CCP grounds. The planned screening will follow strict health protocols.  

An online premiere is also being planned through the CCP social media accounts (official Facebook page and YouTube channel).

For more information and updates, visit the CCP website (, and follow the official CCP Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram accounts and YouTube Channel.

#CCP #JerroldTarog #EljayCastroDeldoc #Gunaw #Hilom #Dance #ShortFilm #Film

@culturalCtrPH @HUNIngCCP @cinemalayaoffcl @UPFIfilmcenter @phkule

Value-for-money fruit cakes from Fruitcake Heaven in QC’s Retiro

FRUITCAKE HEAVEN in a box at PHP 550.00, 7.5 inches x 3 inches x 2.5 inches

Good and great fruitcakes are difficult to find during ordinary times.

The quest for the good and great fruitcakes is even harder in the middle of the raging Covid-19 pandemic, which has disrupted the raw materials’ supply chain.

I found the home-based Fruitcake Heaven brand via a Facebook post by a friend, an ace photographer and also a fruitcake fan.

Fruitcake Heaven’s fruitcakes come in two sizes: in a box with the cake measuring 7.5 inches x 3 inches x 2.5 inches, at PHP 550.00; and in a tin can measuring 6 inches in diameter by 2 inches in depth, at PHP 600.00.

I tasted both varieties, which were topped with lots of nuts such as almond, walnut, pecan, cashew, plus candied cherry.

The dense cakes were moist with brandy, at the least the ones I tasted, and not so sweet. The low level of sweetness is a big plus for me. It enabled me to enjoy the different flavors of nuts and the sudden zing of biting into a candied cherry.

Instead of the traditional fruitcakes where batter and nuts and fruits were thoroughly mixed, Fruitcake Heaven’s fruitcakes are topped with an oozing amount of nuts and candied cherries, with a sprinkling of raisins embedded in the batter.

For their prices, these fruitcakes baked in the kitchen of a house in the general area of Retiro district in Quezon City are value-for-money.

If interested to try out these fruitcakes, you can order via Fruitcake Heaven Facebook page. ##

FRUITCAKE HEAVEN fruitcake in a tin can measuring 6 inches in diameter x 2 inches in depth, at PHP 600.00

#Fruitcake #Christmas2020 #SupportSmallBusiness #FruitcakeHeaven

Law Fajardo’s ‘Kintsugi’: exquisite tale of hurt, healing, redemption

By Ibarra C. Mateo

The few serious Filipino scholars of Japan, those who started studying Japan in the 1970-1980s when it was not yet in vogue to do so, are dwindling.

They are approaching “decommissioning” (otherwise known as retirement), dying, or dead.

And by serious, I mean those who have devoted at least two decades of their lives focusing on Japan deeply, quietly, and earnestly. There are those who present themselves as “Japan hands” after completing their two- or three-year graduate degrees in a Japanese academic institution.

It takes a lifetime to understand Japan and its people.

Director Lawrence Fajardo’s recent shift to craft films about Filipinos in Japan (Imbisibol, 2015; Kintsugi, 2020) is a great development in view of the vanishing species of serious Filipino scholars on Japan.

Fajardo, hopefully, considers directing more films about Japan, its society, and how contemporary Japan “behaves and relates” with the outside world. It is about time that the Philippine film sector produces a writer-director who can be at par with the achievements of Professors Lydia N. Yu-Jose (political science and Japanese Studies) and Rico T. Jose (Philippine-Japan war history), the towering wife-husband pillars of Japanese Studies in the Philippines.

The low-key Fajardo, 44, one of the more intelligent writer-directors of his generation, is known for making films with cogent social commentary. Among his most notable films are: Kultado (2005); Raket ni Nanay (2006); Amok (2011); and Imbisibol 2015).

More than a love story

In the 91-minute drama “Kintsugi” (Broken), Fajardo’s full-length entry to the ongoing Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2020, the director uses the elements of a love story as a vehicle to take the viewers to a journey of scrutinizing the nuances and complexities of familial and social relations in a community in Arita town, famous for its porcelain industry, in Saga Prefecture.

Kintsugi is Fajardo’s maiden jab in the love story genre and his second film about Filipinos in Japan, after Imbisibol in 2015.

Initially, Fajardo frames Kintsugi as boy Dante, an overseas Filipino worker (played by JC Santos) meets girl Harue, only daughter of a porcelain factory owner (Hiro Nishuichi). The fell in love as Harue tries to recover from a break-up with his unfaithful partner, while Dante is burdened by constantly remitting money to the Philippines to support his wife who has been in a hospital for four years.

As their relationship bloomed, Dante continues to hide from Harue his wife’s condition. One day, he flies back to the Philippines, without saying goodbye to his boss and Harue.

The two lonely people did not end up happily. Harue’s father tells her that Dante has a wife back in the Philippines. But the disclosure was incomplete. Harue’s father failed to inform her that Dante’s wife is dead.

Harue is once again broken by a two-timing lover.


From this point, the film goes in another trajectory: Harue becomes a metaphor for a broken precious porcelain ware that must be repaired through kintsugi. She needs to piece back together shards of herself.

The Japanese art of kintsugi (kin = gold and tsugi = “to repair” or “to join together”) involves the use of lacquer resin to join the broken pieces together and to fill in the cracks. Then, liquid or powdered gold is applied over the repaired fissures to highlight them beautifully.

Some say kintsugi is a Japanese metaphor for accepting one’s flaws and personal imperfections.

There are those who hold the view that kintsugi as an art form evolved from the Japanese concept of “mottainai”, regretting that something is wasted and “mushin” to embrace the inevitability of change as individuals go through life.

Kintsugi boasts of understatedly elegant photography and splendid color grading.

The film is the second collaboration between Fajardo as director and Herlyn Gail Alegre as scriptwriter. ##

#Kintsugi #Saga #Arita #PelikuLaw #LawFajardo #JCSantos #OFW #Drama #HiroNishiuchi

CCP’s Arthouse Cinema honors teachers in these turbulent times

The CCP Arthouse Cinema Online honors Filipino teachers through Jerrold Tarog’s “Faculty”, a short feature film about two teachers in a private college whose views on how to educate their students clash.

With the opening of classes early this October, teachers are being burdened with unprecedented responsibilities as an aftermath of the Covid19 pandemic.

Poor Internet connectivity, lack of access to appropriate technology and gadgets for online education, and inadequate government support are among the long list of obstacles educators must hurdle daily.

Faculty (2010) is a 7:35-minute drama, which is a prequel to the full feature film “Senior Year.” It stars Che Ramos and Bea Garcia, and written by Tarog.

Meanwhile, the CCP celebrates the National Indigenous People’s Month this October with the special screening of “K’na, The Dreamweaver” and “Tembong (Connecting)” on October 9 to 11, 2020. Faculty will also be shown during this period.

Directed by Ida Anita del Mundo, the 85-minute film tells about Kana, a young T’boli woman who becomes a dreamweaver and has a chance to unite her village’s warring tribe.  But will she give up on love to do so?

The film won Best Production Design and received the Special Jury Prize at the 2014 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival.

“Tembong” (Connecting) is a story of a T’boli man who collects a series of patterns when an abaca goddess visits him in his dreams.  Grieving due to the death of his mother, he takes a journey of unearthing his history, prompting him to disregard the consequences of his actions. He defies a sanctified practice.

Directed by Shaira Advincula, the 15-minute film won the Special Jury Prize in the Short Feature Category of the 2019 Cinemalaya.

The featured Cinemalaya films, which tackle the plight of indigenous Filipinos from South Cotabato and that of Filipino educators, will be screened for 48 hours on Vimeo on Demand for free. 

For existing CCP Film Society members, don’t forget to check on your emails to know how to exclusively access these films.

Be a member of the CCP Film Society Club to get regular updates and screening schedules of the CCP Arthouse Cinema, as well as invitations to film-related events.

For more details on the membership and film screenings, follow the CCP and CCP Media Arts Division Facebook pages. Or visit the CCP website ( ##

#CCPArthouseCinemaOnline #Faculty #Kna #Tembong #Cinemalaya #Teachers #Covid19PH

Artist Welfare Project Inc. turns 13

On October 7, 2007, 15 artist-leaders incorporated and registered the Artists Welfare Project Inc. (AWPI) at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The SEC registration paved the way to legally and formally assist Filipino artists deal with a number of issues they face, notably rights and welfare concerns.

They 15 artist-leaders were Fernando Josef. Nick Pichay. Grace Nono Aves. Glecy Atienza. Ronnie Lazaro, Raul Sunico, Dennis Marasigan, Madeleine Nicolas, Sid Gomez Hildawa, Clotilde Lucero, Rica Arevalo, Rafael Froilan, Jose Victor Torres, Ricardo Eric Cruz, and Rebecca Jose. Board members were Jun Lozada, Emily Abrera and Nes Jardin.

The action to legally and formally organize artists was a direct response to the stark reality that thousands of Filipino freelance artists are working without a legal employer-employee relation framework. This precarious situation was not helpful when they need assistance on financial and health issues, for example. Then, there are the more important concerns on benefits covering health, unemployment, retirement, and assistance on building a house.

Most of the time, fellow artists “rescue” their colleagues by passing the hat for financial contributions. These are, however, temporary and palliative steps.

AWPI turned seven years old in 2014. By then, the organization considered dissolving itself. Board members felt nothing substantial was happening. But they decided to make another try as there was support from the membership.

As executive director, Grace Nono worked with congressional contacts to push for bills which would institutionalize solutions for short-term and long-term problems of artists.

After 13 years, AWPI continues to serve Filipino creatives in an effective manner possible, given the limitations.

Among the current AWPI initiatives are: coordinating with government agencies such as SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG Fund to inform and educate freelance artists and creatives on how to register, contribute, and avail of their services

Through persistent working with congressional allies, AWPI was instrumental in the House and Senate deliberations of various bills that will advance and protect artists’ rights and welfare.

These bills include the Eddie Garcia Bill which proposes to institute safety in the workplace of workers in the audiovisual, broadcast, and entertainment industries.

On top of its regular literacy campaigns via the AWPI Talks, the organization is at the forefront of an unprecedented program called the HMO for Artists, where about 600 creatives from different art sectors and their families avail HMO benefits by paying reasonably priced health insurance.

In April 2020, as the Covid19 pandemic caused havoc on lives, jobs, and the economy, AWPI became a fund manager of different fund-raising activities initiated by artists.

Many events were cancelled due to the pandemic, throwing artists out of jobs, thus no income. This drastic work disruption and dislocation prompted different artist groups to band together and raise Php 4 million. The amount assisted almost 2,000 creatives in need. More artists are needing assistance and support.

AWPI’s current executive director, Jenny Bonto, has been busy coordinating aid, grants, linkages, sponsorships, fund-raisers, and Covid19 prevention campaigns.

The most challenging project confronting AWPI currently is the development of a Philippine Registry of Creatives, which is aimed at preventing arts and culture workers from being left out of the government support mechanism and social safety nets, most especially the freelancers who have no regular sources of income. 

The current AWPI is governed by a board of directors, with Fernando Josef as chairman, Carmela Manuel as president, Ronnie Lazaro as vice president, Dennis Marasigan as secretary, Lisa Macuja Elizalde as treasurer.

Board members are: Anthony Cruz, Ibarra Mateo, Emmanuel dela Cruz, Tednicolao Camahalan, Monet Pura, Kate Lim, Jonas George Soriano, Raffy Tejada, Mae Paner, and Simon Balboa.

Even in the middle of the Covid19 pandemic, AWPI continues to champion the artists’ rights and welfare.

It is one of the leading organizations which value Filipino creatives, whose ranks include but are not limited to artists, culture bearers, craftsmen, culture educators, production workers, and other creators in the country. For AWPI, they are as essential as the other workers in many sectors. Artists, among others, help the country by nurturing the soul of the nation.

With continued support from its members, sponsors, donors, government and non-government leaders advocating the interests of Philippine culture and the arts, AWPI will continue to serve the Filipino artists and creatives in the years to come.

For more information on the AWPI activities and the ongoing HMO for Artists program, please log on to: or FB Artists Welfare Project Inc. ##

Instituto Cervantes’ Pelicula, Spanish Film Festival, streams online from Oct. 3

The 19th edition of Pelicula, Spanish Film Festival, will feature the best of contemporary Spanish cinema from Oct. 3 to 11, 2020.

Presented by Instituto Cervantes and the Embassies of Spain in the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia, the 2020 Spanish Film Festival screens online eight feature films and four short films.

Since its first run in 2002 organized by Instituto Cervantes de Manila, the Spanish Film Festival has been an annual attraction in Philippine cinemas.

The Covid19 pandemic has posed the greatest challenge in the history of the festival, which prompted Pelicula to offer online screenings and webinars.

This year, Pelicula is expanding to two other countries, now covering the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia.

Each movie will be available for viewing for free at for 24 hours, starting at 6 pm (in the Philippines and Thailand) and 8 pm (in Australia), on the programmed screening date.

Pelicula opens today, Oct. 3, with La filla d’algú (2019), a film directed by 11 students from the Escuela Superior de Cine y Audiovisuales de Cataluña.

Other movies in the line-up are: El increíble finde menguante (Jon Mikel Caballero, 2019), the comedy Asamblea (Alex Montoya, 2019), and dramas like Jaulas (Nicolás Pacheco, 2018), and Arima (Jaione Camborda, 2019).

Likewise, there will be documentaries such as Mudar la piel (Ana Schulz and Cristóbal Fernández, 2018), and El cuadro (Andrés Sanz, 2019).

The festival also features Latin American cinema, with the screening of Costa Rica’s El despertar de las hormigas (Antonella Sudassasi, 2019).

Aside from online screenings, webinars, and online discussions are also programmed.

Within Cineclub Pelicula, directors of the movies screened during the festival will participate in several online discussions.

On Oct. 5, a round-table discussion about “Marketing Asian Cinema in Europe and Spanish Cinema in Asia,” will be held. On Oct. 9, the directors of Spanish, Thai, and Filipino major film festivals will discuss the issue of “Any Future for Film Festivals?”

These events may be accessed free of charge through the site

Encounters through short films

The Tagalog word “pelikula” comes from the Spanish “película” (film), which is proof of the deep cultural ties shared between the Philippines and Spain.

With this spirit in mind, Pelicula had among its main objectives to organize joint Spanish-Filipino programs which foster dialogue and joint projects between filmmakers from the Philippines and the Spanish-speaking world.

On Oct. 10, Pelicula offers “En corto: Short Films from the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, and Spain” in which four short films, one from each country, will be featured. Directors of each film will join an online discussion after the screening.

Audience Choice Award

Last but not least, film buffs should not miss the yearly “Audience Choice” Award.”

Established in 2004, the Premio del Público (Audience Choice Award) recognizes annually the film voted by the audience as their “best of the festival.” It is a very popular feature of Pelicula.

Adapting it to the new condition of online festival, viewers will rate the movie they have seen online. The winning movie will be screened again on Oct. 11, 6 pm, at the festival’s platform .

Pelicula is presented by Instituto Cervantes through Instituto Cervantes in Manila and Instituto Cervantes in Sydney, the Embassies of Spain in the Philippines, Thailand, and Australia, and AECID, with the collaboration of the ICAA, the Málaga Film Festival, the Thai Film Archive, the Sydney Film Festival, the Travelling Film Festival, Intramuros Administration, the Film Development Council of the Philippines, and the UP Film Institute.

For the schedule, film details and further information on the festival, please visit, or , or the Facebook page of Instituto Cervantes:

Instituto Cervantes in Manila Images

#Pelicula #SpanishFilmFestival #Cine #Film #Cinema #InstitutoCervantes #Festival

HUMANS OF THE LOCKDOWN: Painters, paintings during the Covid19 pandemic

Instead of holding placards to beg for money from passers-by and vehicle owners, these two men proudly hold aloft their paintings in a bid to sell them along Mayon Street, between Pi y Margall and Padre Florentino streets, two blocks from Mabuhay Welcome Rotonda.

If you are not familiar with the area, look for One Mayon Place, #68 Mayon Street, they stand across from the tall building, where they seek shelter when the weather is unkind.

They told me each painting sells at Php 2,500. Six paintings were on display at the sidewalk when I visited them. One can always bargain.

Let us support the hard-working Filipinos struggling to survive in these difficult days.

October 3, 2020 LockdownDay204 #LockdownPhotoDiary #LockdownDiary #Covid19PH #StreetLife #StreetArt #VisualArt #Painting

Kwek kwek, a Filipino take on tempura

COMFORT FOOD OF THE LOCKDOWN: A kwek kwek is a battered quail’s egg deep fried until it turns crispy, similar to Japanese tempura. However, the batter for kwek kwek is orange in color, giving it a distinct appearance. Kwek kwek is sold along side with fish balls, squid balls, and hotdogs. October 2, 2020 #LockdownDay203 #LockdownPhotoDiary #LockdownDiary #Covid19PH #Streetfood #Foodie #FoodTrip

Turon and bitso-bitso

TURON (left), bitso-bitso (right)

COMFORT FOOD OF THE LOCKDOWN: Turon (deep fried banana wrapped in flour wrapper, sprinkled with lots of brown sugar) for 15 pesos per piece and bitso-bitso (deep fried dough, rolled in white sugar) for 10 pesos per piece. For 25 pesos, one can have a fill of sugar rush. September 30, 2020. #LockdownDay201 #LockdownPhotoDiary #LockdownDiary #Covid19PH #Food #Filipino

Covid19 pandemic restrictions may add 214,000 births to 1.7 M babies expected by yearend

By Ibarra C. Mateo

The hampered access to family planning services and commodities due to the Covid19 pandemic restrictions could add 214,000 Filipino babies to the estimated 1.7 million births expected by the of 2020.

Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, executive director of the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) said the “current scenario of the pandemic” has limited the access by couples and individuals to family planning services and commodities.

Perez said this scenario may result in 214,000 more births on top of the initially-estimated 1.7 million deliveries by end of the year.

“Because of the pandemic, a new live birth may have unintended socioeconomic impact on a family affected by unemployment and its meager income,” he said.

While 3 out of 10 pregnancies are unplanned, the 2017 National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) estimated that the trend will cause the Philippine population to swell by an additional 2 million-plus Filipinos in 2021, the PopCom said.

With a population of 109.1 million as of end September 2020, the Philippines is ranked as the second country in Southeast Asia with the highest population number.

Since mid-March, the Philippine government has placed various parts of the country in varying degrees of quarantine and community restrictions, affecting millions of people’s access to basic services.

Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros, chair of the Senate committee on women, children, and family relations, said that women and children issues have been “invisible” during the pandemic. She urged the government to focus again on these issues.

“There are obstacles in health and medical service delivery brought about by Covid19, including the provision of essential family planning information, and supplies. This is the reality we are now facing as a nation,” he said.

“That is why considering and availing of contraception will be vital during these days. It will help keep our population numbers in check, particularly at this time of the pandemic, where we anticipate limited resources at the household and macro levels,” Perez said.

“The implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law has boosted the overall family planning program in the country by 100% in terms of women and couples who have joined the program: from 4 million in 2012, to almost 8 million in 2019,” he said.

“However, the Supreme Court’s decision on the RPRH Law limiting the access of adolescents to family planning in 2014 has adversely affected adolescent birth rates, particularly among 10- to 14-year-old minors. This has made universal access to family planning difficult to accomplish,” Perez said.

Starting early

Perez said that 1 out of 10 women aged 15 to 19 have already started their “sexual debut” and has given birth, citing data from the 2017 NDHS.

“Curiously, Covid19 has not only taken lives; it is also producing new lives, albeit mistimed,” he said.

“There are hindrances being caused by the virus in getting across critical items that couples and individuals need at this time, and these might very well include family planning methods and contraceptives,” Perez said.

In terms of development, Perez said unintended pregnancies borne from the series of lockdowns and quarantines may obstruct women of reproductive age to reach their full potential and to contribute for their families.

Filipinos can reach out to POPCOM through Facebook via @OfficialPOPCOM and @UsapTayoSaFP to inquire about contraceptives and learn more about them, he said. They can contact POPCOM helplines at 0961-743-2337 and 0927-299-8764 for Manila, as well as those in their respective areas posted in the POPCOM Regional Offices’ FB pages.

The Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) is the country’s lead organization in population management for well-planned and empowered Filipino families and communities. POPCOM aims to empower Filipino individuals, families, and communities by enabling them to achieve their fertility intentions, prevent adolescent pregnancies, and consciously consider population factors in sustainable development initiatives.

PopCom Images

#Covid19PH #Population #ReproductiveHealth #PopCom #Women #Chuldren