Sunday, May 31, 2009

I gave a lecture not in Pampanga but in PALAWAN!

Last week, I was in Palawan to expand my cultural work to Cuyonons, who, like the Kapampangans and the other non-Tagalogs, and experiencing cultural decline. Aside from directing a Cuyonon rock music video in Puerto Princesa, I also delivered a lecture to Mass Communication students of PSU (Palawan State University). See news item below (taken from


As a means to entice young media practitioners in creating works of art or production works with local cultural content, Matinlo Productions in cooperation with Bulyaw Mariguen, Kamaru Productions and JCI Kiao conducted a lecture/workshop entitled Local Eyes: creating Works of Art with Local Cultural Content to 31 3rd & 4th year Mass Communication Students of the Palawan State University last May 27, 2009.

The lecture started with an exercise conducted by Jason Laxamana of Kamaru productions assessing how the students use their local environment in creating their own superhero. Jason Laxamana then proceeded to explaining the exercise and then to showing the students some of the works of Kamaru.

In his lecture, Jason laxamana emphasized the benefits of creating production works with local cultural content. His Kapampangan short film entitled Balangingi in Kapampangan or Nosebleed in English which won in the ETC First Philippine Digital Awards for best short film is living proof that using local cultural content in film can give filmmakers a competitive advantage in such competitions. The sense of pride such works bring to the local community was also mentioned.

Due to a scheduled radio guesting at DYPR Palawan Radyom, Jason Laxamana gave way for Bulyaw Mariguen to perform their carrier single, Ploning Adin Ka Ren. Matinlo productions chose to ask Bulyaw Mariguen to perform in this lecture to show the students the possibility of using the local language in Palawan, Cuyonon, in making songs that are appealling to the young generation of Palawenos and viable for mainstream broadcasting. Joey Fabello of Matinlo productions, also known as DJ Jojo of IFM 99.9 by some of the students, briefly explained the Bulyaw Mariguen project after the performance of the band to reiterate the value of using local content in works of art and production works.

Certificates were awarded and snacks were provided by Jci Kiao after the lecture.

Some feedback from the students can be seen below.

Nainspire po kami sa inyong shinare samin and we are hoping also na magkaron ng sariling version ang mga Palaweno to produce music, movies, telenovelas, etc of our own.

Thank you for inspiring me. Makakatulung po talaga ito sa lahat. Keep up the good work...May God Bless You...

Nakakainspire. Namulat ako sa dapat kong kamulatan. -Psydz

Marami po salamat sa mga binahagi niyong kaalaman sa amin, tama nga dapat din nating ipakita sa iba na pwede rin natin ibahagi sa kanila ang culture na mayroon tayo. tnx po. Sana makalat pa ito sa iba.- Rearitz

Very inspiring. It really gives indication that we have to uplift ones local culture through music and film. -Anna Lissa Magtibay

Marami po akong (kaming) natutunan. Now I realized na mahalaga maging maka local tayo para narin stain to. galing po ng speakers at nakakatuwa. - Jeric

Mahalaga po sa amin bilang Palaweno na ipagmalaki sa buong mundo ang katutubong kultura. Sa pamamagitan ng Seminar workshop na ito namulat ang aking isipan na maaari tayong kilalanin. maraming salamat- Anagyn Barrios

Matinlo productions would like to thank Ms. Faith Malacao of the Palawan State University for making this event possible.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Love Life Ning Superhero


E ka malaram
Akakit ku king
Mata mu ing
Tune mung panamdaman
E ra ka pilitang
Luguran mu ku
Sabian mu mu
Ing atyu king pusu


Pakiramdaman mu ku

Balu mu namang
Maliswas ya’ing biye ku
Misyun ku ing
Pagsilbian ding tau
Ala kung oras a
Abayan da ka
King pamanalbe sine
O lele dagat

Anya kalinguan na
Ing pamalsinta
Na ku king kakung gagawan

O’t e pag-isipan
Pamalsinta e man kailangan
Buri me mu ini
Bang ating kaulan balang bengi
Oneng sandalan da ku
Ding dakal a tau
Sandalan da ku
Pakiyintindian mu


Paniwalan ku
Ing bukud tamu
Karing al’wang
Lelang na ning Apung Ginu
Agyu ta’ng magrason
Maglinang, manyaup
Ing romansa king tau ya mu kabud
Pamalsinta at lugud


Konseptu ning romansa
Gewa re bang
Aparamdam king tau
Ing e ya kumpletu
Nung alang sinta
Ala na waring ligaya
Lawen mu keta
Dakal mangailangan


Oneng aminan mung
Kaluguran mu ku
Nung ya pin ta’ing tutu
Panusignan me’ing kaladua mu

Ing pusu, kikyak ne
Pusu ku pakiramdaman me
O magmakalunus ya
Makasadya ne man ping maging
Maging kekang sandalan
Kekang sandalan
Kekang sandalan


Ali ku maniwala king pamalsintang wagas
Imbentu nea mu’ini ning taung atin mu ring kupas
Dapot pilinan meng daptan, agyu me sang talakaran
Iya pin iyan ing lugud a kakung pa’intunan


Ali ku maniwala king pamalsintang wagas
‘Di sana ala nang taung mapait mablas
Dapot subukan kung daptan, pilitan kung talakaran
Iya pin ining lugud a keka yayampang


Pusu at isip ku
Biklat ku at ikit ing sala
Pakatandanan mu
Iya pin ‘ni ing kakung panata
Aku’ing kekang sandalan
Ika ing sandalan
Aku ing sandalan

Friday, March 6, 2009

Kulit Isip (Mind Codes)

I remember writing and finishing this Kapampangan science fiction in English way back 2007 for a contest, but unfortunately, it did not win. My laptop crashed last year and the file—the only digital copy I have—was erased. The only hard copy present in this world is the hard copy I submitted to the contest organizers.

I found in my Prodigal Mole Cricket blog the unfinished draft of the first half though. Reading it again—and enjoying it myself—somehow reminded me that I used to be more of a speculative fiction writer since back when I was in high school—back probably when the concept of spec-fic hasn't reached the Philippines yet (at least, in my part of the country).

My recent affection for realism is probably an effect of my heavy consumption of neo-realist films and literature lately. I'm thinking of returning to spec-fic, or perhaps, fusing the two, like what I did with "Kalam," the Kapampangan TV series.

Kulit Isip

After resting for about twenty minutes beside the White Rock, the two began hiking past it to reach their destination.

It was a cloudless night. The sight of the starry sky gave Perry the feeling that all the constellations were watching in intrigue their journey to the crater of the mystic Mount Arayat. Past the trees and thick layers of grass, he kept walking with his flashlight pointed forward while his head was tilted up to the sky, as if hypnotized by the vastness of the firmament and the numerousness of those seemingly tiny specks of light.

Pare,” Perry calmly called out to his younger but more serious-looking companion, who was carefully watching their way with a more high-powered flashlight, “does it not amuse you that whenever you look at the starry night sky, you are actually seeing the past, since it takes light years before their light reaches our world, and by the time that happens, the stars physically have moved to different locations?”

The amused one combed back his brown hair—the color being a result of his father being a White American. “A deception indeed if you think about it, Quiel,” he elaborated, “and it makes you think: if astrologists base their prophecies from the stars, aren’t their predictions late already by the time they blurt them out to people?”

Quiel expressed no sign of amusement for he already heard that from Perry a number of times. “Before contemplating on things as distant as stars, Mr. Whitman, you might want to ponder closer to home,” he snapped while shooing the insects that flock around his light. “That’s exactly the reason that we are on this mission.”

Perry suddenly remembered all the times he was called a nerd in high school back in California for reading astronomy books manically in between classes, and frowned. “What reason? That humanity has prioritized outer space in its studies?” he asked with a tone of disinterest in Quiel’s mention of the word ‘home’.

Taking out his hanky to wipe off his sweat on the forehead despite the coldness of the place, Perry shifted his focus to the full moon, not too astonished by its misleading brightness against the dark ether for he knew it did not emit its own light.

Quiel for a few seconds also looked up to catch a glimpse of the moon. Suddenly, he remembered his grandfather’s siesta stories back when he was still a child—that bamboo pole duel between Sinukuan, the legendary deity of Mount Arayat, and Namalyari, of Mount Pinatubo of the Zambales mountain range. He would remember Apung[1] Nording reenacting how Sinukuan hit Namalyari’s eye, causing him/her to give off fainter light, thus, Bulan, or the moon. Sinukuan became ruler of the day as Aldo, the sun.

Quiel shattered his reminiscing of his magical childhood upon realization that he was already a lecturer of natural science in the University of the Philippines Pampanga Campus. It’s time he took hold of knowledge on nature, he thought; enough of folk people or institutions simply feeding the knowledge to him.

Perry still could not forget the young lecturer’s advice of sticking to things closer to home. He affirmed proudly, “Home is filled with domestic matters which I, a physics wizard, am not interested in. I understand that you, a third world country citizen, are concerned about that still. But we of the West have mastered science and are taking the responsibility of knowing the environment of Mother Gaea for you guys. We take care of cosmic affairs; you take care of earthy home. That’s division of labor for humanity.”

“And all we have to do is buy your books and study your language,” Quiel whispered in response to Perry’s racist remark. The half-American did not hear him.

“The space beyond, the governing laws, and the nature of matter are plainly much more interesting, much more mysterious,” Perry stated while raising his hands above his head as if wanting to soar to the sky and escape the gravity of domestic Earth.

His sight focused above, the outer space maniac tripped over a mossy log and fell on a shallow puddle of mud that slightly smelled putridly, defiling his aging hands which a few minutes ago where ambitiously reaching for the stars. “Putang bengi[2]!” he shouted—a local malediction he absorbed in his vocabulary from his Filipino mother who tried hard to speak in English in spite of not finishing high school to communicate with her American husband. Struggling to take his hands off the puddle of filth, he was looking around, thinking wildly whom or what to blame for the situation, not welcoming the idea that he was at fault for negligence.

Quiel looked back, not to aid in concern for his hiking companion, but to deliver a quick sermon to him, in spite of Perry being thirteen years older than him. “When I say closer to home,” he stated without smiling, “I mean closer to home. See what happens when you mentally marginalize things as simple—but urgent—as a log lying carelessly along the way?”

Perry was busy washing the dirt off his palms with his penultimate stock of bottled water, but was able to catch Quiel’s words. Dominated by pride, he refused to acknowledge the lecture and proceeded to asking if the crater was still far away.

As they continued trekking to the top, torn pieces of cloud began creeping, blanketing parts of the night sky, and reducing the brightness of the moon, but increasing the radius of its halo. Hike they did for hours with homesickness growing on Perry’s face like the bitterness of apalya[3] sticking to his taste buds, and exhilaration bit by bit wanting to come out of Quiel’s mouth, as apparent in his smile that widened every time they inched closer to the target destination.

After four hours of getting lost, catching their stamina, and finding their way, they saw the alleged stone building in the crater. Some had claimed it was a temple to worship the god or goddess of the ancient Kapampangans[4]. Some had claimed it was a hideout erected by the revolutionaries during the Spanish occupation and by communist groups that found prominence in the community during the Second World War. But to Quiel, there was something greater.

The grave expression which Quiel hours ago sported was replaced by an evil, excited look, as if the full moon had finally drawn his alter ego out. “Behold, Perry Whitman of the West!” he shouted in the summit. “In that rickety building you see lie the key to ultimate science and technology combined!”

Quiel turned to his companion with a bragging look and told him, “And I, Exequiel Galura, a Pampango of the Philippine Republic of South East Asia, have brought you so-called wizard of science here.”

Perry jumped in surprise. He never knew the introvert Quiel could shout like a punk rocker proclaiming protest against senseless pop music.

“What could you—a resident of a country stuck still in a stage of neocolonial mentality—show me in this place that would thwart my pride with the scientific achievements of my father’s homeland?”

The racist remark did not bother the young lecturer that time. Quiel began walking toward the building, the history of which was still being studied by local scholars.

Perry followed, but still went on discussing the imperial power of his country. “Look at you,” he said. “You dress like a Westerner, write using the Roman alphabet system, are in an adopted-from-the-West political system, can speak better in English than in your own—what do you guys call your language again?”

Quiel still was not giving a damn to all of Perry’s belittling statements. The thrill encrypted inside the mysterious building deserved more attention than the prejudicial Filipino-American behind him, he thought.

Perry remembered the magic word suddenly, thanks to his short conversations with Kapampangan linguistic diversity advocates in the Internet. “Oh, right, Amanung Sisuan[5],” he pronounced with an American accent.

“Why, probably even the science shows you’re watching at home—NGC, Discovery, Animal Planet—were baked by the West for you to merely dip your forks in and munch to your tummy’s satisfaction! Thank us for the knowledge we share to you.”

They reached the front of the building. Perry realized that all his words—which he intended to sound too boastful to hurt his companion’s ego—was not being listened to.

“Enough with the mystique,” Perry finally remarked. “What’s with the place? It doesn’t even look like a temple or what.”

“Judge not a book by its cover,” Quiel commented back. “And sometimes, the book being judged is not even the right book.”

Quiel got out a folded map—like a detailed overview of Mount Arayat—and pointed the X-mark to Perry, signifying that that was where they should search. “Put your gloves on and start digging,” Quiel ordered with authority, killing the last bit of respect toward elders expected from him as someone younger.

Not carrying any shovel to ease their way up the summit, they had no choice but to use their hands like primitives in unearthing, to the exasperation of Perry. They dug the earth on the left of the building; Quiel was digging faster than his companion as if battery-energized.

Without Perry noticing, Quiel grabbed his last bottled water and poured all of its content to their hole to soften the soil. Perry wanted to frown upon realizing but was held back by the fact that he no longer could do anything about it.

After ten more minutes, “Oyni[6]! Oyni! Oyni!” the excited one exclaimed, as he pushed Perry back—as if only Quiel should see the thing first—and pulled vehemently up the hole a slightly flat, tin rectangular box.

Perry was beginning to find Quiel strange. If not only for Quiel’s academic reputation, he would think he was already going insane, especially with the psychotic look on his face. The birds which natives call balaue[7] started flying out of the trees toward somewhere else, as the clouds that blur the moonlight have now cleared the sky above the crater.

“So what’s inside that case?” Perry asked. “More documented tales about Jose Rizal and his women?”

“These,” Quiel slithered eerily, “are the Kulit Isip.”

The treasure hunter’s eyes were glued only to the surface of the box. Without looking at Perry, he told him, “But of course, as a Filipino-American who has rejected his maternal ethnicity, I bet you don’t know what that means.”

“Like I said, division of labor,” Perry was quick to answer back. “Now is when you Flip come in the scene to explain what that could possibly mean.”

Quiel began dusting off the box. He started to explicate, “Kulit Isip is a Kapampangan phrase which roughly translates to Scriptures of the Mind. Kulit, if you check Fray Diego Bergano’s 17th century dictionary, means the indigenous orthography of our ancestors. However, in your dear English language, you can call them the Mind Codes.”

[1] Apu – a title used by Kapampangans to address the names of elders

[2] A malediction in the Philippine Kapampangan language which translates to: “The night is a whore!”

[3] Native name of bitter gourd

[4] The seventh largest ethnic group in the Philippines found in the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan

[5] Literally, language or word from which one suckles

[6] “Here it is!”

[7] Hawk

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Call for Entries: Cinekabalen Short Film Competition

Holy Angel University Center for Kapampangan Studies,
Kalalangan Kamaru, and
Circle of Young Angelenos


The 1st Cinekabalen Philippine Film Festival

The short film competition seeks to explore, criticize, promote, empower, and/or describe the Kapampangan experience through independent cinema.

We are looking for short narratives that tell the story and perspective of the Kapampangan people, who, since their pre-Hispanic participation in the affairs of Asia, have been leading diverse lives up to the contemporary times—from the humble rural folks of the riverbanks to the dehumanized drones of highly urban areas, from resilient survivors of the Pinatubo eruption to the aggressive players in national industries, from sun-worshipping dwellers of the mountainside to the strong devotees of Roman Catholicism, from the protesters of social inequality since ancient times to the culturally overloaded youth of the nation, from the migrants forced to live elsewhere for greener pastures to the politically maturing residents making waves in mass media, from the craftsmen who balance business and art to the brown tillers of the plains, etc....

Rules and mechanics of the short film competition:

- The contest is open to everyone, student or professional, Kapampangan or non-Kapampangan, living in the country or abroad, etc. except members of the core organizing committee

- any topic is allowed, as long as it expresses "The Kapampangan Experience"

- entry must be a narrative; no music videos or documentaries

- no limit of number of entries

- because promoting the Kapampangan language is one of the aims of the festival, the dialogues, if any, should predominantly be in Kapampangan. The occasional use of non-Kapampangan languages is allowed as long as used in proper linguistic context.

- setting of the story does not necessarily have to be in Pampanga or other Kapampangan-speaking regions like Tarlac and Bataan

- film must have readable English subtitles

- strictly 10-20 minutes in length; for animated entries, minimum of 5 minutes is allowed

- in digital format (submit final work in playable DVD)

- extreme violence and obscenity and unnecessary abuse of foul language are discouraged, but not prohibited

- use of copyrighted music is not allowed, unless permitted to by the owner of the material

- deadline of entries (final DVD, registration form) will be on July 31; they must be shipped or submitted in person to the Juan D. Nepomuceno Center for Kapampangan Studies, Holy Angel University, Angeles City; the registration form will be downloadable beginning mid-March

- 8 to 12 finalists will be chosen (depending on the quantity of submissions) to compete in the festival; cash prizes and trophies are at stake for the top three best short films, which will be selected by a Board of Judges consisting of experts from the industry; special awards (best male performer, best editing, best screenplay, etc.) will also be given; the competing films will be screened during the actual Cinekabalen Philippine Film Festival in August at the Holy Angel University Theater in Angeles City; an Awards Night will follow

Inquiries: text JASON @ 0918 699 2459 or email

Amateur filmmakers are welcome to consult the organizers regarding their entries

Monday, January 5, 2009

Nora Aunor Fans' Club: Kaplas

It Hurts. Words and music by Nora Aunor Fans' Club. The song is their contribution to the RocKapampangan album.

Directors: Diego Marx Dobles, Jason Paul Laxamana
Editors: Diego Marx Dobles, Jason Paul Laxamana
Location Managers / Production Designers: Nora Aunor Fans' Club

Bayu lungub king iskuela
Katawan unisan mu na
Lawen me ing kekang lupa
Pota lawen ne ning imestra
Bitis, gamat, keka yang linisan
Sabunan mu la't pulisan
Ding kuku ila' naman
Arung, balugbug, ampong gamat
Ding imalan mung susulud
E baling sulsi la at galut
Malinis la' sang alang lukut
Masanting neng paglub

Kaplas, kaplas
Lalu na potang mebarug ka
Ane ping kaplas
Lalu na potang tinunga ya
Ayan na ing korus na (2x)
Oh, oh, kaluguran da ka (3x)

Ing anak a mapanuksu
Kasaman ne ning Apung Ginu
Uling tutu yang alburutu
E ne dinan putu
Ing bola ku mabilug ya
Durulang ya ketang tabla
Atya ke man mibalik ya
Tiran ne ing kakung mestra

Kaplas, kaplas
Lalu na potang mebarug ka
Ane ping kaplas
Lalu na potang tinunga ya
Ayan na ing korus na (2x)
Oh, oh, kaluguran da ka (3x)