Tuesday, February 24, 2004


This is one of the reasons why I am proud to be a son of Bukidnon, that mountianous province located at the heart of Mindanao. We have a festival that celebrates our heritage and portray's authentic tribal song and dances, instead of those choregraphed moves from the other festivals in the country.

This may not be like Beth's Secret, but I have one secret to tell, I am proud a descendant of tribal cheiftain. Both my grandmothers are daughters or granddaughter of a Datu. Imagine that I have a Royal Blood! (hehehehehehe)

Bukidnon heritage kept alive
By Antonio Montalvan

IT has become a norm for many provinces and cities to
stage cultural festivals. Festivals are tourist
come-ons. They are crowd-drawers. They bring in
much-needed receipts.

In our enthusiasm to think of what festivals to stage,
we create traditions that weren't there to begin with
and pass them off as "indigenous." Many of our
festivals range from the bawdy to the bizarre. One
town in the country is even thinking of putting up a
"suman festival." At other times, we couldn't seem to
make up our minds whether this was an Ati-atihan or a
Brazil Mardi Gras. Other festivals are just plain and
simple bacchanalia.

One festival that certainly does not fall into this
category -- at least not yet -- is Bukidnon's Kaamulan
Festival, held during the month of March each year.
The Kaamulan is anything but contrived.

It all began in 1974. It was the fiesta of Malaybalay,
May 15, in honor of San Isidro Labrador. The town's
vice mayor then, Edilberto Mamawag, thought of
inviting some indigenous Bukidnon tribespeople to
town. Mamawag thought a few dance steps by the natives
at Plaza Rizal would enliven the fiesta-goers.

That simple idea caught fire. A former reporter for
the Manila Times, Mamawag had at that time a guest
Manila reporter who later wrote about it for a
national magazine. That signaled the start of
Kaamulan's fame. One year led to another. On Sept. 16,
1977, the Regional Development Council adopted
Kaamulan as the regional festival of northern

By then, Mamawag was already the municipal mayor of
Malaybalay (now a city). Although born of Ilocano
parents who, like many others, settled on the cool
mountain plateaus of Bukidnon, Mamawag married a
Higaunon girl, Eden Suclatan Tan-Nery, who was a
descendant of Datu Mansiagnao. But there was also a
pure-blooded Higaunon in the municipal council, Pepita
Caterial Ongkiatco (many of the natives had adapted to
the surnames of the migrant culture since Hispanic
times). That was probably one factor that spelled the
difference for Kaamulan since the start: that it was
conceived and implemented by people with real
indigenous genealogical lines.

The name Kaamulan is Binukid for "social gathering."
There are eight indigenous groups in Bukidnon: the
Matigsalug, Umayamnon, Ilianon, Pulangihon, Talaandig,
Tigwa Manobo, Western Bukidnon Manobo and the Higaunon
who are also found in the hinterlands of Agusan del
Sur, Misamis Oriental and Lanao del Norte. Comparative
linguistic studies have shown that their languages,
along with other Manobo languages of Mindanao, are
daughter languages of an earlier parent language
called Proto Manobo, the speakers of which were
believed to have migrated to southern Mindanao many
centuries ago.

Unlike other festivals, Kaamulan is not all street
theater pageantry, although that is only one of its
many facets. If other festivals have to stage-direct
schoolchildren and make them appear as natives, in
Kaamulan it is the real indigenous peoples who attract
the crowds. And which is probably why the authentic
rituals are what spice up the Kaamulan pageantry.

There is the pangampo (general worship), the
tagulambong ho datu (a political ritual marking one's
formal ascendancy to the datuship), the panumanod
(spiriting ceremony), the panlisig (edging away of
evil spirits), another ceremony called pamalas and a
native horse fight called kagsaba ho kabayo.

Dance clinics are held in the afternoons. These are
conducted by the indigenous peoples themselves, using
real native drums and musical instruments. Young
people who otherwise go "jamming" using CD compos and
portable disc players are the ones instead who are
drawn to these clinics like an ethnic Woodstock, truly
an educational alternative.

In the evenings, there are chants of the Bukidnon epic
olaging, recitations of the lyric poetry limbay, the
singing of ballads called idangdang, and other
literary forms such as bayok-bayok (verses), antoka
(riddles), nanangon (folk tales) and the tracing of
one's genealogy in debate form, the dasang.

Because it is the product of a well thought-out
research, and includes the participation of real
natives in its conceptualization and implementation,
Kaamulan has attracted its own following of
researchers. It is a heartwarming sight to see
students painstakingly taking notes, interviewing the
native folks. Kaamulan is a virtual Filipino culture
history laboratory, and its educational benefits to
many students cannot be underestimated.

Where otherwise we find "neo-ethnic" choreographies
and "modified" costumes in some of our festivals,
Kaamulan is everything authentic. Where other
festivals parade the town's patron saint à la Santo
Niño Ati-atihan or Sinulog-style, Kaamulan is no
copycat. If other festivals sashay to the beat of the
Ati-atihan even if the place had no Ati people to
begin with, Kaamulan follows only its indigenous
cadence. Kaamulan's charm is not in the frenzy of the
Ati-atihan, nor in the pomp and glitter of Sinulog.
Its charm lies in its authenticity.

Bukidnon has always been a refreshing destination, not
just for its climate but also for its montane vistas,
its Grand Canyon of the Philippines, its fog-laden
pine-wooded hills of Malaybalay City, its mighty
Pulangi River that becomes the Rio Grande de Mindanao
as it reaches the vast Cotabato plains. Perhaps the
best wonder of Bukidnon is its unique indigenous

Friday, February 20, 2004


The Love bug is still in me (athough technically, I am still loveless), so for all the love birds around who are at the risk of being melodramatic, sappy and corny (hehehehehehe, joke lang po), here are two quotes about love for you to ponder:
from Mae West:
Love conquers all things,
Except poverty and toothache

from Malcolm S. Forbes:
Love is free, but at what price!
Objections anyone?

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


To Beth who is now engaged to the love of her life, to KK and Jade who are wonderfully happy and enjoying their marital bliss, and to Dinah who is one hell of a great mother - - as my post Valentines Day greetings for you, here's a song by Shania Twain:
She’s Not Just A Pretty Face

She hosts a T.V. show--she rides the rodeo
She plays the bass in a band
She's an astronaut--
a valet at the parking lot
A farmer working the land
She is a champion--she gets the gold
She's a ballerina--the star of the show

She's--not--just a pretty face
She's--got--everything it takes
She has a fashion line--
a journalist for "Time"
Coaches a football team
She's a geologist--a romance novelist
She is a mother of three
She is a soldier--she is a wife
She is a surgeon--she'll save your life

Chorus: She's--not--just a pretty face
She's--got--everything it takes
She's--mother--of the human race
She's--not--just a pretty face

She is your waitress--she is your judge--
she is your teacher
She is every woman in the world

She flies an airplane--
she dirve a subway train
At night she pumps gasoline
She's on the council--she's on the board
She's a politician--she praises the Lord

No, she's (she's) not (not)--
just a pretty face
She's (she's) got (got)--everything it takes
She's--not--just a pretty face
She's got everything it takes
She's not just a pretty face

Thursday, February 12, 2004

AT 28

I am 28 today.

I think when we get older, the inevitable question that we ask ourselves is, "where am I?" Thank goodness to Beth, beautiful tha she is, instead of wallowing from usual self pity stuff, she reminded me of this:
Psalms 103:1-5

1 Praise the LORD , O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD , O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
So here I am with one thing I know for sure - - I have grown wiser through these years and thankful that God gave me another year to probably correct things that I did in the past (that can still be corrected) and make things right for me.

These forwarded emails that were sent to me by friends seem to speak to me now:
by George Carlin

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctor worry about them. That is why you pay him/her.

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. " An idle mind is the devil's workshop." And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, to the next county, to a foreign country,
but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

And Always Remember:
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.


by Jacquie Sewell

1. Don't force a fit--if something is meant to be, it will come together naturally.

2. When things aren't going so well, take a break. Everything will look different when you return.

3. Be sure to look at the big picture. Getting hung up on the little pieces only leads to frustration.

4. Perseverance pays off. Every important puzzle went together bit by bit, piece by piece.

5. When one spot stops working, move to another. But be sure to come back later (see #4).

6. The creator of the puzzle gave you the picture as a guidebook. Refer to the Creator's guidebook often.

7. Variety is the spice of life. It's the different colors and patterns that make the puzzle interesting.

8. Working together with friends and family makes any task fun.

9. Establish the border first. Boundaries give a sense of security and order.

10. Don't be afraid to try different combinations. Some matches are surprising.

11. Take time often to celebrate your successes (even little ones).

12. Anything worth doing takes time and effort. A great puzzle can't be rushed.

13. When you finally reach the last piece, don't be sad. Rejoice in the masterpiece you've made and enjoy a well-deserved rest.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


This is a bit late.

I don’t need to know that Araneta Coliseum was filled with thousands of shrieking-poster-carrying fans for the Starstruck Judgement last February 1, nor I don’t need to know that that particular show garnered a 42 percent ratings as opposed to ABS-CBN’s “24” with an 11 percent to convince me that, indeed, Metro Manila and the rest of the country have been caught by the Starstruck frenzy. I only need to know that my two roommates whose only concern on TV is the score of their favorite NBA or PBA basketball team, have hurry home Sunday evening in order to catch the Starstruck Judgement Night. And not only that, despite having to work the following day, they waited until 12 midnight when the result was announced.

Why did Starstruck become so popular, so popular that ABS-CBN, great copycats assholes (ok, pasensya na! Just got carried away) that they are, was for forced to shelved their copied version “Star Circle Quest” until the frenzy of Starstruck will somehow mellow down? This is my observation.

First, this is relatively an original concept. Yes, this is patterned from the American Idol in the US (which was patterned after the Pop Idol in UK), but for the Philippines it is. Yes, there are “Star in a Million”, Search for a Star” and the likes, but all of these are looking for singing stars. Starstruck is an artista search for those who can act, dance, sing, or host.

Second, for fourteen weeks at five days a week, these finalists have been part of that boob-tube at primetime. You saw them struggle to find their moves with Douglas Nierras as they do dance workshop and have a taste of his “artist tempter”, you saw them trying to impress the opera singers with whatever singing voice that they have, you saw them trying to come up with the expectations of Gina Alajar in her acting workshop. You watched them everyweek and you will make your guess who will be voted out by Friday. You saw them honed whatever talent or star quality that they have on TV and these are not scripted – the beauty of a reality TV.

Third, as the finals approached, you are left with two guys, one has the killer smile, but poor in talent but has already gathered a big fan base with his F4 looks, and you have another cutie with pure dance talent. Of course, you would be too excited to know whether talent will somehow win over pure looks and that killer smile. If this were a typical contest where a board of judges will choose the winner, you would know that talent would prevail. But this isn’t a regular contest, TV audience will also have their say trough their text votes and so the millions of those who texted would be eager to know whether their bets made it. And of course! like the Survivor series, the contestant themselves will also have a say since they are also voting out a fellow finalist. So the result is unpredictable which would add to the thrill of the show.

What about the two girl finalists? Well, they have their share of fans, but not as many as the fans of Mark and Rainer.

Fourth, and I think these one of the reason why most people patronize the show. They saw their aspirations in the contestants. Admit it! most Filipinos thinks that the best way to bring you out of poverty is to become a star. These contestants started as virtually unknown. You saw them how they have changed their looks, you saw them improved whatever talent they have and you witness how they become celebrities. And somehow, in watching them you were also wishing that that lucky star will shine upon you one day - - hopefully (or should it be wishfully?).

I don’t know how the copycat ABS-CBN will do with their Star Circle Quest? But one think for sure, it was Starstruck who made history and no matter how much money will those bastards from ABS-CBN will pour (there I go again, sorry na), they won’t overdo the impact that Starstruck did on primetime Pinoy TV.

Monday, February 02, 2004


Like Millions of Filipinos, I was one of those who were glued to their TV sets last night watching the final judgement of Starstruck, a reality based Artista Search on GMA-7. I followed the show from day one, and after fourteen weeks I was extremely happy that my bets won. They are:

Jennylyn Mercado


Mark Herras

Why I was hooked (and so are million others)? I'll share it to you on my next entry. I am just too busy for now. Okay?