Sunday, December 2, 2012

EJ : Ang Pinagdaanang Buhay nina Evelio Javier at Edgar Jopson

This post was taken from soc.culture.filipino by TatangREtong in order to preserve the culture and beauty of the Pin@y people. Copyrights belong to the original owners. This production, being the last in a series of five (5) plays, ends Tanghalang Pilipino's 21st theater season. “EJ: Ang Pinagdaanang Buhay nina Eveli Javier at Edgar Jopson” is scheduled to open on February 8, 2008. It will run for four (4) weekends: February 8-10, 15-17,22-24 and February 29-March 2, 2008. Email: or Landline: 7245704 (residence) or 8323661 (Tanghalang Pilipino office) SYNOPSIS EJ : Ang Pinagdaanang Buhay nina Evelio Javier at Edgar Jopson Martial law under the Marcos dictatorship was one of the most traumatic periods in Philippine history. Lasting for almost fourteen years, the authoritarian regime of Ferdinand Marcos—with its massive corruption, crony capitalism and brutal repression of dissent—kept the Philippines a backward, impoverished country. With more than half of the country subsisting in poverty, the long-standing elite structures of feudal privilege and political patronage remained intact under strongman rule, which was propped up by a military organization notorious for gross human rights violations, and which enjoyed the support of the US government until widespread popular opposition to the dictatorship forced it to withdraw this support. Opposition to the Marcos regime was already intense even before the declaration of martial law in 1972. The forces of the Left—the clandestine Communist Party and its New People’s Army, as well as legal progressive organizations representing various sectors in Philippine society (workers, peasants, fishermen, professionals, academicians and students, religious and lay workers, etc.), and various parties and personalities in the political opposition, fought against Marcos rule. With the political opposition virtually silenced by martial law, it was the Left that persisted in the anti-fascist struggle. One of the most interesting figures in this struggle was Edgar Jopson, former president of the moderate National Union of Students, criticized by the revolutionary Left for his advocacy of “superficial” reforms in government, and who would later stun the protest movement by joining the Communist Party, later turning out to be one of the most effective, respected, and courageous leaders of the underground Left. For almost ten years he worked tirelessly to advance the radical vision of National Democracy, until his death at the hands of the military in 1982. As the Marcos regime lurched from crisis to crisis, the ranks of the liberal-democrat reformists were fortified by the emergence of young leaders like Ateneo law graduate Evelio Javier, who served for one term as governor of the province of Antique, defeating the political dynasty represented by Arturo Pacificador, a stalwart in Western Visayas of the KBL political party of Marcos. The paths of Javier and Pacificador would cross several times in a bitter history of political rivalry, which came to a head when Javier campaigned for Cory Aquino against Marcos in the snap presidential election of 1986. Cory won handily in Antique, a province that was supposed to have been secured for the dictator by his local henchmen. Less than two weeks before the EDSA People Power Revolt sent the Marcos family into deserved exile, Javier was gunned down by soldiers of the regime, reportedly acting on orders of its local warlord. His death was seen as martyrdom for the cause of democracy, and further stoked the fury of protest leading up to the popular uprising against Marcos on EDSA. Ed Jopson and Evelio Javier died four years apart. Both had been outstanding Ateneo students, but had never met, even if both had been active in the anti-Marcos protest movement. The play attempts to intertwine or interweave the stories of Edjop and Evelio—who were fated never to know each other, much less join forces in their personal involvement with the anti-fascist struggle—and to hypothesize the nature of the discourse they might have engaged in, being representatives of parallel forces in Philippine society working for change—the Left and Liberalism, that is to say, Revolution and Reform. The most important aspect in the life of Edjop was his transformation from a politically moderate, reform-minded liberal activist – who was in fact described as a ‘clerico-fascist’ by elements of the radical left at the beginning of the First Quarter Storm – into a National Democrat or ‘natdem’ labor organizer, and eventually a CPP-NPA-NDF leader who believed in armed struggle as the only way to end centuries of underdevelopment, poverty and injustice. On the other hand, the most important aspect in the life of Evelio was his principled stand against the dictatorship by taking the path of parliamentary struggle, participating in the electoral process under martial law, running against the political subalterns (‘mga galamay’) of the Marcos regime, and his belief in the viability of democratic process under martial law, by appealing to the better instincts of the Filipino electorate, until such time as just rule and governance would have been reestablished. In both cases, the two EJs met death at the hands of the Marcos military. Both were shot in cold blood—Edjop when already wounded as he tried to escape the military raiders of his UG hideout, and systematically peppered with bullets before he was brought to the hospital; Evelio when also already wounded and trying to flee from his Philippine Constabulary assassins, and finished off as he lay trapped in a shed. The military as enforcer of repressive policies masquerading as national defense or ‘human security’ measures, as extra-judicial executioner of actual and suspected subversives, was official policy under martial law. The practice has persisted under all subsequent Philippine regimes. Throughout history—from the crucifixion of Christ to the execution of Edjop and Evelio—agents of a ruling regime have had no qualms in ending the lives of the high-minded and the heroic, because their deaths lessen the threats against tyranny and injustice, and presumably terrorize the malcontents into submission, or so goes the fascist mind-set. The ‘obvious question’ is begging to be asked: who was more correct in his interpretation of what ailed, and ails, Philippine society, and whose method of effecting change was more valid? The play, however, does not presume to answer this. One could say that while they took divergent roads towards their social vision, there were convergences in how they viewed society, and they were totally committed to fighting the dictatorship even though they were aware of the extreme danger which they were facing. In a very narrow sense, they seemed to have failed in their life’s mission, because they both were killed by the regime long before they could even glimpse the early dawn of the society they dreamt of. And their executioners were never brought to justice. The PC officer who led the raid on Edjop was eventually promoted, while the suspected architects of the murder of Evelio are scot-free, one an asylum seeker in Canada, the other politically active again in Antique. Worse, the regime that they sought to bring to an end never really vanished even after the so-called ‘People Power Revolution’ of 1986. It continued to mutate under succeeding administrations, well into the new century, while retaining its basically elitist and kleptocratic structure, propped up by the state’s armed forces, while going through various superficial democratic processes such as periodic elections which foist upon the broad masses of the poor the illusion of free choice and the empty promise of salvation. But in a very broad sense—in the long view of history—they succeeded in elevating themselves into historical, transcendental symbols of heroism and the selflessness that some human beings are capable of, when they are prepared to make the supreme sacrifice for an altruistic, higher humanitarian goal. They, therefore, represented the true essence of the Atenean ideal of ‘a man for others’ (translated by the playwright as ‘ang mabuhay para sa kapwa’), indeed of the deeply idealistic Christian and Marxist principle of laying down one’s life for the sake of humanity, and this was the same impulse that must have motivated the other Ateneo revolutionary martyrs of that period, who figure in a cameo appearance or symbolic presence in this play: Eman Lacaba, Ferdie Arceo, Bill Begg, Jun Celestial, Sonny Hizon, Dan Perez, Ditto Sarmiento, Lazzie Silva, Nick Solana, and Manny Yap, all compelled towards radicalism by the sheer magnitude of social injustice in the Philippines. It could be argued that Evelio Javier might have been the genuine prototype of the new, the radical-reformist Filipino politician had he survived the brutal Marcos regime, having been the best exemplar for a liberal-democratic type of a corruption-free and progressive politics. And up to this day, many would still agree with Edgar Jopson’s vision of a national-democratic society where power truly emanates from the people through the genuine representation of the vast majority of Filipinos. The fact that the insurgency he was a leader of survived several waves of suppression campaigns is evidence that unrest and discontent have very deep roots kept alive by iniquity, inequality. The play traces the beginnings of the social consciousness of the two protagonists, how they reacted to social realities and articulated their growing awareness of the role they were prepared to take on. For Edjop, realization came early in life, as he learns about poverty in the rural areas of the country from stories told him by their househelp. Being the “son of a grocer”—as he was famously called by Marcos—he had first-hand experience of people who hire out their labor in exchange for wages, and later as an organizer he would even instigate the formation of an employees’ union in their family-owned business, a significant gesture that would underscore the integrity of his political ideology. The incidents in Edjop’s life that have become part of the legend built around him are explored in the play, but laced with expressions of self-doubt, of ‘Damascene’ moments during which he plumbs deeper into social issues and re-assesses his original beliefs. Thus, he is shown as the voice of moderation as he leads the mainstream student movement against the pre-martial law Marcos, engages the would-be dictator in an altercation right in the presidential office as the leftists begin to storm the palace. But he also begins to analyze the position of the radical left, despairs at the failure of the ConCon, and when he tours socialist China as head of a youth delegation, he sees alternative possibilities for the Philippines. The declaration of martial law finally ends all his illusions about peaceful means of reforming society, and he sets out on a collision course with the violent guardians of the status quo. Evelio, in contrast, belonged to a family of politicians, and grew up as did his province mates in the shadow of a dominant political dynasty in Antique. Fired up by a natural idealism further kindled by his Jesuit mentors at the Ateneo, and witnessing the centuries-old extreme poverty of hundreds of thousands of Antiqueños who hired themselves out as sacadas or seasonal workers in the sugarlands of the super-rich Visayan plantation owners, he enters politics with a new message of liberation—a caring governance that combined upland development projects, political and economic empowerment of the poor, principled and honest elections, and cultural pride in Antique’s history exemplified by the Binirayan festival. He campaigns hard to catch the attention of the people, bringing the message of a new kind of politics that begins to inspire the youth and gives a new hope to the impoverished masses, and he inaugurates a new era in Antique history. In the process, he threatens the dominance of the trapos (‘dirty rags’, ‘traditional politicians’) in the province, and they begin to move against him. The play depicts the sequence of events in the lives of the two heroes—never intersecting but resonating with the same theme—as leading to an identical tragic resolution that was not willed by either (although both were aware of it and were prepared for it), but forced by the logic of repression willed by the regime they rebelled against. In this inexorable journey, both have two strong persons by their side, Joy Asuncion, Edjop’s wife and comrade in the revolutionary movement; and Precious Lotilla, Evelio’s wife and teammate in his crusade for a progressive Antique. The songs in this play are evocative of the special relationship that characterized the courtship, marriage and love life of these two couples—in the case of Edjop and Joy, sharing the idealism of their student activist years, the hardships of living underground for years without seeing their children for long periods, and the joy of living with the ‘masa’ in the countryside to whose welfare and liberation they were totally committed; in the case of Evelio and Precious, sharing the rigors of a political campaign waged against staggering odds, the satisfaction of bringing new hope to the poor of Antique through their grassroots development and community work, and the sadness of temporary separation when Precious has to take care of their children in a foreign country while Evelio returns to the homeland to wage his final battle against the dictatorship and its localized manifestation in his province. This play, then, is all about love—for the beloved, for deeply held ideals and values, and for humanity in the all too real shape of a people oppressed and marginalized throughout history, in a land where affliction seems never-ending. Ed Maranan

Totoy Batotoy: the indigenous and the western influenced music in the philippines.

The following was written / posted in soc.culture.filipino by Totoy Batotoy on 1/22/04. This was extracted from googlegroups archive by TatangREtong. In the Philippines, there are two main streams of folk music--one that exhibits Asiatic traditions and one that exhibits Westernized traditions. The former encompasses the music of indigenous groups of people scattered all over the Philippines, inhabiting mostly upland areas. In Luzon, some of these groups of people are the Apayao, Tingguian, Kalinga, Balangao, Bontok, Kankanai, Ifugao, Ibaloi, Ikalahan, Iwak, Gaddang, Ilongot, Atta, Agta, and Aeta. In the Bisayan islands, indigenous groups are the Sulod, Bukidnon of Negros, Magahat, Ati, and Ata. The Tagbanua and Batak are found in Palawan. In Mindanao, indigenous groups include the Tirurai, Manobo, T'boli or Tagabili, Ubo, B'laan (Bilaan), Subanon, Kalagan, Mamanwa, Bagobo, Mandaya, and Mansaka. These groups practice an indigenous religion. Also included in the category of music with Asiatic traditions are the Muslim groups of people found mostly in Mindanao, Palawan, and the Sulu archipelago. These include the Maranao, Ilanun, Magindanao, Kolibugan, Karaga, Yakan, Sama, Badjaw, Tausug, and Jama Mapun. There are no written records of the musical traditions of these peoples before 1500. After the arrival of the Spaniards in 1521, church and civil reports dealt primarily with the military conquest, government, administration and Christianization of various parts of the Philippines. From this vast assortment of maps, letters, narration's, descriptions, etc., occasional mention is made of the music and musical practices of the natives. In the 1700's more published material in the form of travelogues appeared. In the last quarter of the 1800's specialized studies on the music of various groups began to appear. Anthropological research in the 1900's furnished more detailed descriptions of musical traditions. Since the 1950's, ethnomusicological research has brought about a strong interest in indigenous music. Studies on Philippine indigenous music cover surveys of instrumental and vocal forms. Indigenous instruments include those made of metal (bronze or iron), of bamboo, and wood. Metal instruments include gongs made from bronze or iron. These gongs are two types: flat gongs and bossed (or knobbed) gongs. Flat gongs are found only in the north. Similar gongs are found in the hills of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and some parts of Indonesia. In the Cordillera highlands, these gongs are called gangsa, are played in ensembles consisting of anywhere from one six or seven gongs. Some ensembles use gongs only but others combine the gongs with other instruments, often drums. Bossed gongs are found only in the south. They are of three types: the agung, the gandingan, and the set of graduated gongs laid in a row called kulintang. These gongs are usually combined with each other together with drums in various combinations to form different types of ensembles, varying from group to group. Bamboo/wood instruments antedate the gongs. There are of various types: flutes, stopped pipes, panpipes, reed pipes, stamping tubes, quill shaped tubes, xylophones, clappers, zithers, lutes, fiddles, suspended logs, and wooden sounding boards. There are different genres of indigenous vocal music which are performed in a solo or responsorial manner. there is a noticeable differentiation in singing style between the north and the south. The northern style uses a marked and rhythmic enunciation of vowels to form syllables or slides, half-speech sounds, and frequent pauses. In contrast, the southern style of singing is characterized by melismas, long phrases, a narrow range, fluidity, and tremolo. A more recent Islamic style superimposed on this tradition has a specially distinct vocal delivery with high tessitura, a strained voice of various timbres, and a nasal enunciation. Vocal genres include epic singing; songs connected with life-cycle events: birth, lullabies, courtship, marriage and death; occupational songs; and ritual songs. Westernized Traditions The Spaniards arrived on Philippine shores in 1521 and the Filipino's music was to undergo a transformation due to the influx of western influences, particularly the Spanish-European culture prevalent during the 17th to the 19th centuries. Hispanization was tied up with religious conversion, and in the next three centuries, the people's musical thinking was affected resulting in a hybrid expression heavily tinged with a Latin taste. It produced a music connected to and outside the Catholic liturgy and a European-inspired secular music adapted by the Filipinos and reflected in their folk songs and instrumental music. The large number of liturgical and para-liturgical vocal genres that developed included songs used inside as well as outside the church. These included Christmas songs and practices such as the pastores, daygon, galicon, tarindao, and the outdoor re-enactment of the Holy Couple's search for lodging called pananawagan, panunuluyan, pananapatan, or kagharong. The custom of chanting the passion of Jesus during Lent gave rise to the pasyon, a practice widespread among the lowland Christians. The verse narrative on the life and sufferings of Jesus Christ appears in almost all major Philippine languages- Tagalog, Bicol, Ilocano, Pangasinan, Pampango, Ilonggo, Sebuano, and Waray. The Gaddang, Ibanag, and Cuyunon also have their versions. The text may be rendered by a group of singers who take turns singing the verses, or by two singers, or in some cases by a solo singer. The pasyon is sung in homes, village chapels, or even in outdoor makeshift sheds erected for the purpose. A more extensive and complicated rendition of the life and passion of Jesus Christ in the form of outdoor dramas also takes place during Lent. These passion plays are called senaculo. A cast of 30 more characters is accompanied by a small band of instruments. Another related Lenten celebration is the moriones of Marinduque. Devotion to Mary took the form of a number of rituals done during the month of May such as the santacruzan and the flores de Mayo. May is also the month of town fiestas where patron saints are honored with processions accompanied by the town bands. Some rituals show a syncretization of indigenous and Christian practices. Old rites seeking favors and good fortune invoke God, Mary, the saints, pagan gods, good, and evil spirits such as the Cavite sanghiyang and the Bataan kagong. Another type of music, quickly assimilated and adapted by the Filipinos were western dance forms such as the habanera, tango, fandango, seguidilla, jota, curacha, polka, mazurka, danza and rigaudon. The adopted and adapted versions are the pandanggo, jota, habanera, danza, polka, mazurka, valse, and rigodon. Today they form the greatest bulk of "popular" folk dances of the lowland Christians. These dances were accompanied by cumparsasa, later replaced by the rondalla. The instrumental group, said to have originated from the Mexican murza and Spanish estudiantina comprises the bandurria, laud, octavina, guitar, and the bajo de unas. Alongside the folk dances, many folk songs with a western harmonies structured with regular phrases appeared. Their composers are no longer known but they have been adopted by the community. These include such songs as "Bahay Kubo", "Atin cu pung singsing", "Ili-ili tulog anay", "Leron leron sinta", "Sit-si-rit-sit". now its hip hop . rock , etc ...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The last four years

The first Monday of September in the USA celebrates the labor of the people. In contrast, the rest of the world celebrates labor on May Day. The US changed the date because it was too close to the whole communist celebration of workers on May 1. Time is flying by at an amazing speed. I’m now in my forties. Just yesterday, I was wondering how my twenties would be. Next thing you know, my thirties is already past me. And now, I’m settling into what used to be middle age. Funny, I don’t feel all that different. Sure, some joints are creaky, but I swear, I just finished high school last year. Life has been a blur the last 4 years. I stopped blogging simply because of my addiction to world of Warcraft. I found it more entertaining to level up a paladin and warlock instead of documenting how my life has been. Perhaps, it was a way to leave my real life worries and go into seclusion into an imaginary world, where I am always powerful, strong and handsome. I see many of my wife’s cousins reach their twenties now. The youngest of them just entered Grade 9, the first year of high school. I remember when she was barely two years old. It was one of my first parties attending the wife’s family. The little kid was chewing on a piece of meat. Somehow or the other, she looked like she needed something so I placed my hand in front of her. Out came a piece of meat that she had been chewing on. The last year, I wrote my attempt at my first book. It chronicles how I went from a deficit of money to getting on ahead. I credit Tuhan Joe Arriola for teaching me the way. I credit my wife for giving me patience and her energy to allow me to change myself. I reconnected to several high school friends. I feel nostalgic when I look at the photos of their children. Some of them are high school age now. Just like yesterday, I was in high school. For many of my friends, life has given its twists and turns. But the general theme is that of experiencing all the highs and all the lows that life has to offer. The things that remain the same are the death of parents, marriage and birth of children. It’s hard for me to reconcile that some of them have families and children who are also having children. It throws me for a loop.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Search for Religion

Several years ago, I saw an advertisement for Bill Maher’s movie “Religulous.” Having had disagreements in my head with the Roman Catholic church, I thought that this movie would be a fun watch. When I finally saw the movie, I was disappointed. I suppose my expectations were too high. What I wanted to see was the comedy of how religion messed up people’s lives. I did see that very much.

But what I also saw was the utter black hole that was in Bill Maher’s life. I would have thought that wisdom would have found him by now, but alas, it had not. Instead of being able to reconcile the multiplicities of how humans perceive God, Bill Maher simply refuted it and said there is none. And, as I recall, one way to annihilate the existence of God was to use the inhumanity of man.

After that movie, I could never watch Bill Maher again. How can I? I can not listen to someone who has simply given up in their search for the world to make sense.

Wow, isn’t that a bold statement for me to make? Yes it is. But it is only because I have gone through a journey in which I have made the whole cycle. I began as a child baptized into the Roman Catholic church and indoctrinated into the church’s teachings. By the age of 13, the age of reason struck my head and I began to leave the and question the church’s teachings. By the age of 22, I entered into graduate school in the biological sciences where I found even more evidence to contradict church teachings.

Then, an unusual series of events began to happen to me to reconsider. First, I had to give a church dispensation to my wife in order for me to marry her. I, who had not practiced in Church had to give dispensation to someone who had gone through Catholic school in high school. This was utter non-sense and was outlandish to me.

Then, I found my teacher Tuhan Joseph Arriola. Tuhan is a teacher of martial arts and financial responsibility. He commented that “If someone is truly a master, they are a master of all things in their life. Those who are a master of only one aspect is not truly a master.” This statement resonated in my whole being for the last 3-4 years. Each time I met an individual, this question always presented itself.

Third, I saw postings by Neil Shenvi. If a chemist can reconcile God and science, why could I not?

Fourth, and this is really that thing that spurred me on to come back to the Church, I saw that many individuals in the world were basically making fun and using Christianity as a punching bag for their otherwise sad, pathetic, Bill Maher-like life. Don’t blame religion for why your life sucks. Do something about your life sucking. Bwahahaha!

I already know that someone will challenge me to prove to them the existence of God. Being nice, I will simply tell you what I had to go through in order to finally be capable of understanding the nature of spirituality. I trained in a multiplicity of disciplines.

1. Seven years of graduate school and 2 years of post-doctoral research to train my logic and my scientific thinking.
2. Ten years of financial teaching from Tuhan Joseph Arriola from the Kamatuuran School of Kali. This taught me that men and women can be summed with respect to the physical, the intellectual, and the spiritual.
3. Six years of writing investigative reports for scientific products. This put into use my training in logic and my training in root cause analysis and corrective action.
4. Twenty years of curiosity and reading books on philosophy, religion, and metaphysics, physics, chemistry, quantum theory, statistics, mathematics, logic and history.

Now, if you have this, and you still have not reconciled in your head the disparate elements of life and God, give it seven more years. It took me 24 years.

Now, here's a message for those who would denigrate any religion because they can't figure their shit out.

But, if you make fun of my religion, or of any other religion because you have not taken the time nor the energy to understand life, you my friend are asking for trouble. You stand on one leg out of a possible three. When life takes his turn to smack your ass, you will fall. And when you fall, I will be the flaming hand of God (in all of his various forms of incarnations) ready to strike to finish your ass for not working enough to figure out your sad, pathetic shitty life.

I am not a passive, nice, religious, Christian. I am not an extremist Christian. (I accept all people as travelling a circle. Some are at the beginning, some are in the middle, some are at the end, some are starting their journey to the next level. I care not for you actual religion, sexual orientation, or racial history.) If you make fun of me or my religion and your joke is pitiful and does not make me laugh, I will pray to that part of God (in his multiple incarnations) to make you miserable by taking away your enjoyment of sex, food, spirits and tobacco.

I have come into this world ready to accept people. But if I find that you are part of a war against my religion, understand me when I say that I will lay waste to your existence, crush you as my enemy, drive you before me, hear the lamentation of your women and the silence of your children. (Reference to the author of Conan the Barbarian. That’s right, we co-opt all the best there is in other people’s cultures. It’s a proven method to convert heathens and non-believers into rightful, sheepful subjects of the Crown of God).

I was not a person who could accept God based on faith. I asked the universe to give me the insight to understand God beyond the way of faith. I have received what I asked for when I was thirteen years old. I envy others who could accept God on faith alone.

So if you’re life is f*cked up beyond recognition, go do something about it. Don’t blame religion. Don’t blame others. Only you can change your life, dumbass!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Associate Justice Clarence "Mandingo" Thomas

Alleluiah! Finally, I can point to Associate Justice Clarence "Mandingo" Thomas as a person who shares in the joys of the flesh! Free wheeling sex and a breast fetish!

I admit that Associate Justice Mandingo is very different than the civil rights standard bearer Thurgood Marshall. But this points to the beauty of American democracy. Even a sexual pervert with a breast fetish and predilection for the light skinned woman can rise to become a part of the Supreme Court. All a person has to do is become a RepubliCANT!