The Art of the Children of Sitio Malabon

What happened in our three-year art workshops (2013 -2016) at Sitio Malabon was magical.  Transforming kids into true-blue artists had been a rewarding experience.   Although it was very difficult at first;  getting through the pain and tribulations of winning parental approval had been laborious, but in the end, when some of the kids’ works had been sold, they finally realized we were not wasting time, as what they had presumed.   Here are some of the students’ works:  Untitled-1

The original Sitio Malabon kids in 2013 before we selected the best artists from the first group of students.  sasasasasasasa

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Goodbye SEKA

After almost a year (2015-2016) that we made friends with the children of Sentrong Kabataan in Paliparan Site, sharing with them our love and passion for the Arts, we never thought that the establishment would close and that we wouldn’t be able to see the children as a group again.  But we shall always be happy with the memories of our days with them, and how in that short period of time, they had made us so fulfilled and productive.    Sentrong Kabataan (SEKA), a branch of Pangarap Foundation in Paliparan, has been helping children from impoverished families get extra-curricular activities and vocational studies.   Jhon Allan Rodriguez headed SEKA when we first came there, and he stayed until it closed a few months ago.   We are still fortunate to have been a part of SEKA, and teaching the Arts to the kids will always be one of the most memorable moments in our group’s existence.

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Joemarie Sanclaria’s Watercolor Art

JOEMARIE SANCLARIA’S WATERCOLOR ART   (by Homer Fernandez)

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I can’t help it, and I’m not being biased about it – it’s just that these watercolor artworks move me in a very gentle but powerful way – everything about them is exhilarating, as youth is exhilarating. Joemarie uses colors that emphasize his appreciation for real childhood and freedom – things that perhaps he and many of us never really tasted when we were young – but despite the pain and all the odds, he recreates beauty in his works; the extraordinary beauty of pent-up emotions and inner angst that we can’t simply say in words, or sing in lyrics – but express them in colors and pictures that surprisingly, can make us smile from within, and gently assure us that pain has not made us bitter, but instead shaped us into beautiful creators of art. Thank you Joemarie for preserving innocence, and for turning it into glorious pieces of your wonderful mind for everyone to behold, and feel.

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The LIBRENG TYANGGE Project

17842345_1535984049754679_675498738_nIt is actually a game for underprivileged kids. They buy items (clothes, toys, books, school supplies donated by my good friends, most of them I met only on Facebook) using only play money. With this game, they learn how to budget their allotted amount of play money on materials that they believe are important to them. Aside from that, they can also choose items that they can give to their mothers, fathers, siblings and friends if their play money can still afford more purchase.   This is an enjoyable game of shopping for the kids.
The first LIBRENG TYANGGE was held in Sitio Malabon in January. The February project in Sitio Silangan was moved to April this year. This month’s LIBRENG TYANGGE will be held in Mabuhay City, Paliparan, Dasmarinas, Cavite on Saturday, March 11 at 4:00 PM. The major sponsor was the artist Mr. Jerry dela Rosa, for donating brand new garments for the children, and Ms. Estrella Gatchalian for sending us books, crayons, sketch pads, chocolates and other great items from Canada.  The other donors were Ms. Adrianne Fern, Josie Fernandez and Ms. Flora Adriano.
The project LIBRENG TYANGGE encourages people to join in the fun and joy of giving as they provide an inconspicuous way of educating kids and giving them a simple but enjoyable method of acquiring financial literacy, and at the same give value to the items that they choose.
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Thanks to our donors this month: Ms. Elizabeth Sauler and Ms. Jessabel Binamira. They have been generous with their great items. Ms. Elizabeth Sauler even bought brand new school materials and books for this project. We are hoping that more people will still donate used items so that we can still share this wonderful game with a lot of children, and mothers as well.
The third LIBRENG TYANNGE was held in Sitio Silangan on April 9, 2017.  Ms. Estrella Gatchalian heads the sponsorship as she sends canned goods, candies, chocolates, stuff toys, clothes and books from British Columbia, Canada.  Artist Ms. Ning Odulio participates as well by giving us big umbrellas, raincoats, traveling bags and clothes.  Ms. Rachelle Bulandos also participated and bought goodies and toys for the children.
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This is a monthly event. Kindly give us a message if you wish to participate in our project. Your single act of kindness gives hope to hundreds of underprivileged kids.
Contact us # 09971677818
coloradolluvia2015@gmail.com

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Bernadette Manahan Sta. Maria’s Still Life

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Most artists excel in a singular genre and they can’t shift to another style or another subject even if they have the expertise to do so. But artists are supposed to acquire an uncanny ability to execute every theme that they have been tasked to do, and to be artistically wide-ranging is indeed imperative for the popular artists. So here is Ms. Bernadette Manahan Sta. Maria, taking a break from portraiture, presenting a delightful still life in pastel, and is absolutely remarkable in her execution of colors, perspective and emotive effect although the work seems to appear naïve.
The difference of this artwork from other still life paintings is that it is not figuratively motionless. Bernadette brings sparkle and movement to this piece with her choice of lighting effect, shading and minimalist weight so the whole picture dazzles the eye and gives the mind something to ponder upon; not in thoughts, but in a restful trance. Although it belongs to the traditional tabletop static style, the painting transcends tradition and social distinction, or even mediocrity. It belongs to everyone’s wall. This is one of Bernadette Manahan Sta. Maria’s little- known but effective works of art, but I doubt if it will remain unknown for long.

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The Spectacular Miss Saigon (Review)

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I had been able to watch the Manila production of Miss Saigon and I remember being  overwhelmed with awe and pride by the whole experience.   We were all so thrilled in 1999. It was the first time that a big West End/Broadway musical would be staged in my country, produced by its real creators and not just by any local repertory theater; so we all went out to the Cultural Center of the Philippines and witnessed how a helicopter thundered in the theater and soared with the overwhelming orchestra music. It was a night to remember. Recently it popped up on youtube, but it has been really disappointing. The performance was not at its best, and Lea Salonga’s Kim lacked passion and honesty although her voice has remained strong and magical. The whole production looked shabby and inferior, and the actor who played the Engineer acted and sounded like a desperate drag queen. Well, maybe because the video did not do any justice to the performance, but still something was amiss.
Then comes this 25th Anniversary performance by a new cast led by Eva Noblezada, Alistair Brammer and Jon Jon Briones. I watched it online, and it was magnificent. Perhaps because it was strategically filmed live through the guidance of a film director so that all facial expressions, emotional nuances in the music and lyrics can be picked up and the exaggerated theatricality is toned down for cinematic effects. Nevertheless it was still fantastic, and the actors performed with truthfulness, passion and energy, particularly Eva as Kim, Alistair as Kris and the incomparable Jon Jon Briones as the Engineer – I think he surpassed the performance of Jonathan Price. Eva’s vulnerable performance as Kim was moving, and it matched that of the fiery passion of Alistair Brammer. Alistair’s realistic performance has helped the audience see and feel Kim’s tragedy through the lyrics and it has become a factual narration of experiences that many Vietnamese victims of war must have endured.
I also love the new songs – they replaced some silly lyrics with sensible ones and changed parts of the score for a more believable melody. The commercial appeal it had before is still there, but the whole production now can boast of a more profound presentation. I think I can forget Lea Salonga’s artificial approach on Kim now that Eva has emerged and improved on it, but of course no one can ever replace the magic that Lea Salonga’s voice has contributed to the perfection and artistry of Miss Saigon. But even that can be forgotten with the emergence of the newly revised production so that we can all rid of the shallow glamor blitz of showbiz and instead focus on the story, and its universal message to humanity.

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