Cultural Convergence and the ‘Age of Can-Do’ (Manila Bulletin)

Indeed, “culture” is difficult to define and even describe. Here in the Philippines, it could mean many things — from the colorful fiestas and festivals that reveal our rich history, to the many, cross-continental influences that have found their way into our daily lives, to our food and music, to the kind of pop culture that keeps our youth and masses hooked, to the everyday expressions and celebrations of beauty.

Percussionist and performance artist Paul Zialcita rendering the Lupang Hinirang on the Kalidrum, a drum fashioned out of a recycled trash can and played using Filipino Martial Arts techniques | Photo by Allan Penaredondo
Percussionist and performance artist Paul Zialcita rendering the Lupang Hinirang on the Kalidrum, a drum fashioned out of a recycled trash can and played using Filipino Martial Arts techniques | Photo by Allan Penaredondo

Marian Pastor-Roces, a noted curator, editor, and cultural worker, describes one definition of culture as such: “[It does not] refer to a pure, authentic, idealized, past state, nor an essence to be preserved. The word encompasses change and volatility: how a people create and absorb or reject transformation.”

Or, simply put: “Culture is a moving thing. Culture is wiring.”

A conference designed by Pastor-Roces dared to challenge traditional notions of culture and give its audience fresh but rooted perspectives on the subject. Dubbed, “Reimagine: Pilipinas Bukas,” it asked its participants to look at the future through the lens of the living, dynamic thing that culture is, and to reimagine the Philippines 25 years hence.

It also brought together these virtuosos from various genres to embody this “reimagination” and make us take a closer look at the influences that have brought us here, and the ones we need to carry us forward.

Aga Mayo-Butocan, esteemed Maguindanaoan Kulintang master, enchants the audience with her own version of "jazz improv" on this traditional instrument | Photo by Allan Penaredondo
Aga Mayo-Butocan, esteemed Maguindanaoan Kulintang master, enchants the audience with her own version of “jazz improv” on this traditional instrument | Photo by Allan Penaredondo

In celebration of Arts and Culture month, we asked these artists: How do they reimagine the state of Philippine arts and culture 25 years from now? What future will we present a new generation of creative souls seeking expression and sustainability?

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the Manila Bulletin website HERE.

French Retreat (Manila Bulletin)

Sunset at Vieux Port (“Old Harbor”), one of La Rochelle’s main tourist destinations, falls at about 9 PM in the European summer. (Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita)
Sunset at Vieux Port (“Old Harbor”), one of La Rochelle’s main tourist destinations, falls at about 9 PM in the European summer. (Photo by Niña Terol-Zialcita)

It was seven o’clock in the evening, and the sun was still shining as brightly as if it were three o’ clock back home. I was in a second-class coach on a train from Paris, but, luckily, I had the aisle all to myself and could stretch and take photos and contort as I pleased. In front of me, beyond the glass that reflected the blurred faces of a cute French guy reading a book and an old man with a white beard, were wide open spaces as far as my eyes could see. We had passed what seemed like endless fields of golden wheat, followed by sunflower fields, grass… and more grass under an infinite expanse of blue. It was so blue, in fact, that my eyes hurt just looking at it. There were long stretches where not a cloud could be seen in the sky.

Yet it was seven in the evening, and my day was just about to begin.

I left Paris at around five in the afternoon on a TGV train bound for La Rochelle, to visit one of my dearest girlfriends, Michelle Tandoc-Pichereau, and her husband, who prefers to be called just B. Before Paris, I had come from a grueling one-week journalism scholarship program in Prague, and then made an equally tiring 24-hour pit stop in the City of Lights to pay a courtesy call to the royalty of French landmarks. But my real destination, the real jewel of this European adventure, was La Rochelle, where I felt that I could finally hop, skip, jump, stretch, sleep, and just…breathe.

This is an excerpt only. To read the full article, visit the Manila Bulletin website HERE.