Aswang, Supernaturalism and Cherie Gil
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DO you believe in witchcraft, in aswang?
In the day and age of the internet, anything about paranormal and the unseen is subject to inquiry, too.
Not until first-time full-length feature director Gabriel Fernandez, the protégé of film masters Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes, became conscious of folk tales about Filipino lore on the bizarre, that he tried to see if he could prove that there really was black magic.
Fernandez coming to terms with the supernatural started when he was conceptualizing a film project for De La Salle College of Saint Benilde sometime ago.
“Yes, I believe in aswangs,” Gabriel said without batting an eyelash.
He had experiences in the past about encounters with the wonder world of kapri, manananggal, tikbalang and wolves not only in his imagination but in reality as well.
As a mentor on Philippine culture and communications, his readings on folklore added dimension to them.
To carry on his beliefs, Gabby—as he is called by his peers and friends in the entertainment community and academe—wanted to tell stories about all these in visuals, so he developed a story about a rich, landed family in the Visayas, particularly in Negros Province, who was possessed with some strange force.
On top of this, his literary influences must have inspired him to infuse some symbols and metaphors on wanderlust.
Fernandez’s maiden film offering, “Mana” is the product of both his experiential and imaginative excursion on the fantasy.
But why a horror film to celebrate the twenty fifth year of St. Benilde?
“Of course, we didn’t want to be predictable. Just because St. Benilde is associated with education, we should have produced a typical educational film like the life story of the school’s namesake or of a saint,” Fernandez enthused.
Rather, the enterprising filmmaker would charter a new path of presenting academic movies.
“I was given a free hand of what material to produce,” volunteered the small but giant in vision and imagination film professor.
I should also say supernaturalism is education and information as well.
“The film isn’t only on aswang per se but it is also a symbol of the contemporary times. That there are many aswangs who are around us, living and all, sucking our blood, our public money,” he chuckled pertaining to the pork barrel scam among our public servants.
Although “Mana” is about supernatural things, Gabby wanted it sold to the audience as a family drama because, first and foremost, it is also about the daily life of a Filipino family.
There’s nothing wrong about promoting the film as genre, anyway.
As it is, fantastic films are making waves in world cinema these days.
The market for genre films is getting a wider share of audiences not only worldwide but right here in the heart of Asia.
Thrillers are surefire box-office attractions not only in the Americas but in Europe as well.
In the Asian region, there’s an influx of horror and fantasy films.
At the annual Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival in Bucheon City, South Korea, hundreds of thrillers from various countries are screened and made money eventually in theatrical exhibition.
In the Philippines alone, local and foreign films shown weekly are the scary types.
I would always remember what critic Nonoy Lauzon had said about the flood of horror films in the market especially in the millennium.
He thoughtfully underscored that the surge of these films had something to do with 9/11 when the world was always at the tip of a terror attack.
Genre films creeps would always make a box-office killing.
Supernaturalism, though, has always been around even way back to the fourteenth century when religion was a preoccupation.
Later it was adapted as an art movement, literature being one of its subscribers, and later found its employ in film as well.
One of the most popular literary pieces of the genre translated into the big screen is “The Legend of the Sleepy Hallow.”
In the home front, except for the modern take of the franchise “Shake, Rattle & Roll” on scream movies, “Gabi ng Lagim” is probably the most trailblazing Filipino film of the genre.
Meanwhile, Cherie Gil, known for her villainess portrayals, is very excited about her character in “Mana” as the heiress to the heirloom of the family matriarch, convincingly essayed by one of the doyens of Philippine musical theater, Fides Cuyugan-Asencio.
“I love portraying horror films. I have done them before with my mom Rosemarie Gil but being transformed to a dog this time is quite an amazing take.
“Gabby Fernandez did it very creatively. I am proud of the significance of my role,” exclaimed Cherie.
Shorts—Folk singer Freddie Aguilar has found his latest love conquest—a sixteen-year old girl too young to be his great granddaughter…Luis Manzano and Jennylyn Mercado have reportedly called it quits but no one is denying nor confirming…Controversial and intriguing Fil-Briton filmmaker Jowee Morel had to cancel the post-prod of a music video he directed when Viva Films required all its staff to watch the premiere night of Wenn Deramas’ “Bekikang Ang Nanay kong Beki” with Joey Paras on the title role…Robin Padilla stayed in The Netherlands for nine days to shoot “10,000 Hours,” a biopic of Panfilo Lacson, one of the country’s senators, with Bb. Joyce Bernal at the helm…Yvonne Benavidez, also known as Tita Mega C is celebrating her nth birthday today at home in Ayala Alabang with an acoustic band to provide music to her guests…Flamboyant entertainment reporter Chito P. Alcid’s remains were cremated after almost a week of funeral wake many of his friends and colleagues from the film and television community paid him their last respects like Susan Roces, Lorna Tolentino, Amalia Fuentes, Minda Morena, Carla Varga, Azenith Briones, Maria Isabel Lopez, Deborah Sun, Julie Ann Fortich, Maryo J. de los Reyes, Gloria Sevilla, Liberty Ilagan, Suzette Ranillo, movie writers Alice Vergara, Anthony Solis, Jayjay Espiritu, Arthur Quinto, Rudy de la Pena, Obette Serrano, Mona Patubo and Robert Silverio… Feisty talent manager Annabelle Rama was missed at Chito’s wake…KC Concepcion was an epitome of an inspired host at the 5th Star Awards for Music of the Philippine Movie Press Club and everyone was talking about how the glow in her face was brought about by her romance with National Basketball Association (NBA) star Chandler Parsons…Nora Aunor turned the table around when she served food and drinks to her adoring fans instead of them serving their idol when they organized a get-together in a chicken fast-food house in Cubao…2009 Palm d’Or Best Director Brillante Ma. Mendoza was a again a hit at the recent Hawaii International Film Festival when his movies “Thy Womb” and “Sapi” were shown in the prestigious event…Erik Matti out, Baltasar Kormakur in as director of “On The Job” when it is remade by Hollywood…Young actress Mara Lopez enjoyed her surfing a lot in Pangasinan’s waves…Singers and stage actors Roeder Camanag and Vince Tanada performed to the audience delight at the fund-raising for cancer-stricken award-winning screenwriter’s Frank G. Rivera.
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- The Aswang (whisperingdark.wordpress.com)
- “Aswang Ka” Festival 2013 portrays the horror of pork barrel scam in PH (ireport.cnn.com)
- Owls in Witchcraft: The Mexican Lechuza and the Tik-tik, Wak-wak or Aswang of the Philippines (traditionalwitchcraftandoccultism.wordpress.com)
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- Aswang Ka Festival! (ireport.cnn.com)
JUANDER LUGAW : A Little Business That Can Fly
By: Miriam Fabian
WHAT’S in a name? Apparently, a lot.
Juander Lugaw, the name of a small eatery serving lugaw (rice porridge) and “binaklot” (Ilocano for binalot) in San Pedro, Laguna, was inspired by a popular primetime series featuring a local superhero of the supernatural kind–Juan dela Cruz.
The proprietor of Juander Lugaw, Jose Ian Aguilar, admitted his fondness for superheroes, but his search for the right name for his shop proved to be challenging. First he thought of “Super Lugaw”, but after browsing the website of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), he was disappointed to find out that the name had already been taken. Then there was “Lugaw Juan”, but a quick internet search showed that it was already being used by another business.
Luckily for Aguilar, who is also a father of three, one afternoon, his children were watching Juan dela Cruz on television. Thus, “Juan dela Cruz” and a Filipinized reading of “Wonder” (one popular moniker for certain superheroes like Wonder Woman) were merged to come up with “Juander” while their byline was, “Lilipad ka sa sarap” (the taste will make you fly). #OpinYon #business #JuanderLugaw Miam Tan-Fabian
read cont | http://bit.ly/17QHuOZ
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AMBASSADOR JORGE DOMEQ : Selling Spain to the World
WITH over 300 years worth of shared history, it is fitting that Spanish Ambassador Jorge Domeq’s first Asian posting be here in the Philippines.
Born November 28, 1960, Domeq entered the Diplomatic Corps in 1985 serving in the Spanish Embassy in the NATO Council and Brazil. In 2004 he was appointed second in command at the Embassy of Spain in Morocco and in 2005 he held the post of deputy director general of the Bureau of Gibraltar. He began his official tour of duty here in the Philippines in March 2011 and—like a duck to water—easily felt at home with the Filipino culture and way of life.
Much like Filipinos, Domeq says Spaniards are a blending of rich cultures. #OpinYon#foreign #Spain
read cont | http://bit.ly/152GG8K
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Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Ivo Sieber: IN LOVE WITH THE PHILIPPINES
ABOUT 10,530 kilometers of land and ocean separate the Philippines from Switzerland. But in an instant, Filipinos can easily answer what comes to mind when they hear “Swiss”—the Swiss knife, chocolate, cheese, watch, and the Swiss Alps.
Many generations of Pinoys have been raised on products made by the Swiss food and beverage giant Nestle and treated for various ailments using Swiss-manufactured medicines.
Fact is, Switzerland has had official relations with the Philippines since 1862, when the Philippines was still a Spanish colony and most of our revolutionary heroes were still toddlers. The Swiss Consulate in the Philippines was the very first consulate in Asia and have maintained consular offices here until today.
Their man in Manila today is Ambassador Ivo Sieber. And, the Philippines is close to Sieber’s heart because he has been married for some 20 years now to Gracita—a beautiful Filipina with whom he has two teenaged girls. #OpinYon #Foreign #Swiss
read cont | http://bit.ly/14F88t2
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Indonesia Ambassador to the Philippines Yohanes Kristiarto Soeryo Legowo: A MAN AHEAD OF HIS TIME
DIPLOMATS are—usually—strict about time. When they don’t arrive in time for their appointments, they come early.
This is literally the case of Yohanes Kristiarto Soeryo Legowo, Indonesia’s Ambassador to the Philippines. Born on the 27th of December in 1962, about a week earlier than his mother’s due date, you could say that it is in his providence to become an ambassador.
Known as Kris to fellow diplomats, friends and associates—his arrival to the family came as a big relief (hence the name Legowo—meaning “big relief” in Javanese). His mother fainted and fell while in church two days before he was born and the accident required stitches on her neck and triggered the contractions.
The youngest in a brood of 10, Legowo became the hands-down favorite in the family.
“I could not deny that everybody was always trying to spoil me.… But doesn’t make me a spoiled child,” Legowo said in a magazine interview last year. But while he has had his share of being pinched in the ear for being naughty, he admitted that he did not really enjoy the overprotectiveness of his parents, brothers and sisters. “But in the end, I put it in a very positive perspective. They did it because they love me,” he said.
His father, Soeryo, was a teacher who imparted to them the value of education. So despite the bouts of teenage rebellion and other misbehaviors—Legowo grew up a decent young man.
“All the values of life I learned it from the family. My father taught us how to pursue dream,” Kris said. “But he always emphasized also that the way we pursue our dream is also important…being Christian, process is very important.” #OpinYon#Indonesia #Foreign
cont | http://bit.ly/17IqauD
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- Indonesia from two perspectives (matadornetwork.com)