Friday, January 28, 2005


the wind kisses the skin
for the earth prince to dream
with eyes open

The lines from a haiku I wrote one stormy night reveals the power of the wind to teach us a lesson.

The wind kisses us in many ways but its most enduring kiss is the one that’s carried through the airwaves: MUSIC.
Wind Kiss was the title I gave to a concert that featured a young violinist. Calling her performance a kiss was perfect as the classic gentleness of her music went so deep into the senses. It’s the classical and the jazzy that truly feels like a kiss. And we had so much of this classic touch of the wind in 2004. (Thank God, it wasn’t totally lorded over by Britney!)
I discovered the impact of these 2004 wind kisses not from an FM radio or MTV Top 10 but from the bathrooms in student dormitories and in boarding houses. Most memorable are the Nora Jones hits introduced to me by Saree of Sampaguita Hall.
Nora Jones, chosen by Time Magazine as the most influential artist of 2003, brought back the coolness of fresh sounding songs. My favorite Don’t Know Why seems to keep getting better and better each time I listen to it. She sings: “ My heart is drenched in wine but you’ll be on my mind forever….” I wasn’t surprised then when, from among her many songs, Don’t Know Why was given the Grammy for technical arrangement.
The No. 2 wind kiss for me is the music of Josh Groban. His The Prayer, which is performed in almost all Invocations in school programs, dominates all else. But it wasn’t actually this song that grabbed my attention but Groban’s version of Don MacLean’s Vincent.
Vincent brings to life the story of my favorite Impressionist Van Gogh, made more intense like a solid brushstroke with Groban’s classic style.
And when happen to pass by as my friend Giovanni sings Vincent, it’s like listening to Groban performing live.
Among all of Groban’s songs, I have memorized Aléjate simply for its sentimental flow – never mind that the lyrics sounded strange at first. I became prouder of my choice when I learned that this Spanish song is the favorite of the cool Dr. Mervyn Misajon and his son Joshua. And when the former Silliman University President admitted that he did not understand any line in the lyrics, I excitedly translated at least for him the chorus for him:
Aléjate, no puedo más
Ya no hay manera de volver el tiempo atrás….
Olvídate de mí
Y déjame seguir a solas con mi soledad
Aléjate, ya dime adios
Y me resignaré a seguir sin tu calor
Y jamás entederé que fue lo que pasó
Si nada puedo hacer, aléjate

Go away, I can’t bear it anymore
There is no way to go back in time
Forget about me
And let me go on alone with my solitude
Go away, go on and tell me goodbye
And I will resign myself to go on without your love
And I will never understand what happened
If there's nothing I can do, go away

Jazz is almost an ‘endangered’ music tradition to the Britney Spears generation, until I had this kiss from Diana Krall. From a website, I learned that it was on June 29, last year that the Grammy award-winning superstar Krall gave a career-defining performance to over 15,000 fans at the 25th Annual Montreal Jazz Festival.
Her ‘presence’ in our University Town was confirmed when a dormitory sophomore beauty Gaily sang the 1977 hit Just the Way You Are with a jazz beat. I asked who’s version she was she singing since I remember Billy Joel singing it. And that’s when Gaily told me that it’s Diana Krall’s, from the soundtrack of the film The Guru.

My wind kiss music defines a sharp contrast from the favorites of my secret bodega friend Jaja – rock. Listen to Incubus’ Pardon Me with the usual explosive lyrics:

Pardon me while I burstA decade ago, I never thought I would be.A twenty three on the verge of spontaneous combustion
Woe is meBut I guess that it comes with the territory.An ominous landscape of never-ending calamity.

and Bamboo’s Mr. Clay …
So now you got the fires rockinBlood and hateThen you got the people talkingLegacyYou will never be forgottenYour place in historyA black mark in timeA black mark in time

JONES, GROBAN & KRALL. made waves in 2004 even without the scream of INCUBUS or the noise of BAMBOO. Their offering of the intelligence of jazz and the coolness of the classics will definitely conquer 2005… and even beyond.

It’s peace with a wind kiss!

NO “danger zone” for the SU BAND

ZAMBOANGA CITY – It was so hard to give a “yes” to City’s invitation for the Silliman University Concert Band to be part of its Fiesta Pilar celebration last year. The main opposition came from parents of the student band members who thought of Zamboanga as “danger zone.”
This school year, the Silliman alumni groups of the entire Zamboanga peninsula once again invited the SU Concert Band to embark on a concert tour. Ipil, the town that made headlines years back with its historic bloody terrorist attack at its business district, initiated preparations for the concert. After getting the ‘go’ signal from the military, we managed to assure the band members that everything would be smooth and peaceful.
As the SU Band’s impresario, I could say that indeed, the entire concert tour from from Dapitan to Zamboanga City in the big island of Mindanao in southern Philippines was smooth and peaceful.
A Peace & Goodwill Tour of the SU Concert Band on October 18 to the Zamboanga Peninsula capped the first semester of this school year. It was a mission guided by a great promise in Joshua 1:9, to be “…confident and be of good courage for the Lord, your God, will be with you wherever you go….”
Our first stop was in Dapitan City, where we were ushered to Jose Rizal Memorial State College, whose president is our very own Dr. Henry Sojor, also president of the new Negros Oriental State University. Dr. Sojor’s staff showed us Dapitan’s hospitality and served as our “home away from home.”
The dynamic secretary of JRM State College Board of Trustees, Chalee Camazo, served as anchor host for the Sillimanians in the area. Another Sillimanian, Elena Abad of the local tourism office, helped mount the first performance at the City’s gymnasium.
Local high school girls were screaming with delight over the good-looking gentlemen of the SU concert Band’s jazz section. Before we left Dapitan, the ladies made sure they got the cellphone numbers and Friendster accounts of student-musicians Mark Beevers and Jude Lozada.
Day after concert night, I saw many school children imitating the vigoruos hand movements of Maestro Joseph Basa, the SU Concert band’s director. The kids loved the soundtrack themes from great movies like Superman, Starwars and Mission Impossible.
The legacy of great music and sweet memories came with a touch of history as we took time to visit the old Church’s “Mindanao Map” made by the national hero Jose Rizal, and the famous Rizal Shrine that was filled with tranquility. After the Dapitan tour, Elena assured us with a prayer that we would be safe.
Dipolog City was our next stop. United Church of Christ in the Philippines Bishop Hilario Gomez, Outstanding Sillimanian in the field of Peace Advocacy, was there to keep the preparations moving. He officially declared the event as a “Concert for Peace” when he opened the performance with a prayer.
From the marches to the classical, to Philippine folksongs to the modern ballroom music, these were always capped by a thunderous applause from the audience who simply knew how to show their appreciation..
The town of Polanco in Zamboanga del Norte brought back scenes of Valencia with its huge shady trees and a nice green park fronting the church. The Singles for Christ there, as coordinated by Mrs. Jovita Ocupe, easily got the support of the parish. The men in the Silliman Band were housed at the convent, while the ladies were housed at the hilltop home of Mrs. Ocupe. The whole town was excited about the concert. Afterall, it was going to feature their favorite son, Ian Encarnacion, not only as instrumentalist but also as a vocal soloist.
And true enough, Ian brought the house down when he performed his Yoyoy Villame numbers.
If the townsfolk from other places were impressed by the performance of the SU Concert Band, the student-musicians were also impressed by the sense of organization over at Sindangan town. From the time of our arrival until the concert night, everything had the personalized hands-on leadership of Atty. Alanixon Selda, a crew member of the Luce Auditorium in his student days. Even with the limited technical features, the Sindangan National Agricutural School gym turned out to be a good venue for the largest gathering of people in this concert tour.
The lively audience was composed mostly of students from the various schools in Sindangan who would vigorously stomp their feet or sway with the music, and clap after each number to express their fun and enjoyment. Young as they were, they seemed to enjoy most the rock n’ roll medley.

For our musical performances in the towns of Labason and Liloy, the former Miss Young Dumaguete and Miss Silliman first runner-up Sandee Lim, with husband Benju Palanas were concert coordinators.
The organizers told me they considered concert like these as “cultural exposure.” Yolly Galicia, one of the hosts, expressed hope that they get other chances to sponsor such “very educational concert” for the local people. Mrs. Jean Lim said she was simply delighted that the audience loved even the classical set that included the Magic of Mozart. Former Congressman Angel Carloto expressed gratitude that the music of his time was alive once again and performed by very young Silliman performing artists. For him, it was an evening of nostalgia.
The fiesta in Titay had one great feature: the Silliman Band Concert was dubbed as the “Grandeur in Music.”
Councilor Ronnie Castillo, who as student played the trumpet for the SU Band, was the prime mover of the event. Again, the Singles for Christ were highly supportive--. from the stage design, to the jampacked audience. Among them, Silliman alumni came in almost full force-- and in red Silliman shirts. Our concert stop at Titay was indeed grand with the warmth and hospitality of town fiestas.
Technically, the best sound system and lighting for the concert tour was in Ipil. The magic of the municipality’s leaders, Eleanor Funda-Sardual and her daughter Ceejay led to a free concert.
The Band members were billeted at Roderic’s Resort, a natural beauty by a creek, enjoyed the partaking of the various sumptuous tasty cuisine at Montebello, and sampled the busy slice of Ipil nightlife at the Underground, their version of El Camino.
Ipil Mayor Rey Olegario, a Silliman alumnus, and his family made sure that the Silliman student- musicians would remember Ipil as the place where they had a great time! The Underground gave the Sillimanians a colorful evening reception after the successful concert. In addition, Zamboanga Sibugay Congresswoman Belma Cabilao, also a Sillimanian, gave the SU Band a love gift.
Our final stop, Zamboanga City was done with so much elegance. It was a blast! From the alumni usherettes in full gowns, to the SkyCable coverage at Marcian Garden Hotel, we were pleasantly surprised.
Zamboanga City Mayor Loreto Lobregat sat through the final set of the concert, and his mere presence surely made a lot of difference
Silliman alumna Myrna Cabato, dean of tthe College of Nursing of the Western Mindanao State University, led her fellow alumni in the production of this memorable night of music. Alumni president Willie Espinosa successfully paved the way for the Silliman Band to conquer Zamboanga.
In the words of the Silliman Alumni Affairs Director Prof. Jocelyn Somoza de la Cruz, “it was a successful mission of sharing the gift of peace and goodwill through music.”
It was an inspiring story of a place and its people who had so much peace to share. Like the music we shared, Zamboanga peninsula was indeed a beautiful and peaceful haven.

by: Moses Joshua B. Atega
Published on October 31, 2004


"At the end of each rainbow, so the saying goes, is a pot of gold. As a woman of the earth, what else would you rather find at the end of the rainbow?"

That was the final question in last year’s Miss Earth. It’s one of my favorites for beauty pageants final questions. My list includes the “the essence of a woman” fame of Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen of India.
With the Miss Earth 2003, the final answers didn’t actually matter much as the ladies gave sensible replies: “I’d rather find God and to give love to people,” “ world peace”; another went Biblical: “I’d rather find that Adam never ate the forbidden fruit so we all would be living in Paradise still”; the simplest answer: “ to find clean waters”; and the unexpected answer: “ I’d rather find nothing more than the pot of gold, for with I, I will have everything.”
The judges made their decision and the one who mentioned “God” eventually won. But really, it wasn’t her answer that made her the winner. It was more of her regal stage presence in white gown -- as she shared her wisdom –that won her the crown. She was every inch a queen. And everyone was happy with the choice for after all, the final answers were all in pageant-flavored standard lines and kind of roundabout.
The 2004 Miss Dumaguete final question moment was somewhat similar to the Miss
Earth 2003 climax. Sandurot Fiesta Chairperson Glynda Descuatan read the question: “Dumaguete as a Student City has done a lot of things to entice visitors to come. What do you think should be done to make these visitors stay longer?”

The question may sound easy but when one is under pressure, I think it’s hard to crack a witty response that calls for a “doable idea.” Afterall, it was a serious question, not a
simple trivia. And for that, I salute all the Top 3 finalists as they managed to think on their feet and speak so spontaneously.

Louella Dawn D. Chiu of Dumaguete Science High School enumerated
three points to ensure the visitors’ longer stay: sustain the “gentle people” stature, continue to offer quality education; and maintain the tranquility. The audience gave
thunderous applause. She had the best answer that night, which redeemed her beating-around-the-bush answer in the semi-finals.

Miss Foundation University Naddie May Kadusale Orillana answered with the phrase “quality education.” And added, “That’s it!” to signal the host that it was her final answer.

Josephine Karen Carlia M. Milio of Silliman University also had “quality education” as the only focus and took time to mention the four universities. In trying to recall the names of the schools, there was this uncomfortable gap, drowned by the audience’ reaction of surprise. She finally managed to end her reply with an emphasis on the “need for quality education.”

With Naddie’s brief answer, she was moved farther from the crown, giving Louella a step closer to the final glory as first runner-up.
The crown eventually went to the one who was leading in the semi-final round with the Best in Interview award, and a harvest of all the ramp fashion awards. Josie, who looked stunning in Silliman red gown, made the final march to victory as Miss Dumaguete 2004.

Clearly that evening, her answer to the final question was overshadowed by her physical presence that simply mesmerized almost everyone!

If we were to ask our Dumaguete visitors what would have been the best answer, I’m sure it wouldn’t be so much the offering of quality education “since it’s already being done, and in fact, taken for granted that it’s happening.

Neither would the “gentleness of the people” make the visitors stay in Dumaguete longer since it’s common occurrence here, and therefore, ordinary.

Maybe the visitors to Dumaguete would stay longer if air pollution problem in the City could be checked and managed, especially that which is caused by exhaust from the growing number of pedicabs. Many foreign residents have actually expressed concern over the culprit.

They would also stay longer if local government officials demonstrate better senses in not sacrificing their sense of history and their fervor for the cause of the environment for the sake of their own version of “generic” progress: reclamation and “eco-tourism” projects.

Visitors to Dumaguete would also extend their stay if our local police were more vigilant so that crime cases are solved immediately. We regret the case of Jonathan Marie Aguilar Sibala, a 23-year old balikbayan nurse from California, who stabbed by young men last week. Jonathan came to visit Dumaguete to celebrate the centennial of St. Paul University. He saw many things beautiful, and decided to extend his stay to celebrate the Sandurot fiesta with relatives here.

But the joyful homecoming ended with a painful twist of fate. His violent ending just gave this “City of Gentle People” a bad image in the Filipino-American community in the US. I can’t blame them if prospective visitors will be paranoid towards Dumaguete henceforth.

So you see, answering the seemingly-simple question was no easy task. It required a doable, relevant idea.

The final question in the recent Miss Dumaguete beauty pageant is still crying out for more concrete answers not necessarily from the beauty queens parading on stage, but more importantly from those in active public service.

Josie, Miss DumagueteJosephine Karen Carlia M. Milio,in white, of Silliman University

November 27, 2004
SCHOOL PIE by Moses Joshua B. Atega
Published in METROPOST