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Friday, June 07, 2013

Look Ma, They're singing my song!

I have never missed my mom more than today when they performed the song  I wrote for this year's retirees.  These retirees have been working for our organization with an average of 25 years altogether.  One of them has served for 41 years even.  Talk about commitment.

Marites Panaligan, who did the music and with whom I have already written two songs earlier, just by sheer magic, once again read my mind and wrote the melody just like the way I wanted it written.  After we had composed the song, we talked about selecting who to sing the song and we were unanimous in choosing another music teacher, Ms. Marce Flores, who sings with passion and intense emotion, to sing the song.

Anyway, the reason I miss my mom is because the song is written in her genre.  Yes, she sang kundimans, a type of Filipino love song which is more like a serenade. My mother used to sing with my aunt in a radio show (that was way before the tv was invented) and would probably even sing songs my grandfather wrote (he was a judge, a violinist and a composer although I have yet to see a single song that survived.  My grandfather died when my grandmother was carrying my mother in her womb). 

Anyway, hoping that I could keep a copy of the performance, I am posting it here.  And here it goes:
my song

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Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Painting and other things

Once again, school is about to start.  I  have been going to school regularly since last week for the new teachers pre-service training.  I even hosted one of the sessions with the new teachers.  It has been a tight schedule ever since.

I have started taking up Chinese painting with Mr. Ceasar Cheng who holds classes at the 4th floor every Saturdays at the Fully Booked in Taguig.  It is a wonderful experience and I am beginning to paint in a different style which is more spontaneous but clear and impressionistic way.

My thinking is that Chinese painting would liberate my inhibitions with paint, especially, with watercolor,  which to my observation of the masters like Alvaro Castagnet, is more impressionistic than anything else.  I have always been bound to fuzz on too much detail when doing watercolor and I don't like what I have been doing with the medium so far.  With Chinese painting, I become more loose with the medium and hopefully, would see things more in a painterly way.  Should I learn to do what I have set out to do, I would probably have the guts to join my former classmate, Buds Convocar, and his group the Philippine Plein Air Painters Association, who meets every last Sunday of the month for a painting session.

I have been painting in oil more frequently now.  While I am still developing my style, I think I am making progress towards that goal of perfecting my art.  I have now incorporated detailed hand(s) on my work and probably a face to suggest the importance of these two functions in our lives.  I still do not know where this will take me but I am going ahead with this plan.  I kind of like what I am seeing so far.  Given a few more months, I will master a technique and develop my own style.

I have also written my third song which I collaborated with Ms. Tess Panaligan who did the music and the arrangement of the song.  This song is for the retirees this year. In my mind, I would like to peek into the minds of those who are about to retire.  What would it be like when after a long period of time, suddenly, everything shall stop?  Will it be a sad event knowing that you will be stepping for the last time on the grounds of the institution you have learned to love? Will it be a sad moment knowing that you will be set apart from your friends? Your friends who have shared your glories in the past and those who have witnessed you at your most vulnerable moment?  Or will it be a joyous occasion knowing that it will be a cessation of a seemingly invisible bondage?

My idea of the song is that to an outsider, retirement would seem like an end.   Using the usual imagery of dusk and dawn to signify renewal and death, I opined that no matter what time of day, they share the same face.  It will be upon those that perceive the fading out or fading in of  the sun to make what they think of the spectacular view of either sunrise or sunset.  The song goes like this:

Paalam muna mga kaibigan
ang sabi mo'y takip silim
ang tingin ko'y bukang-liwayway
habang puso ko’y naninimdim
sumusukong pakaway-kaway

oo nga't ako’y palisan na
at kayo nama'y paroon pa
malayo pa ang dapit hapon
ng aking buhay na sinisinta

di pa’ko titingin sa mga bituin
habol sa aninong likha ng dilim
nais kong inyong pakaisipin
meron pang talang pwede kong abutin

 masdan nyo’t iisa ang mukha
ng dapit hapon at  madaling araw
di ba’t pareho lang agaw dilim?
pahupa man o sisilay pa lamang
ang araw ay muling isisilang
tulad kong hihiwalay sa kadiliman

oo nga’t heto na’t dumating
at umiba na ng tutunguhin
sana nama’y di malimutan
halakhak, luha na aking iiwan

Paalam muna mga kaibigan
Maliit lang ang mundong ginagalawan
Pasasaan ba’t tayo’y magkikita
Kung hindi man dito  o ngayon
Maaaring bukas sa dako pa roon.

For those who do not speak Tagalog like my American friends, I did a very loose translation and it goes like this: 

So long for now my friend

You say sunset
I see sunrise
My heart is crestfallen
As I wave goodbye

Though I am leaving soon
And you’re still finding your way
Twilight is still a distance away
In my seemingly exhausted life

I won’t be staring at the moon just yet,
Running after shadows created by its glow
All I ask from you is remember
There's a star I still have yet to reach

Notice that dawn and dusk
Share the same face
They both exude partial darkness.
Whether the sun is setting
Or is just about to take a peek
The sun shall be born again
Just like me who shall rise  from the dark

I know the time has come
For me to change my course
I hope you won’t forget
Laughter and tears I shall leave behind

Farewell for now my friends
We live in such a small world
I know we shall meet again
If not here or now
Maybe tomorrow in a faraway land

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Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.

Taken by my friend Arlene Lawson in her room at Century Park Sheraton in May, 2000.
Posted by Hello
Location: Bambang, Pasig City, Philippines

Jack of all trade, master of none. First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.

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