Thursday, May 29, 2008

An Icon leaves so that he can live forever

Many young people do not know what music was like during the late 60's to the 70's. Well, I spent my teen-aged years during the 70's and I know that we were following a trend handed to us by the 60's "rock and roll" generation of those Elvis Presley wanna-be's, The Ventures, Fab Four and all that. What I meant to say was that while I was growing up, learning how to play the guitar, what we would do was copy foreign songs note for note, find a singer who sounded like the original, either from the US or the UK, and sound like we were the ones who invented the thing. In other words, we were mere copycats. You could just imagine how many Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Grandfunk and Steppenwolfe records we had to break just to learn the songs. Every long-haired teen-ager at the time had seen Woodstock, the movie, and sang to the tunes of the "Ten Years After", CSNY, and Jimi Hendrix fanstasizing that we were them. The closest you sound like the original, the better.

Then came Howlin' Dave and DzRJ! He spearheaded the Pinoy Rock and Rhythm together with bands like "Juan dela Cruz band", Resty Fabunan's "Maria Cafra" or Edmund Fortuno's "Anak Bayan" and people began composing their own songs. Soon enough, as rock is not the cup of tea of everyone, the OPM, which was more palatable to the romantic pinoy came into the picture.

However, this post is not about music. It is about a man who brought class to pinoy music the way it should be. Before him, musicians never stood a chance to compete with foreign songs. Now, the young generation listens to them as much as they would listen to those coming from abroad. Let's just say, he started it all.

This is about a man whose dedication to music is beyond compare. He was not just a regular rock jock. Aside from the beautiful music he shared, he always had something to offer his audience - an information or two about the artists, the songs and everything that would arouse our interests. He made pinoy music happen. He talked and we listened.

I just woke up in my room at a Don Bosco retreat house in Nasugbu last Tuesday after a tiring but fun-filled, values-laden session with Fr. Gerry when I read online friend, Gilbert's text message of Howlin' Dave's passing. From then on, varied images of him came to mind. A long-haired idealist singing Neil Young's "Birds" in a concert, my former students who are now radio jockeys whom I met in a concert working with him and praisinig him for his art and expertise, and lastly, him carrying a crutch to help him walk on Batjay's book launching, shaking hands with friends came to mind. Then, it dawned on me, he's gone.

Not only will he be missed by his family, especially by his brother, my friend Batjay, but the whole rock industry which he created and spearheaded till the end. His booming but gentle voice heard over the airwaves might be no more, but it will echo everytime I hear a new, decent rock band debuting on the radio knowing that this could be the start of something big. He was the closest I have ever gotten to a true icon. I shall content myself that I have shaken the hands of his brother, saw his family and was at least privy to what it's like to be growing up with him through his brother's memoirs. My condolences to his loved ones and to those whose lives he has touched throughout the years.

I know my post cannot give justice to a man as big as Howlin' Dave so I am attaching articles written about him here:

Eric Caruncho's The last of the singing cowboys

Pocholo Concepcion's Howlin’ Dave, Filipino rock icon, dies at 52

Rome Jorge's A cry for Howlin' Dave

Friday, May 23, 2008


Several days after my return from S. Korea, I was on the road again, this time with my wife and four more other couples who have been friends with us for years. We used to go out with the children a lot. They all grew up together going to places from way up north to Ilocos and Cagayan Valley to as far down south as Marinduque. However, this year, the children, theirs and ours have grown and so we all decided that we could use the break from parenting and enjoy a trip just on our own.

We took a three-day rest at Casa Ophelia owned by one of the friends' brother-in-law. It was his Taj Mahal for his wife Ophie, a resort of three swimming pools with fantastic slides, cottages and rooms. As we decided on a night trip, the ten-hour trip was bearable if it could not be called comfortable.

On arrival, we were served breakfast after we have unpacked,then took about a two to three hour nap. I decided to paint the nearby stream and the rock formations using watercolor. We all swam in the afternoon. In the evening, the guys played cards. As we were used to playing Texas Hold 'em, one of the players suggested we played Hi-Lo and we enjoyed it very much.

The following day, we went to check out the wakeboarding at Cam Sur. Unfortunately, the cables were being fixed so we failed to experience the sport. We then went to Naga City proper to check out the mall and guess what? I found a treasure! I was waiting for Nitz browsing on a small bookstore and found a thick, hardbound copy of Stephen King's "It", which sells for Php190.00. I immediately bought it thinking it will never happen again for me to find something like this.

We were joined for lunch by resort owner, Roger, who just flew in from Manila. We went shopping and then heard mass at the church where the Lady of Pe├▒afrancia stays.

We had to leave very early the following morning as Nitz and I still have to attend my brother-in-law's wife's 60th birthday which was to be held at Antipolo. Suffice it to say that I was too tired already when we got there. But the kids had fun being with their cousins and honoring their aunt.


Now that school is about to open, the teachers are way over their heads preparing for the coming of the kids. We have to listen to different speakers during seminars, revising our syllabi, bulletin boards. This year, as I am assigned as a classroom adviser, I will have to add decorating a classroom to the list. A week more to go and we will be at the warfront once more. :-)


After a short hiatus, the blogkadahan site is running again. Spearheaded by the resident physician Doc Emer, members of Blogkadahan and invited guests will answer the Proust questions, a personality test designed by French writer Marcel Proust. Follow the llnk and see for yourselves what and how your regular blogger thinks. See you there!


As promised, here are some pictures from my Korea trip.

Together with friends

At the dock waiting for the boat to take us to Nami Island

Chicken BBQ at Nami Island

hotel facade

at the hotel lobby

With my boss

The Korean connection

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Of Parks and Kims and silver chopsticks

I'm back from a three-day exploration of South Korea! I have many unusual experiences that started, would you believe, at the NAIA like as if I was flying for the first time! What happened was after inspections at the immigration officer, I wore my shoes back putting my passport together with my boarding pass at a nearby chair. Unfortunately, I didn't notice that my boarding pass slipped from my passport upon retrieval. I was very hungry as I haven't had lunch yet so I immediately went to buy some food. It was there when I noticed that my boarding pass was missing. Then I heard my name being paged directing me to a place I could not recall anymore. I went back and two ladies approached me and told me they found my boarding pass which they surrendered to the airport police. When I rejoined my group, they were all laughing saying that my name was being announced. How do you respond to that? I told them I handed my boarding pass to the police for safekeeping first. Gave them a thousand each.

We arrived at Incheon airport around midnight. I couldn't find my luggage. As I used the luggage my daughter borrowed from her cousin which she used in their HK trip, I remembered the ribbon to be on the bluishh side and very slim. It was the wee hours of the morning when my children arrived and my wife immediately replaced my things with theirs in the bag. When the conveyor belt had taken about the fifth turn, I took the bag that resembled mine and tried to look at the name on the tag. You see, my niece's name is Rona and my wife's maiden name. When I read the tag, it says, Rowena Rona but no family name. I put it back and let it go. Several more rounds on the conveyor belt and it was the only one left. I took it again and recognized my padlock. Checked the name again and the address on it and realized it was indeed my luggage. And to think it had been there since the time we arrived.

It was very cold when we arrived. It's spring right now in Korea and temperature can go as low as 11 degrees to 23C. As my jacket was inside my luggage, I had to be contented with putting my hands inside my pockets to keep me warm. We had a bulgogi dinner consisting of beef, clear noodles cooked in soup and other flavors, rice, side dishes and kimchi. Wow! authentic kimchi! The thrill over eating kimchi will soon be gone after having to eat it with every meal everyday. Lol!

It would be wasting your time to narrate what a wonderful time I had during the tour for that is a given. Suffice it to say that we stayed at the Biwon Hotel in Seoul. Instead, I shall give you my impression of South Korea in the three days that I spent there. My biggest impression is that Korea is as efficient as any well-developed country there is. Their systems work well together with how they have adapted technology without forgetting their rich culture. I have seen how proud they are of their ethnic traditions and many more.

If there is one similarity we have with the Koreans, it would be that our countries have been colonized by Japan. They had been oppressed a thousand fold by the Japanese, having been a colony for thirty or so years, and experienced a civil war thereafter that divided their nation into two. And yet, they are more progressive than us in many ways. While I envy the cold climate they have during the short time that I was there, I envy the developments they have made over the years more. I know my observations may be far off from what Korea truly is for I have only been there for only three days. But in the three days that I spent, I nver saw lazy men just hanging around at a corner store making nonsense talk like how they had been bummed out the previous night, or would you see idle land that is not made into a garden of vegetables or flowers. I have been to theme parks that teemed with a lot of people and yet, you do not find garbage like you do in people's park in Tagaytay, for example. Their toilets are well maintained, with soap and tissues around and I am not talking about tourist spots but ordinary public toilets. They practice garbage segregation, street food is clean and the people are very disciplined. They are very industrious working very hard which they inculcate to their young at a very early age.

Giuen more time to stay in that country, I know my impression may change. Who knows? In the meantime, this will be my idea of what Korea is. That if there is something we can learn from them, it will be to love our own country, take pride with who we are, work hard and aspire for a better nation. That the system in Korea is effective and very efficient because the people willed it to be so. They all participate in making their system work and it did.

Note: More pictures coming soon. Unfortunately, my digital camera decided to go bonkers and I have to rely on friends. Besides, my wife and I will be going to Bicol with friends and will be staying there till Sunday. This will be my last hurrah for this year. I start reporting back for work on Monday.

Friday, May 09, 2008

My turn

I picked-up my kids from the airport last night. No, make that this morning as we arrived home at 2 am. I, together with BIL, whose wife and children Kenken and Jan were with them in this trip, left the hosue at around 9 pm as we planned to go to a spa near the airport. It was very relaxing although I think we were the only Filipinos there as the clients we were with were Koreans. It was a tiring day as I had to attend a nude sketching session with friends, Omi, Buds, The model was a guy, alright? I didn't get to sketch and just watched with Omi's wife Tutit as I forgot to bring my materials. Omi offered to lend me his but I declined knowing he'd be doing more than one sketch. They were beautiful, mind you.

Just as when BIL and I were having a light merienda, his phone rang and we knew it was time to pick them up. It was 12:30 am. Well, the guys haven't had dinner yet and so we had to go to a restaurant to eat. I slept an hour later as I had to pack my suitcase. Today, I leave for South Korea for a four-day tour. The credit coop in school offered this tour, just as it did with my Thailand tour last year. It's a neat package payable in one year so I figured why not grab the opportunity, right? I may be too old and too weak before I can travel and that is no fun. For those of you who may be wondering, I had urged the wifey to come but she wanted to go to Australia and visit a friend instead. Too bad, it did not push through. I could have gone with her there. :-)

Jon since we will be using Cebu-Pacific, let's see if we're going to be bumped -off, too. Hah! I can use a free round trip ticket to Palawan myself, hehehe.

So, if I don't get to respond or comment in your blog, it's not because I had been idle again, okay?

As Heidi Klum would say, auf wiedershenne for now.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Getting bumped off a flight - good or bad?

It's so quiet in the house today. The kids have all gone on vacation to Hong Kong for some bonding time on their own without any of their parents. Let's see how they fare. It started as a gift to Kim for her debut in lieu of a birthday party (smart thinking, if you ask me) but as she was a first time traveler, we asked her sister who have been there twice to accompany her. As it turned out, her brothers wanted to join. So, they all tried to save their dough for their own pocket money. The aunt learned about it, joined in with her two boys and voila! Instant vacation for the guys. How lucky. The farthest I've been to when I was their age was Cabanatuan. hehehe

Anyway, I took them to the airport yesterday at around 5:30 am as their flight was scheduled to depart at 8:00 am. While I was answering emails, I got a call from my brother-in-law that they were not able to ride the plane. They were told that it was overbooked. Overbooked my a**! My wife had even confirmed their flights days before. It's either someone in CebuPacific messed up big time or they were bumped off by some VIP's. The good thing is that the guys were offered another ticket either to HK or any local destination. They opted for Palawan since they have already been to HK. Besides, Palawan is far more cheaper. (Good thinking again)

My youngest, ever the whiner, kept on complaining that he was only given one viand during lunch. hahaha, kawawang bunso. Ginutom ng airlines.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Coming full circle

Pura Vida

Last April 30, the family joined friends for an overnight stay at Pura Vida in Tagaytay. The place is just right for a group of ten people living comfortably in its three bedrooms at the second floor and a huge one at the third floor. With three toilets and baths, one does not need to rush doing his/her morning routines and whatever business one has to do. It also has all the other amenities of a well-furnished house with an efficient kitchen, cable tv sets in all the rooms, a living room with comfortable sofas and a dining room elegantly prepared as one enters. As there had been twelve adults, we had to pay extra but since each of us are sharing, the rent was affordable.

Ollie and Kathy, Lito and Thelma, Me and wifey, and Edgar and Vivian

Together with my family were old time friends Ollie and wife Kathy with their child Kathleen, Edgar and Vivian with their children Demi, Rex and Brian and Wat. We have been touring Luzon since the turn of the century and we have gone to places where we could not have gone to for the expenses can be horrendously high. New to the group were husband and wife Lito and Thelma who just arrived from Qatar for a month-long vacation.

There was a downside of this trip. Our eldest couldn't come with us as she had to work. What I feared most is happening now. Reality has kicked in. Soon, these children will be off finding their own niches, building a family of their own and my wife and I will be back to having just ourselves to look for. With my youngest about to graduate high school this coming school year, the thought of having our children leave the nest is eminent. When that time has come, then we would have come in full circle.

Soon to graduate parents

I don't know if I should rejoice having been successful as a parent (which we have been aiming for throughtout these years) or should I be lonely that the babies we used to cuddle in our arms, nurture with love and worked hard for just so they can have a good education have left us. I should be contented in the thought that our purpose of bringing these children to the world to be good people have turned come into fruition and that our purpose in this world has been fulfilled. Time well spent is time worth remembering by.

There's a Red House over Yonder

Taken by the paparazzi from the backdoor

Thelma and Vivian