Category: Culture

Book Review

Book Review: 7 Reasons Why Filipinos Will Change the World

If you’re Filipino, chances are you’ve been inundated by exasperating news about the current state of affairs in the country in the past year. In October, I was so frustrated that I resolved to write about what aspects of being Filipino I still take pride in. I have to admit that I found the exercise too difficult.
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Persian Melodies: The Traditional Music Of Iran (Free Concert at UP Asian Center)

The UP Asian Center will be hosting a free concert, Persian Melodies: The Traditional Music of Iran on 7 February 2017, 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., GT-Toyota Asian Center Auditorium, UP Asian Center. The concert is open to the public, but seating is first-come, first-served.

Persian Melodies: The Traditional Music Of Iran at UP Asian Center

About the Concert

The concert will feature performances of traditional Iranian music, which is generally performed by small groups that typically consist of a vocalist and (an) instrumentalist(s) for the rhythm and melody.

“We are happy to bring the venerable musical culture of Iran to UP,” says Dr. Henelito Sevilla of the UP Asian Center, who obtained his Ph.D. in International Relations at the University of Tehran. “This is a rare opportunity to discover a rich musical tradition from the Western side of Asia. The concert offers a great educational and cultural experience, helping Filipinos, especially musicians and music lovers, recognize the similarities and differences between Iranian and Philippine musical traditions.”

The vocalist of the group, Chavous, will sing traditional Persian melodies accompanied by several native instruments such as tar, setar, nay, dulcimer, and daf. Chavous is a five-member musical group led by Reza Gholamhosseinpour. The members include Sajjad Dabestan Pour, vocals and dulcimer; Morteza Ghanbar Nasab Behbahani, flute; Abdolhamid Sarvarizadeh, setar and tombak; and Hamed Zamanian.

About the Organizer

This free concert is organized by the UP Asian Center, The Cultural Center, Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Philippine-Iran Cultural and Scientific Society (PICCS). Sign up today and be part of this event! For inquiries, email

This post originally appeared on the UP Asian Center website. Minor revisions were made.

metropolitan theater

The MET Comes Alive with the NORDLYS / P-NOiSE Contemporary Performance

Last Saturday, my friend Vin asked me to watch a performance at the Manila Metropolitan Theater, or what is more popularly known as the Met. I was beside myself with delight when I heard that there was going to be a performance at the Met. Never mind that I’m not really a fan of modern dance or performance art; it was THE Met! It’s part of my favorite spots in Manila, and I know that this opportunity doesn’t come often.

The Metropolitan Theater

It was dream-like not only to step inside the partially restored theater, but also to actually watch a live performance here, just as my mother did when she was younger. Thanks to the National Commission on Culture and the Arts’ (NCCA) efforts to restore and renovate the dilapidated theater, we were able to have that breathtaking experience of celebrating art in a magnificent art deco building. Unfortunately, they were unable to salvage the Amorsolo paintings in the lobby, so the NCCA just put up tarpaulin reproductions in their place.

The Met was constructed in the 1930s and was designed by Juan Arellano, who was also the architect of the Manila Central Post Office Building. After the Second World War, it was transformed into a gay bar and a boxing arena. In the succeeding decades, politicians like Imelda Marcos and Lito Atienza attempted to revive the theater, but it was only in May 2015, with proper funding from the government, when concerted efforts were made to promote and rehabilitate the decaying building.

The NORDLYS / P-NOiSE Contemporary Performance

The NORDLYS / P-NOiSE Contemporary Performance is the first major event in Manila that featured Nordic dancers. Organized in collaboration with the Royal Danish Embassy in the Philippines, the NCCA, and Nordic and Filipino art collectives, this performance is part of an ongoing festival celebrating the culture, talent, and artistry of both local and European performers.

Choreographers: Tine Østergaard and Julie Rasmussen
Technician: Anders Amdisen
Costumes and Graphic Design: Sandra Møller Svendsen

dancers at the metropolitan theater
Snow Elves and Ice Elves: Students from FEU
dancers at the met
Sebastian Lingserius and Nefeli Oikonomou (“D ANCE”)
performance art
Ellinor Kristina Ljungkvist and Georg Kammerer (“I DWELL UPON PEOPLE”)
taking a photo of a dancer
Ray Roa (“Phantom Muse”)
dancers at the Met
Valterri Raekallio and Karoliina Kauhanen (“Where Does The Light Go?”)
dancers at the met
Ingvild Isaksen, Maren Fidje Bjørneseth, Elisa Vassena and Masako Matsushita (“People”)
Sta. Cruz bridge at night
View from the Sta. Cruz bridge at night

We capped the night with a short walk in Lawton and across the Sta. Cruz Bridge to Escolta with Carlos Celdran and other members of the audience. It was a fun night, overall. I’m looking forward to more events like this, especially once the Metropolitan Theater is fully restored.

“Tie a String Around the World” Opens at the Vargas Museum on Dec 9

Tie A String Around the World invitation

Tie a String Around the World
UP Vargas Museum, 1F & 3F Galleries
Opening on December 9, 2016, Friday at 6 p.m.
RSVP:, (+632) 527 2175

The UP Vargas Museum opens Tie A String Around the World on December 9 at 6 in the evening. This homecoming re-stages the Philippines’ official exhibition at the Venice Art Biennale in 2015, 51 years after its first national participation in 1964. It will present the works of Manuel Conde, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Manny Montelibano, and Jose Tence Ruiz; and a documentation of the collateral initiations of David Medalla in collaboration with Adam Nankervis. Objects that broaden the discourse on worldmaking, such as maps and the lingling-o, as discussed in the Pavilion catalog will also be exhibited.

Nation, Border, and Territory

Tie A String Around the World is a line taken from the Manuel Conde film Genghis Khan in which the eponymous conqueror promises her beloved to conquer the world and lay it at her feet. The exhibition pivots on Conde’s seminal film, which was re-edited and annotated by the American writer-critic James Agee, and screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Venice Film Festival in 1952. Conde collaborated with Carlos Francisco, who co-wrote the script and produced the set designs. Recalling this passage by which Venice first recognized the country through the moving image, the exhibition invites reflection on the changing configurations of the world via the Philippines, and the contentious meanings of nation, border, and territory.

Vargas Museum invitation

Jose Tence Ruiz responds to Genghis Khan by evoking a spectral ship made of metal and wood, and calls it Shoal. The installation references the vessel Sierra Madre, a military garrison, and security detachment deployed by the Philippine government in 1999 that floats on contested waters, and prevails both as “saga and shipwreck.” Manny Montelibano’s multi-channel video titled A Dashed State focuses on the West Philippine Sea, part of the disputed South China Sea. Juxtaposing images of a lush locale and the seemingly slow and ordinary life in the islands with the sound of epics and actual radio frequencies from China, Montelibano’s work probes the history of worldmaking and the history of the sea in the long duration and in relation to the formation of empires, nation-states, and regions.

Visit the Exhibition at the UP Vargas Museum

The exhibition will run until February 18, 2017. Please visit the Vargas Museum website and its official Facebook page. E-mail the museum at or call at (+632) 928-19-27 for more information.

Tie A String Around the World homecoming exhibition is organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, in partnership with the UP Vargas Museum.

Pinto Art Museum

Rizal – Antipolo’s Pinto Art Museum

If you’re a millennial like me, you’ve probably heard about that art museum in Antipolo City from your friends or social media contacts. Home to the non-profit organization Silangan Foundation for Arts, Culture, and Ecology, Pinto Art Museum is a private gallery and museum that has attracted the attention of curious tourists and art enthusiasts.

Stephanie Lopez' Defiling a Dream
Stephanie Lopez’ Defiling a Dream. Yes, my friend didn’t touch the artwork 🙂

Pinto Art Museum

Pinto Art Museum garden

A Museum in the Hills

What sets Pinto Art Museum apart from most other art galleries and museums around Manila is its sprawling landscape and beautiful interiors. Nestled on the side of the Sierra Madre mountains, the museum offers a breathtaking view of the lowlands.

Pinto Art Museum

Pinto Art Museum

Feast for the Senses

Aside from being a haven for landscape architects, the museum is known, of course, for housing hundreds of pieces from upcoming and established artists alike. With its many galleries and exhibits, the museum was nothing but a feast for the eyes.

In an interview with Philippine Star, art patron, neurologist, and museum owner Joven Cuanang said that he sees himself as an educator: showcasing the works of contemporary Filipino artists is his contribution to the promotion of our culture and arts.

Pinto Art Museum
My friend Jep interacting with the artwork
Pinto Art Museum
Panalo (swim, bike, run) by Ferdie Montemayor

Pinto Art Museum

And here are leaves

How to get there

In Cubao, take a jeepney or an FX bound for Antipolo and ask the driver to drop you off at Ynares Center. It’s a few blocks away from the church, and it’s not hard to find. From there, take a tricycle to the museum (P50 per trip). The drivers are familiar with the place.

If you’re going by car, take Ortigas Extension. Go past Cainta Junction, and drive until you reach Tikling Junction. The route heading uphill will get you to Ynares Center. Turn right and drive straight ahead to reach the gates of Grand Heights.

More Details

Pinto Art Museum is located at 1 Sierra Madre Street, Grand Heights, 1870 Antipolo City. Ticket prices (as of July 2016) are as follows:

  • P200 – Regular visitors
  • P180 – Senior citizens and PWDs with valid IDs
  • P100 – Students with valid IDs and children

The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 9 AM to 6 PM. Reach them by calling (02) 697-1015 or shoot them an email.

For reservations for seats at the Pinto Museum: Pinto Café by Peppermill, call (02) 986-1804.