Archive for the ‘arts’ Category

Jaja Bolivar—A Rising Bicolana Talent of Adobo Nation & Hollywood

April 2, 2009

Nini Ragragio who celebrates her birthday on April 1, 2009, has been a friend and neighbor in Bagumbayan Street, Naga City. (Happy Birthday, LRB!) For more than 35 years, I lost track of her until I learned (to my pleasant surprise) of her smart baby who graduated in UP, many years after I left. Her name is Angela (Jaja) Bolivar, a pretty and talented young Filipina with an earthy brown expressive face and bubbly laughter. She is now a lifestyle magazine TV host for the Adobo Nation. She extends her warm regards to her fans and friends!

With an unbridled passion for life, an artistic bent, and a lot of love to share, Jaja agreed to bring us one of her exciting musings—a glimpse of her experiences before she came to the scintillating world of Hollywood. Apart from her appearances in the Filipino Channel which air worldwide every Sunday at 6:40 PM Pacific Time, Jaja is a dazzling gem to watch on KTSF (USA) and ANC in Manila. A member of UP Harong and friend of UP Ibalon, the glowing warm lady from Bicol who inspires pride can be reached at:

http: //profile.friendster.com/13125590
freespiritjaja@yahoo.com;
jajabolivar.multiply.com;
myspace.com/jajabolivar
talentola.com
http://www.facebook.com(Jaja Bolivar)
http://www.facebook.com(lilian Mae Bolivar)

Musings of a lady on her way to Hollywood
by Jaja R. Bolivar

today, i officially signed in with The Talent House SF!

after being represented by talentola in Southern California, i had longed to be represented again by an agency, this time, here in san francisco. and today, my wish came true. i am now with the talent house sf.

YES!

it’s really not that easy to get an agency to represent you. first of all, there are lots of talents out there sending out their submissions just so these agencies could give them one bit of a chance to meet with them. secondly, with the numerous faces and talents they come across with, how on earth will you “stand out” such that these agencies would like to get you to be one of their talents?!

entertainment is a hella crazy world. and like what my professors used to say in college, even if you are on tv, “you are only as good as your last show!”. true enough, i’d had a lot of those moments where i am already supposedly a regular of this series and then the next thing i know, they axed me out on the script. i’m not doing the show anymore. but see, it happens all the time to all actors and performers. nobody is exempt from rejections and failures in this industry.

going back to the agent meeting today, the agent asked me what i had been up to. i told her about my tv show and other mainstream stuff i’d been doing in and out of the city. she then asks me to deliver the monologue that i prepared. i chose a comedic monologue from romy and michelle’s high school reunion and i would say, i kinda messed up ‘coz i was nervous. hahahaa! i always get high strung and over-the-top delivering the first few lines (which works to my disadvantage ‘coz casters don’t care. once you’re on, you’re on and there’s no turning back on the material)…

so anyways, she suggests a cold read of this monologue from the movie, as good as it gets. she explains the scenario and asks me to leave the room and study it for a few minutes. after about ten minutes, she gets back to me. i deliver the lines in front of her. and right when i finish the last line of the piece, she goes,

“i would love to represent you.” you definitely have a lot going for you.

that’s it. done deal. love ettt!

so that pretty much made my day today. after that, on my way home at about 3:30 pm, i passed by the marina and marvelled at the private yachts. the weather was charming. i sat in one of those benches and ate my chinese food that had been sitting in the car for two hours.

oh! and i met this man while i was taking pictures of the scenery on my iphone. he said he was from israel. he told me i was beautiful and i thanked him for the compliment. we ended up chatting about his life story. he said he is based in chicago and travels back and forth to cali, france, singapore and all these other countries. he seemed like a busy, well off man. what’s interesting is that he shared his life story to me as if we were this instantaneous friends, hehe. i get that a lot, though. people open up to me easily, maybe because each person simply likes to be heard. it’s great to listen because i get to learn from other people’s stories. people, in general, amaze me. regarding his life, i would say his story is quite out of the ordinary. but then again, whose life isn’t? anyways, after living in the the philippines and being in this industry, nothing shocks me anymore. oh, and of course i asked him what he thought about the israel-gaza war. he said that he used to fight for the israel army and that while he is a peace-loving man, he is undoubtedly in favor of it.

so that’s how my day went.

life’s simple pleasures nourish me. (Photo Credits: J. R. Bolivar) =0=

===========================================================

Lucid interval in acute brain injuries: a crucial lesson on Natasha Richardson’s death

March 20, 2009

The death of Broadway star and movie actress Natasha Richardson illustrates the necessity for quick trauma management in cases of acute brain injuries. In hindsight, Richardson didn’t go to the hospital immediately after she banged her head during a ski accident in Mont Tremblant, a luxury resort in Quebec, Canada.

She had a lucid interval and a feeling of wellness not unusual in some victims of head injury. At that crucial time, blood seeped from a torn blood vessel between the brain and skull creating an epidural hematoma, an enlarging blood clot that was big enough to cause her demise. The New York medical examiner confirmed the epidural bleeding from blunt trauma that caused her death.

Richardson, the daughter of famed actress Vanessa Redgrave was conscious and well soon after the ski accident. She refused early on to be brought to the nearest hospital, hence a delay of about 4 hours before life-saving treatment was instituted. Only when she experienced headache, a sign of rising pressure within the enclosed cranium that she decided to go for the doctors’ aid.

There are questions whether an early medical intervention could have saved her life. Perhaps yes. There is a short golden period in those suffering from acute epidural bleed when doctors can still save a life. From Canada, she was flown to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City where she passed on a day later.

The coffin bearing the remains of the talented celebrity was taken out of the Greenwich Funeral Home in Manhattan. Lights of Broadway were dimmed to pay tribute to Miss Richardson, a Tony award winner and a member of a family of distinguished movie and theatre thespians. (Photo Credit: Mickey Strikes; Reuters/ Eric Thayer)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “Broadway star Natasha Richardson died of brain injuries in a ski accident” Posted by mesiamd at 3/19/2009

=========================================================

Lucid interval in acute brain injuries: a crucial lesson on Natasha Richardson’s death

March 20, 2009

The death of Broadway star and movie actress Natasha Richardson illustrates the necessity for quick trauma management in cases of acute brain injuries. In hindsight, Richardson didn’t go to the hospital immediately after she banged her head during a ski accident in Mont Tremblant, a luxury resort in Quebec, Canada.

She had a lucid interval and a feeling of wellness not unusual in some victims of head injury. At that crucial time, blood seeped from a torn blood vessel between the brain and skull creating an epidural hematoma, an enlarging blood clot that was big enough to cause her demise. The New York medical examiner confirmed the epidural bleeding from blunt trauma that caused her death.

Richardson, the daughter of famed actress Vanessa Redgrave was conscious and well soon after the ski accident. She refused early on to be brought to the nearest hospital, hence a delay of about 4 hours before life-saving treatment was instituted. Only when she experienced headache, a sign of rising pressure within the enclosed cranium that she decided to go for the doctors’ aid.

There are questions whether an early medical intervention could have saved her life. Perhaps yes. There is a short golden period in those suffering from acute epidural bleed when doctors can still save a life. From Canada, she was flown to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City where she passed on a day later.

The coffin bearing the remains of the talented celebrity was taken out of the Greenwich Funeral Home in Manhattan. Lights of Broadway were dimmed to pay tribute to Miss Richardson, a Tony award winner and a member of a family of distinguished movie and theatre thespians. (Photo Credit: Mickey Strikes; Reuters/ Eric Thayer)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “Broadway star Natasha Richardson died of brain injuries in a ski accident” Posted by mesiamd at 3/19/2009

=========================================================

Finding a William Shakespeare portrait

March 9, 2009

Believed to be the only portrait of William Shakespeare (1564-1616,) the image of the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon will be displayed for several months in London. England’s most celebrated playwright is represented as a handsome well-dressed wealthy youngish gentleman with pink cheeks, light red-brown beard, and smooth wrinkleless skin.

It’s just the right depiction of the prodigious poet credited for writing the most exquisite and inspiring words of the English language. The alleged portrait thought to have been done almost 400 years ago belongs to the Cobbes family who for years didn’t know of the gentleman’s identity until it was authenticated after three years of rigorous research.

Dated to be 1610 when the portrait was made, Shakespeare would have been 46 years old at that time. His exceptional literary works included 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. (Photo Credit Clyde Fitch Report/ Shakespeare Birthplace Trust) =0=

========================================================

Gifts, santan blooms & rainbows

January 11, 2009

“Each person has a poem to write, a book to share, a revelation to bring out in the open. Each of us has a winsome idea to think about and a compelling story to tell. Ibalonian Ona Vigil has beautiful musings which spring forth like sparkling dewdrops in the recesses of her mind. Like the rounded pregnant bead of water ready to drop from a flower, her fluid reflections bring something persuasively personal and dear.” —AFM

Gifts….with feeling

by Ona Vigil

They grew up not giving me gifts, I mean material gifts. A kiss, a hug, a greeting, a personally made holiday card—they understood these were enough to make me happy. The thoughtfulness meant more than anything for their Mom— they knew.

Last Christmas, I received something special: a framed photo of my three children. Innocent smiles, beautiful faces, a picture almost two decades old, a survivor of harsh days, flash floods and thunderbolts, blown-up to fit a 10 x 12 inch frame. It had been by my favorite picture. Once again, I received a gift…with feeling.

The Rainbow

Just as usual, I woke up early the day after Christmas (comes with ageing, teases a friend). I felt like everyone else—-my children and the neighbors were still asleep as soft rain languidly fell from the overcast sky. The day was gloomy. The sun wouldn’t come out. I wish I could see a rainbow!

I sat on my favorite nook outside thinking what the morning would bring. And voila! There I saw the dazzling prism of colors arching against the clouds racing about the tall trees. Was it a rainbow?

ROY G BIV. Is it a queer-sounding name? No. That’s how I learned to memorize the various colors when I was in grade school. I recalled my neighbor’s fiery poinsettia and the rows of santan flowers, all brimming RED. My potted bougainvilleas were lovely in full-bloom. Their sharp flowers dotted the wide garden, just like the prolific YELLOW bells which blended with the sprouts of sedges under the bush. The hurried flowers drew the busy butterflies in frenzied flight with the wind while the bee buzzed along.

Against the BLUE roof of a house nearby. I watched the tiny luxuriant VIOLET blooms whose sweet scent filled the air. Though the GREEN leaves were a-plenty and the trees were noisy with the breeze, I wondered where the color of INDIGO I could find. From the depths of my senses, a voice whispered a line from a poem: “Close your eyes to see it!” I did. ROY G. BIV. Suddenly there, I saw my rainbow. (Photo Credit: Annalee&BS)=0=

============================================================

Para sa mga burak sa Heidelberg: An pagrumdom ki Rizal kan sarong taga-Baao

December 30, 2008

A Diciembre 30, amo a ka-aldowan ka pagka-badil ki Jose P. Rizal, kanatong heroe nacional na guinadan ka mga Kastila, 112 taon ng naka-agui. Sa pagrumdom ka guinibo ni Rizal para sa liberasyon ka Pilipinas, rumdumon ta an saiyang pamosong tula—Para sa mga burak ka Heidelberg—sinurat niya kan siya nasa Alemanya, Europa.

Galin sa Paris, Francia si Dr. Rizal— nag-anad mag-bulong ka mga helang sa mata. Siya tinukduan ni Prof. Otto Becker sa Alemanya. Amo’dto kan siya nagsurat para sa kagayonan ka mga burak sa Heidleberg—habang namatean niya a kalipungawan kan pamilyang harayo, banwaan na saiyang ‘di maling’wan. Dae nag-haloy, pakatapos ka nobela niyang Noli Me Tangere, si Rizal nagpuli sa Manila.

Sadi a magayon na paguiromdom ni P.B. Robosa (taga-Baao) ki Rizal. Sa color ka tataramon ka lugar sa Rinconada, Bicol, a amio ka burak ni Rizal magdanay man lugod kanato. Magka-igua man lugod kita ka pag-makulog sagkod pagkamoot na hanggang ngowan kaipuhan ka banwaan.

Para sa Mga Burak sa Heidelberg(To the Flowers of Heidelberg)
Ni Jose Rizal
Itinaga Baao ni P.B. Robosa

Pasadto kamo banwaan ko, dayuhan na burak
tagak sa raran kin mga nagbabaklay, iwinarak,
sa lomlom ka sirong kin azul na kalangitan,
sadto na an mga payaba ko pinag-iiningatan
iluyap ninyo, pagarang-arang kanakong rogan,
kining arayo pero di nalilingaw sa mga binayaan

Pasadto kamo, ag mabareta bago magliwanag,
kung kamo ka sirang ka aldow ibinubuklad,
sa pangpang ag agnow ka Neckar na ararom
sadto siya nakatindog, nang-guiguiromrom
pamumula sa tagsibol, darang kolor na magayon

Ipa-ngusip ninyo kun pag-abot ka saking ramrag,
ayaton kaninyo an hamot na kaninyong ambag,
habang luway na pina-iirongog “o ika, payaba ko”
siya man nagririmo-rimo, sa itaas ninyo tinotono,
kantang pagkaboot, sa sadiring bisara nya guinibo

Kun su silaw ka ramrag aboton na su kaitaasan,
tuktok Koenigsthul kalayuwan kin kaliwanagan,
namumulaag na silaw ka aldow mang-guisong na,
sa patag, kadlagan ag kakahoyan nanbubuway na,
ining lagalag, sabat man tulos an silaw na dara,
na sadto banwaan man nya, minabulos biyaya.

Isabi ninyo ku kamo luway na pinili ag pinutlan,
ku sya nag-agi-agi sa sadit ag matulid na a-agian,
sa rugbang torreng tuda ko panahon na nakaagi,
sa Neckar na may kadlagan, malimpoy na sabi.
Sabiyon su kanyang mga panambitan ag sinabi
pauno kamo luway-luway, tinulid, ingat na inani,
sadto kanyang libro isinuksuk ag pinagkahigo,
sa mga lumang pahina, kamo niyang itinatago.

Hatudan, hatudan, magayon na burak kin Rhine,
an biyong pagka-boot ko sa ngamin na nabootan,
katoninongan sa banwaan kong kinamondagan,
sa kababaihan-katangihan, kusog sa kalalakihan.
Ipagtaratara diaday, sa mga payaba kong marhay
sa ngamin, kabilugang banal, pauulian ka buway

Pag-abot sa baybayon kan pinayabang banwaan
matam-is na arok na pinamate di paglingawan,
ipatiprak sa pakpak kin angin na nakapalibot
tanganing su ngamin na inonra, ginalang, binoot,
mamate sa mga pisngi ninda–arok kong pina-abot.

Tibaad makaabot kamo sa banwaan kong tinubuan
dara pa gayon ag tinkad ninyong kolor na namasdan,
ta arayo kamo sa ragang kinabuklatan, nang-alisngaw,
namarong na amot, tibaad dagos nang naoda, nanlasaw.
An hamio ninyo, kalag ninyong tunay, di maisusuway,
di malilingangawan kan langit kun sari kamo nabuway.
baaohistoricalsociety.blogspot.com

December 30, 2008 marks the day our national hero Jose P. Rizal was executed by the Spanish colonizers some 112 years ago. In remembrance of his martyrdom for the liberation of our country, let’s remember one of his famous poems—To the Flowers of Heidleberg which he wrote when he was in Germany.

Under the tutorship of Prof. Otto Becker, Rizal continued his advanced studies as an eye doctor there. It was about that time when he wrote the beautiful poem about the flowers of Heidelberg and his nostalgia for his family and his native land. It did not take long, after he finished the final chapters of his novel Noli Me Tangere, that he went home and met his death.

From Baao, Camarines Sur, here’s P. B. Robosa’s beautiful translation of the poem. The words carry inexplicable emotions and images that only a wonderful Bicol dialect can express. May the scent of Rizal’s flowers suffuse us— his bravery and patriotism inspire us, as we celebrate his martyrdom.


To the Flowers of Heidelberg

by Jose P. Rizal

Go to my country, go foreign flowers!
Planted by the traveller on his way,
And there beneath that sky of blue
That over my beloved towers,
Speak for this traveller to say
What faith in his homeland he breathes to you.

Go and say… say that when the dawn
First drew your calyx open there
Beside the River Neckar chill,
you saw him standing by you, very still,
Reflecting on the primrose flush you wear.

Say that when the morning light
Her toll of perfume from you wrung,
While playfully she whispered, “How I love you!”
He too murmured here above you
Tender love songs in his native tongue.

That when the rising sun the height
Of Koenigstuhl in the early morn first spies;
Is pouring life in the valley, wood, and grove,
He greets the sun as it begins to rise,
Which in his native land is blazing straight above.

And tell them of that day he staid
And plucked you from the border of the path,
Amid the ruins of the feudal castle,
By the River Neckar, and in the silvan shade.
Tell them what he told you
As tenderly as he took
Your plants leaves and pressed them in a book,
Where now its well worn pages close enfold you.

Carry, carry, flowers of Rhine,
Love to every love of mine,
Peace to my country and her fertile land,
Virtue to her women, courage to her men,
Salute those darling once again,
Who formed the sacred circle of our home.

And when you reach the shore,
Each kiss I press upon you now,
Deposit on the pinions of the wind,
And those I love and honor above and adore
Will feel my kisses carried their brow.

Ah, flowers, you may fare through,
Conserving still, perhaps, your native hue;
Yet, far from fatherland, heroic loam
To which you owe your life,
The perfume will be gone from you;
For aroma is your soul; it cannot roam
Beyond the skies which saw it born, nor e’er forget.
“I embrace you”
Rizal’s letter to Friedrich Ullmer (the son of Pastor Ullmer, Wilhelmsfeld) from 1887 (Photo Credits: Bill Barber; Sinaglaya; Bill Barber; Donnamarijne; Bill Barber; Bill Barber)

=======================================================

UP Lantern Parade 2008

December 22, 2008

On Wednesday, December 17, 2008 the University of the Philippines (UP) staged its Christmas lantern parade to the delight of the students and the entire school. The show of lanterns did not come with the usual multi-sided illuminated stars, the traditional symbols of the light which brought the three wise men to Jesus in the manger. Instead, attractive parols like luminous heavenly bodies in the sky thrilled the crowd.

“This is the best of them all,” says former school president Jose Abueva of the annual holiday event. He explains the significance of the exhibition which marks the end of the school’s colorful centennial year.

The gleaming display materialized from the modern-day artistic imagination of Diliman’s educational hub— better known as the government-funded people’s “national university.” Stunning bright contraptions under the cover of the evening’s shadows ignited the pageantry. In the backdrop of trees and “the oblation” the occasion drew elated on-lookers as the night set in.

Hordes of dolled-up merry-makers wearing garish masks and eclectic gaudy costumes came. They clowned, danced, and laughed to mark another distinctive Filipino Christmas. Fireworks, music, and lights entertained those who attended. (Photo Credit: Lynnzy; Lynnzy; Lynzzy)=0=

<img style=”display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;width
: 400px; height: 300px;” src=”http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_VYWY3lAyXnQ/SU_lrLy9f2I/AAAAAAAACzI/raPs8YIEfYk/s400/bylynnzy3.jpg” border=”0″ alt=””id=”BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5282693417992552290″ />

===========================================================

The roar of thunder & the white lilies of the valley

December 19, 2008

Incongruence, alienation, and a feeling of déjà vu are some of the most inexplicable rousers of the human senses. They come and go in our guts like distant pulsations of life in a plane at different seasons.

Let’s take time, pause, and write— so strangeness, we can mend from within. We wish to rid ourselves of the angst of some smokey blur. Like the fearsome thunder behind the clouds, disturbing the fields of white lilies in the valley…the woods and trees have their barks marked by box-cutters and stabbed with imprints of our names.

Yes! How wonderful to read Bambi Ricafrente’s engaging poetry: Thunder Lilies, from Monologues and other Poems, 1982. (Photo Credits: Gorpie; Wazka)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “thunder lilies” Posted by bambi ricafrente at 12/19/2008

==========================================================

Nudity in UP Campus & Rizal’s Ultimo Adios

December 17, 2008



Craftiness must have clothes, but truth loves to go naked.”—English Proverb

A tradition of public nudity has developed in the University of the Philippines (UP). On its 100 years of glorious existence, the school has a rash of flesh-baring events— inspired by the iconic metal image of a man in an act of “oblation” right at the campus gate.

The thought of giving oneself naked has turned to be an irresistible wild dream in the academe. It’s a heart-rousing idea that seems to rub the minds of people who subscribe to the sane and the absurd.

Perhaps they take themselves too seriously. They can be deluded by their self-importance, believing that they are smarter than others and thus deserving of occasional tantrums. There is covert hubris in many UPians. They may be enamored by the grand words of the second verse of Jose P. Rizal’s Ultimo Adios etched on the base of Guillermo Tolentino’s oblation sculpture standing in the school grounds:

“In the fields of battle,
deliriously fighting,
Others give you their lives,
without doubt, without regret;
Where there’s cypress, laurel or lily,
On a plank or open field,
in combat or cruel martyrdom,
If the home or country asks,
it’s all the same–it matters not.”

—Jose P. Rizal, National Hero

The connection of nudity today in UP and Rizal’s heroism is at best tenuous. Yet, for 50 years, the oblation run has been a yearly project of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity. It started as a prank and had since then become one of the most celebrated in the university.

Nudes, wearing only masks and bonnets parade themselves around the campus. The justification of the bizarre display of the mons veneris and the penile appendage is usually a protest for an “issue” that bothers the community. Although not all are convinced of the “alibi,” the event brings eager crowds nonetheless to watch the warm flesh pass by. Amidst heckles and laughter, the men give away roses to merry spectators, but many are oblivious and dismissive of the rationale behind the run.

The oblation run held on December 16, 2008 had only 10 nude men streaking their way around the campus. But I thought they had one in June where a hundred participated. For the latest run, APO chose to protest the boiling charter change (Cha-cha) controversy which is occupying the mind of the nation. They also fussed about President Gloria M. Arroyo, the environment and climate change.

The fewer turn-out of those wanting to show their flesh might have been the consequence of an early morning photo shoot of about 100 nude UPians to celebrate the school’s service to the country a week before. Capping the school’s centennial year celebration, on December 13, 2008, the dawn picture session had almost a hundred UPians exposing their skins. What was once considered a joke had turned out to be a controversial collective legitimate expression of selfless offering: “UP Para sa Bayan” (UP for the Nation.)

The nude mania also caught the fancy of the fine arts luminaries of the university. Earlier in June this year, works of National Artists Fernando Amorsolo, Guillermo Tolentino, Napoleon Abueva, Jose Joya, Cesar Legaspi, Benedicto “Bencab” Cabrera, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Abdulmari Imao and Vicente Manansala, among others were displayed in a public mall in Quezon city, in an exhibit titled, “100 Nudes/100 years.” It was supposed to be a self-congratulating reunion of UP artists to show the whole world of the school’s “big reservoir of talents.”

I don’t know if the Pavlovian concept on operant conditioning works on the psychology behind this nudity hullabaloo. If I have my psychiatry straight, humans like animals, are governed by rewards and punishments. When forbidden behavior such as shedding one’s clothes is reinforced by approving attention, many will do it again. There’s no negative backlash, no punishment and no incentive to prevent UP from doing the oblation run. Nudity which can be pleasurable, is tolerated, and even approved of by university authorities. En masse in front of satisfied onlookers, the event becomes a rousing surreal occasion akin to Bacchanalia.

Liberals, anarchists, and free thinkers can look at public nudity differently even if there are laws against indecent exposure. They usually laud anything contrary to the norm. They want unbridled freedom without much responsibility. Their perspective can be summed up with what iconoclastic John Lennon said when he was still alive.

“The main hang-up in the world today is hypocrisy and insecurity. If people can’t face up to the fact of other people being naked, or whatever they want to do, then we’re never going to get anywhere. People have got to become aware that it’s none of their business and that being nude is not obscene. Being ourselves is what’s important. If everyone practised being themselves instead of pretending to be what they aren’t, there would be peace.”—John Lennon, Beatles singer

Lennon’s opinion is just one side of the coin. He can’t be taken seriously all the way for there are conservative moral and cultural issues that must not be ignored by Filipinos. As a counterpoint, I can only refer at the photos of the oblation run shown in the blog. I suspect they have become raunchier and debased than the years past. With some clues of what goes on during the run, I need to repeat my two-cent worth of opinion about this school-sanctioned nude exhibitions in a supposedly sane university:

Surely, there is amusement in nudity, but such display is distracting and unwarranted. Young masked students running with no clothes on, giving away roses to onlookers is such a powerful emotion-rouser that we risk forgetting the grievances behind why we do it. It’s generally regarded as a mischievous prank rather than a serious protest. In spite of the fun, there is this troubling question whether such an event brings the most benefit in the long run. It makes us think if merriment and humor are always the best ways to air our problems and solve them.

After stating my closing thought, I couldn’t help but laugh when I read a smart quip about being nude—“Don’t arrest me. I was born this way.” It seemed the inane controversy on nudity in campus would stay. But with the rate ethical behavior and righteousness is expended these days, I would not be surprised if UP and many of her children might go astray. Photo Credits: in dekost; in.dekost; indekost; pmt007; in.dekost; in.dekost)=0=

RELATED BLOGS: “The Oblation Run: a risque prank becomes a raunchy protest”
Posted by mesiamd at 6/20/2008; “UP Para Sa Bayan” Posted by mesiamd at 12/13/2008

==========================================================

Nudity in UP Campus & Rizal’s Ultimo Adios

December 17, 2008



Craftiness must have clothes, but truth loves to go naked.”—English Proverb

A tradition of public nudity has developed in the University of the Philippines (UP). On its 100 years of glorious existence, the school has a rash of flesh-baring events— inspired by the iconic metal image of a man in an act of “oblation” right at the campus gate.

The thought of giving oneself naked has turned to be an irresistible wild dream in the academe. It’s a heart-rousing idea that seems to rub the minds of people who subscribe to the sane and the absurd.

Perhaps they take themselves too seriously. They can be deluded by their self-importance, believing that they are smarter than others and thus deserving of occasional tantrums. There is covert hubris in many UPians. They may be enamored by the grand words of the second verse of Jose P. Rizal’s Ultimo Adios etched on the base of Guillermo Tolentino’s oblation sculpture standing in the school grounds:

“In the fields of battle,
deliriously fighting,
Others give you their lives,
without doubt, without regret;
Where there’s cypress, laurel or lily,
On a plank or open field,
in combat or cruel martyrdom,
If the home or country asks,
it’s all the same–it matters not.”

—Jose P. Rizal, National Hero

The connection of nudity today in UP and Rizal’s heroism is at best tenuous. Yet, for 50 years, the oblation run has been a yearly project of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity. It started as a prank and had since then become one of the most celebrated in the university.

Nudes, wearing only masks and bonnets parade themselves around the campus. The justification of the bizarre display of the mons veneris and the penile appendage is usually a protest for an “issue” that bothers the community. Although not all are convinced of the “alibi,” the event brings eager crowds nonetheless to watch the warm flesh pass by. Amidst heckles and laughter, the men give away roses to merry spectators, but many are oblivious and dismissive of the rationale behind the run.

The oblation run held on December 16, 2008 had only 10 nude men streaking their way around the campus. But I thought they had one in June where a hundred participated. For the latest run, APO chose to protest the boiling charter change (Cha-cha) controversy which is occupying the mind of the nation. They also fussed about President Gloria M. Arroyo, the environment and climate change.

The fewer turn-out of those wanting to show their flesh might have been the consequence of an early morning photo shoot of about 100 nude UPians to celebrate the school’s service to the country a week before. Capping the school’s centennial year celebration, on December 13, 2008, the dawn picture session had almost a hundred UPians exposing their skins. What was once considered a joke had turned out to be a controversial collective legitimate expression of selfless offering: “UP Para sa Bayan” (UP for the Nation.)

The nude mania also caught the fancy of the fine arts luminaries of the university. Earlier in June this year, works of National Artists Fernando Amorsolo, Guillermo Tolentino, Napoleon Abueva, Jose Joya, Cesar Legaspi, Benedicto “Bencab” Cabrera, Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Abdulmari Imao and Vicente Manansala, among others were displayed in a public mall in Quezon city, in an exhibit titled, “100 Nudes/100 years.” It was supposed to be a self-congratulating reunion of UP artists to show the whole world of the school’s “big reservoir of talents.”

I don’t know if the Pavlovian concept on operant conditioning works on the psychology behind this nudity hullabaloo. If I have my psychiatry straight, humans like animals, are governed by rewards and punishments. When forbidden behavior such as shedding one’s clothes is reinforced by approving attention, many will do it again. There’s no negative backlash, no punishment and no incentive to prevent UP from doing the oblation run. Nudity which can be pleasurable, is tolerated, and even approved of by university authorities. En masse in front of satisfied onlookers, the event becomes a rousing surreal occasion akin to Bacchanalia.

Liberals, anarchists, and free thinkers can look at public nudity differently even if there are laws against indecent exposure. They usually laud anything contrary to the norm. They want unbridled freedom without much responsibility. Their perspective can be summed up with what iconoclastic John Lennon said when he was still alive.

“The main hang-up in the world today is hypocrisy and insecurity. If people can’t face up to the fact of other people being naked, or whatever they want to do, then we’re never going to get anywhere. People have got to become aware that it’s none of their business and that being nude is not obscene. Being ourselves is what’s important. If everyone practised being themselves instead of pretending to be what they aren’t, there would be peace.”—John Lennon, Beatles singer

Lennon’s opinion is just one side of the coin. He can’t be taken seriously all the way for there are conservative moral and cultural issues that must not be ignored by Filipinos. As a counterpoint, I can only refer at the photos of the oblation run shown in the blog. I suspect they have become raunchier and debased than the years past. With some clues of what goes on during the run, I need to repeat my two-cent worth of opinion about this school-sanctioned nude exhibitions in a supposedly sane university:

Surely, there is amusement in nudity, but such display is distracting and unwarranted. Young masked students running with no clothes on, giving away roses to onlookers is such a powerful emotion-rouser that we risk forgetting the grievances behind why we do it. It’s generally regarded as a mischievous prank rather than a serious protest. In spite of the fun, there is this troubling question whether such an event brings the most benefit in the long run. It makes us think if merriment and humor are always the best ways to air our problems and solve them.

After stating my closing thought, I couldn’t help but laugh when I read a smart quip about being nude—“Don’t arrest me. I was born this way.” It seemed the inane controversy on nudity in campus would stay. But with the rate ethical behavior and righteousness is expended these days, I would not be surprised if UP and many of her children might go astray. Photo Credits: in dekost; in.dekost; indekost; pmt007; in.dekost; in.dekost)=0=

RELATED BLOGS: “The Oblation Run: a risque prank becomes a raunchy protest”
Posted by mesiamd at 6/20/2008; “UP Para Sa Bayan” Posted by mesiamd at 12/13/2008

==========================================================