‘Sa Wakas’ – about wasak na pag-ibig

Sa wakas, napanood ko na rin ang musical play na ito, with the same name. Inspired by the music of Sugarfree, inilahad ng “Sa Wakas” ang phases of a break up nang pabaliktad. Reverse chronology ang peg ng show which I thought gave a unique twist, at sa umpisa palang, ipapamukha na sa iyo na walang forever.

Surprisingly, for a non-romantic like me na ayaw sa drama, natuwa naman ako sa dula. Bittersweet ang feels kasi you root for the relationship to work but you know that it won’t. Saklap! The play explored this pain part of love with struggles of finding one’s self as a backdrop, na very contemporary at relatable sa mga millenials.

For me, what stood out in the play is the music. I mean Ebe Dancel is such a poet. “Sa pagkumpas ng iyong kamay / Aking landas ginagabay / Nag-iisang tiyak sa isang libong duda / Silong sa iyak at pagluluksa…” Wow, di ba?!

Ang cool lang ng pagkakahabi ng mga awitin sa kuwento. Ang galing din ng live band with the violin and piano. Swak na swak iyong chuwariwap. At ang linis at effortless ng pagkanta nina Vic Robinson, Cara Barredo, at Justine Peña.

Hanggang next week nalang ang Farewell Run kaya nood na mga bes. “Ayoko nang mag-isa,” sabi ng kanta pero okay lang manood mag-isa tulad ng ginawa ko na walk-in lang. Kung mahilig ka sa love story, o hugot, o music, okay ito para sa iyo plus you’re supporting local artists which is always a good thing! 🙂

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Credit: Sa Wakas, A Pinoy Rock Musical
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Anyeong, Korea!

 

 

Back in 2005, as part of a cultural exchange program, I was able to set foot on Korea for the first time. Since then, I’ve been wanting to go back to the land of oppas and k-pop.

The problem is, for most if not all of my travels, they’re organized by someone else. I don’t initiate it myself. They plan everything, book the flight tickets and all, and I simply tag along. Imagine my surprise when out of nowhere, I got invited to participate in the Organic Foundation Course. And the venue was in Korea! I mean how awesome, right? Talk about the universe conspiring to give you what you earnestly hope for.

If not for this opportunity, I wouldn’t have had the chance to go to the countryside, to the beautiful Goesan County, and experience its fresh air, catch a glimpse of cherry blossoms, and eat tasty organic food.

Of course, I was able to explore a bit more of the capital, Seoul. I went to the usual touristy places – Insadong, Namdaemun Market, Gyeongbukgung Palace, and Cheonggyecheon Stream. It’s so convenient to go around with the city’s efficient transport system.

I climbed 291 steps to marvel at the nightscape of Seoul from Haneul Park located on top of a hill which used to be a landfill.

I also went to a jimjilbang or a bathhouse. It was very relaxing. You have to know that in jimjilbangs, you must be completely naked, but this didn’t faze me at all. To be honest, it actually felt liberating, no pun intended.

Kamsamnida to my Korean friends who were the best babysitters, kkk (hahaha in Korean). Thank you for touring me around and stuffing me with all these amazing Korean dishes which you should try – bulgogi, haejangguk (amusingly, known as a hangover soup), kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew), mul naengmyeon (noodles in ice soup), tteokbokki (spicy rice cakes), and dak galbi (spicy chicken stir fry).

Now I should decide where to go next and hope for the universe to once again conspire to bring me there.

Musings on the ALGOA Organic Foundation Course

With people becoming more concerned of the state of the environment, who are also clamoring for safe and healthy food, the organic movement is slowly gaining attraction worldwide.

I got to learn more about the movement when I participated in the 2018 Asian Local Governments for Organic Agriculture (ALGOA) Organic Foundation Course. ALGOA is a project initiated by International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)- Asia.

This year, there were 27 participants from 12 countries namely Korea, India, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Bhutan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.

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The course participants with the LGU officials of Goesan  County (Photo from IFOAM-Asia).
Goesan County in Chungbuk Province, Korea was the perfect place to have the training program with its natural and beautiful environment. It is one of the birthplaces of organic farming in Korea. It is almost isolated that not so many Koreans themselves know of the place but it turns out that this could be an advantage for the preservation of nature and for organic agriculture to thrive.

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Goesan County, Chungbuk Province, Korea
During the Welcome Ceremony, the Mayor of Goesan said that he had three presents for us – the fresh air, organic food, and sticky corn. We, the participants gladly enjoyed these three.

Organic agriculture, as defined by IFOAM, is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems, and people. In its core are the principles of health, ecology, fairness, and care. These principles were evident when we talked to local farmers, visited farms, and went to Hansalim, a cooperative established by both producers and consumers. One farmer we talked to said that they provide safe and healthy food for consumers and in turn, the consumers ensure that the producers can continue to make a living through farming. It was truly inspiring to see this sense of community built on mutual trust. It was also equally inspiring to meet young farmers. Young people would not normally choose to go into farming and prefer to work in offices in the city but it’s amazing how these individuals chose a road less traveled, so to speak.

During the training, we learned about JADAM organic farming (low cost agriculture); biodynamic farming (farming that follows the rhythms and cycles of nature); Organic Guarantee Systems; value chain; innovations; and marketing methods among others. Our minds were fed and our bodies, too – with organic produce that is local, fresh, and diverse.

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Local, fresh, and diverse organic food.
To cap off the course, we attended the 4th ALGOA Summit, which brought together local governments and the private sector to discuss policies and ways to promote organic agriculture.

David Gould of IFOAM Organics International said that all of the Sustainable Development Goals can be linked to food. We must then realize the connections between healthy people, healthy food, and healthy farms. It’s still a long way to go for the organic movement to be truly embraced but through our collective efforts, we can work together towards a more sustainable future.

 

 

 

My Green Flick Top Picks

Earth Day is just around the corner and if you’re looking for inspiration so you won’t merely celebrate the day but take action, here are some environmental films which you may want to watch. Frankly, every day should be Earth Day  because caring for the environment is actually for our own good. But what do I know. I’m not as smart as the politicians in my hometown, Baguio, who think it’s necessary to put up a mall and a parking podium at a park; and drive away people from the area to pave way for a trade fair. Just bloody brilliant, isn’t it?!

Now, some of the films can be depressing but I hope you join the cause and be an environmental warrior after watching these.

1. The Lorax

Based on Dr. Seuss’ children’s book, this is a story of a world without trees. It’s also about greed and how businesses tend to disregard the importance of the environment for the sake of profit. SM Baguio and Baguio politicians, you should watch this (related story: For the Trees!)!

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2. WALL-E

Another animated film, WALL-E, paints a dystopian Earth covered in garbage with people turned obese due to an automated lifestyle (sounds like the present Earth if you ask me). Featuring the love story of two robots as a subplot, WALL-E is a cute, funny, and hopeful movie to watch.

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3.  Racing Extinction

Animal species are going extinct and it’s our fault. Dealing with illegal wildlife trade, climate change, and other environmental issues, the documentary is a call for change of habits for the survival of species.

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4. Food, Inc.

We don’t really know where our food comes from. The documentary, Food, Inc. exposes the unsustainable industrial production of meat, grains, and vegetables. I hope the movie can make you more mindful about the food that you eat.

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5. Okja

Okja is not your typical action-adventure film. It’s also a social commentary on genetically-modified organisms, ethical diet, and environmental activism. It revolves around the story of friendship between a young girl and Okja, a super pig. Okja will make you cry but more importantly, it will make you think.

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4. A Plastic Ocean

This year’s Earth Day focus is to end plastic pollution. A Plastic Ocean may convince you to stop single-use plastic that ends up in the ocean and eventually on your plate.

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Problem Child

Isa-isang nagsiakyatan sa entablado ang mga batang nagtapos sa elementarya upang tanggapin ang kanilang mga diploma. Pilit kong inalala kung sila’y naging estudyante ko. It’s either my memory is failing me or nag-undergo sila ng growth spurt at sadyang nagbago na ang mga itsura.

Ngunit nakakaaliw lang na iyong mga itinuturing na problem child or children , kasi marami sila, ay nakatatak pa sa aking utak. Ito iyong bully… iyong palaging pinapagalitan… iyong pasaway.

Dahil ako iyong super strict teacher, may pagkakataong nililipat sa akin iyong mga sobrang makukulit. So ayun nga, itong estudyanteng ito, ako na ang magha-handle. Siyempre ayaw daw niya sa class ko. I wouldn’t blame him. Sino ba naman ang may gusto sa terror na tulad ko. Gustong tumakas ng bata. Sorry siya mas mabilis ako. Hinawakan ko siya sa kamay and didn’t let go. Nag-holding hands while walking kami around the campus, para lang kumalma ang bata. Kinalauna’y wala na siyang nagawa kundi pumasok sa klase ko.

Binigyan ko siya ng libro na lubos niyang ikinatuwa, todo pasikat pa sa kaklase. Hindi pa rin nawala ang pagpapasaway niya ngunit sa tingin ko’y nag-effort naman siyang magpakatino. At nagbunga ang mga efforts niya dahil nakagpag-graduate na. Isa ring accomplishment ito para sa amin na naging guro niya.

Noong nagtuturo pa ako, natanong ko kung ako’y ba’y pinaparusahan. Mahirap kasi maging teacher. Maraming sakripisyo, kaunti o walang recognition. But looking back, those difficult times were the most memorable and meaningful moments.

Sa mga graduates, isang karangalang minsa’y naging guro niyo. Nawa’y maging matagumpay kayo sa daang tatahakin.

 

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Green-minded

Green-minded ako
Berde… berde ang kulay ng mga puno
Mga punong sa halip na pinaparami
Pinuputol, pinapatay
Pinapalitan ng matatayog na kongkreto
Berde… berde and kulay ng gulay
Sabi’y pampahaba ng buhay
Ng tao, at ng mundo
Dahil bawas sa karne
Bawas sa emisyon ng karbong
Nakasusulasok
Maitim na usok
Na sa planeta’y bumabalot
Planetang nalulunod din sa basura at plastik
Plastik na sumasayaw sa hangin
Lumalangoy sa ilog
Lumulutang sa karagatan
Plastik na nasa isdang kinakain
Sa tubig na iniinom
Tila wala ng pag-asa
Wala na nga ba?
Ang mga isip-berde ay hindi papatalo
Patuloy ang buga ng karbon
Kasabay ng pag-usbong ng malinis na enerhiya
Mula sa tubig, hangin, at araw
Kumakaripas sa takbo ang urbanisasyon
Ngunit humahabol ang mga ideya
Ng green architecture at green space
Marami ang walang pakialam
Walang pakundangan sa pagbili at pagtapon,
Pagbili at pagtapon, pagbili at pagtapon
Subalit marami rin ang nakikialam
Binabago ang pananaw na wala tayong magagawa
Sa bawat pagtatanim ng puno
Sa bawat pagsuporta sa renewable energy
Sa bawat pagpili sa maka-kalikasang produkto
Sa bawat paghindi sa plastic straw, at plastic bag,
At plastic water bottle, at plastic spoon and fork
Sa bawat pagkonsumo ng organikong pagkain
Ang mga ito’y parang patak
Ambon sa umpisa
Nawa’y maging daluyong ng isip-berdeng gawa
Green-minded ako…
Sana ikaw din
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Minimalist Me: Clothes

The good thing about maintaining the same body shape and weight for around 10 years now is I don’t have to buy new clothes all the time. If I do have to buy clothes, I go to second hand shops where with patience and a little bit of luck, I manage to find a nice shirt or two at a really cheap price.

Most of my clothes are hand me downs, or presents from friends, or shirts I get from attending advocacy events. I’m sure I’m not the favorite person of retailers because I don’t contribute much to the consumerist world where your value is measured by how much you spend shopping.

Fast fashion has huge environmental costs – water pollution, use of toxic chemicals, and  textile waste. Polyester fabric shed microfibers adding more plastic to already plastic-filled water bodies. Organic cotton doesn’t use toxic chemicals but requires a lot of water.

Should I just go au naturale and banish myself in the mountains like a true Igorot? Come to think of it, my ancestors back in the days just wore bahag or loin cloth, a piece of clothing wrapped around the hips.

 

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You can see me here wearing a bahag and er, showing some skin. Photo Credit: Haire Kadari

Recycled fabric is the best bet but they’re not easy to come by. So an option is to simplify and adopt a minimalist approach to clothing. Less stress emotionally (as you don’t have to constantly worry about having too much clothes and nothing to wear). Less stress on your pocket. And less stress on the environment. More stress to capitalists though but they should be the least of our concern.