Thursday, May 27, 2010

Misa Baclayana: ancient beauty that sounds so new

WHILE THE ELECTION frenzy was at its peak, the National Heritage Month was being celebrated. The charged atmosphere of the campaign and the election itself had all but eclipsed the various heritage-related activities in the month of May but it was good to take time out for some cultural treasures that were offered for us to relish and marvel at.

One of the events I attended was the performance of the Misa Baclayana at the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros with the famous award-winning Loboc Children’s Choir of Bohol singing. It was one of the heritage offerings of the Intramuros Administration headed by Bambi L. Harper.
I was impressed. In terms of grandness Misa Baclayana may not be in the league of the famous "Masses" by Mozart, Bach or Brahms but it has its own melodious allure. Although the sung parts from the Misa Baclayana were in Latin, the Mass, officiated by Archbishop Jesus A. Dosado, was in English. At the pipe organ was Alejandro Consolacion.
The music blended well with the post-Vatican modern liturgy as we know it. I don’t know if it will stand out just as well within the Tridentine Latin Mass that traditionalists are trying to revive. I liked the sound of the old hymns blending with contemporary liturgical worship. To paraphrase and juggle some words from St. Augustine, it was ancient beauty that sounded so new.
Discovered only a few years ago in Baclayon Church in Bohol, Misa Baclayana is an old musical score believed to have been written in the 1800s.

But a lot of credit must go to Maria Alexandra Inigo-Chua, musicologist, professor, researcher and author of “Kirial de Baclayon Ano 1826: Hispanic Sacred Music in 19th Century Bohol, Philippines” (Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2010). Her study focuses, in particular, on the “Kirial de esta Yglesia de Baclayon” dated 1826 which contains Mass cycle compositions used in the liturgy of the Catholic Church.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Noynoy presidency: With ‘grace of office’ comes every blessing needed

Philippine Daily Inquirer/FEATURE/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

IN SPIRITUAL LANGUAGE it is called “the grace of office.”

Could presumptive president-elect Sen. Benigno Aquino III and the nation that has apparently elected him by a landslide count on that?

It is said that when God invites or calls an individual to undertake a task, He also provides him the grace to carry out that task or calling.
“The grace of office” has often been used in the context of a religious vocation, especially for those in leadership positions, their imperfections, weaknesses and reluctance notwithstanding.
Biblical times and even contemporary history have seen ordinary persons rise to the task, strengthened only by their belief in God’s calling and their faith in the accompanying grace that would help them carry out their destiny.

There were those who rose and fell, as there were those who fulfilled their mission with humility and obedience.

In the case of Noynoy, will this special “grace of office” carry him through, and how?

The Inquirer interviewed theologians and others active in Church ministries for their thoughts on Aquino’s all-important mission.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

:-D LOL: Noynoy-Nognog and other election funnies

FILIPINOS ARE KNOWN TO ALWAYS FIND AND create humor even during the bleakest of times, poke fun at the serious, ridicule the sublime and the ridiculous, make jokes and puns out of serious situations and at the expense of persons. Once again the recent elections and the moist-eyed candidates (and their campaign ads) became fair game for the jokesters, punsters and hecklers, and so far, no one with a victim complex has filed a libel complaint or damages for psychological cruelty or intense embarrassment that caused sleepless nights and agoraphobia.As they say, ang pikon, talo (the easily piqued is a loser).
Blogs, social networking groups (Facebook, etc.) and e-groups had a heyday circulating the jokes, some of them merciless. Jokes can work for or against their target victims. Former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada decided to use many of these on his own person as a reverse tack when he ran for president in 1998 and got away with a best-selling “Eraptions.” When he later got convicted for plunder, the joke was on him, literally.

I’ve had a great time reading and listening to the 2010 election jokes and laughing out loud (that’s what LOL stands for) even by myself. Even the hard-nosed Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) came out with a serious well-researched piece on this Filipino preoccupation. It’s titled “Joke the vote, pun the bets” by PCIJ interns Camille de Asis, Ivan Lim, Mark Tare and Angela Poe. The writers provided in-depth analysis and context.
The piece begins: “Barring last-minute surprises in the election count, the Noynoy-Nognog tandem will lead the next casting at MalacaƱang Palace in the next six years, according to funny-boned Filipinos.
“Nognog, dark-skinned Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay in real life, will also be installed as the country’s “first black vice president,” they say.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Noynoy’s green agenda

FIRST, let me say that one of the two presidential candidates that I rooted for will soon be President of the Republic of the Philippines. As they say, it’s all over but the proclamation.

Last month, Greenpeace and EcoWaste Coalition released the six presidential candidates’ answers to the 2010 Green Electoral Initiative (GEI) questionnaire and gave overall rankings based on the candidates’ stand on environmental issues such as climate change, solid waste, chemical pollution and consumer safety, sustainable agriculture and genetically engineered crops, water, forests, nuclear power, mining, etc.. No other advocacy group had asked the candidates to put their agenda on an issue in writing and affix their signatures. The responses were evaluated by a team.

It is worthwhile to evaluate the responses of Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” C. Aquino III who will soon begin his journey with this nation. Aquino ranked fifth in the green survey, trailing behind Perlas, Madrigal, Gordon and Villanueva. But the ranking did not mean an endorsement or rejection of anyone.

Aquino answered all except Part X (“Your environmental track record”). Here are some questions and answers:

Q. Your first environmental act during your first 100 days in office.
A. Certify as urgent for the legislature to enact a law, a mandated by the Constitution, to delineate once and for all forest lines in the country, as a clear basis for the crafting of a comprehensive national land use policy, as well as for the definition of watersheds and fragile ecosystems.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Avalanche of non-biodegradable campaign trash

MOST OF US SHOULD NOW BE feeling suffocated, assaulted and violated by all the election campaign ads imposed on us. They appear non-stop on TV, radio, the Internet, cell phones, e-mail. They have congested the airwaves and Cyberspace. The streets are covered with campaign posters, banners and billboards. Wall space, posts, trees, railings, street dividers, electric and phone cables, the sky above and the earth below are filled with vote-for-me posters and hangings that could fall on you anytime.

On Wednesday, an electric post in Quezon City fell under the weight of campaign paraphernalia. In the area near the public school where my voting precinct is, there are now tens of thousands of hanging faces and names and the heavens around there have been obliterated from view.

Only in the Philippines. Only in the Philippines where this practice is prohibited (except in designated areas) is the law against it ignored and violated.

But there are places that are the exception. Several weeks ago, on the way back from a whale shark (butanding) interaction in Donsol, Sorsogon, the Inquirer Outdoors Club passed through Naga City. I saw how clean the environment was. There was no campaign poster in sight. If the law could be enforced there, why can’t the Comelec enforce it elsewhere? Here in Metro Manila, billboard anarchy rules.
Time was when campaign paraphernalia were made of biodegradable materials such as paper and cardboard that got washed away with the rain. Now they are made mostly of non-biodegradable materials such as plastic that can withstand the elements and remain in the environment for as long as many lifetimes. It’s an environmentalist’s nightmare.
Some weeks ago I passed by a city hall and saw a huge pile of tarps, posters, wood and bamboo frames that had been removed from areas where these were prohibited. Maybe those campaign paraphernalia were taken from just one small street and yet what a huge pile they made. After they were taken down, I’m sure replacements were put up right away. How many times have I taken down the posters nailed on the electric post in front of my gate? The next morning another candidate’s face occupies the vacant space.