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Notes On The State Of Filipino Society

(By Eddie Romero)

The political, economic and ethical conditions that prevail in any community are essentially reflections of the dominant folkways and corresponding predilections of its people, for these, manifestations of primal instinct evolved out of shared experience through many generations, constitute the semantic framework with which the laws of governments and the canons of organized religion are understood and, by tacit consensus, how faithfully observed.

Formal institutions do not exist in a moral vacuum, and however impersonal they may be intended to be, can only ensure observance of their laws and rules through some degree of coercion, the mechanisms of which are wielded by people who are themselves creatures of native culture, with all its virtues and flaws. It is a condition that heavily influences the course of a nation's history, including the types of leaders who play prominent roles in them. Ambiguity, after all, is the universal human trait without which the eternal struggle between good and evil could never have spurred that endless succession of small and epochal events (and their consequences) which we call progress and civilization.

A Saving Ifugao's Pride

(By Eva Govena)

The Ifugao Rice Terraces are the proud manifestation of Filipino ingenuity as seen through the man-made stairways almost reaching the skies. Perfectly accenting the Cordillera mountainsides, the wondrous terraces were intricately fashioned by the Ifugaos using their bare hands.

It's not hard to imagine how the famous terraces of Ifugao province achieved global prominence and recognition as the eighth wonder of the world. All that have been said and written about the Ifugao Rice Terraces reflected deep admiration for the rich cultural beliefs and practices of the Ifugaos, notwithstanding, of course, their indigenous skills.

It's saddening however to think that its natural beauty and cultural richness are slowly fading because of socio economic and environmental conditions threatening its existence. There have been reports that the rice terraces are slowly collapsing along with the ancient customs and beliefs of its people. From this alarming situation came efforts of the government and some advocacy organizations to restore this significant fragment of world heritage.

Confessions Of A "Rock Journalist"

Confessions Of A "Rock Journalist, or Some Disjointed Ramblings on Pinoy Rock 'N' Roll (By Eric S. Caruncho)

"Most rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read."

The above is a quotation from one of the more astute observers of popular culture that rock 'n' roll has produced, the late Frank Zappa. The reason I am opening this rather rambling disquisition with it is that I have the same quotation framed and mounted right atop my word processor, perhaps as a reminder of the essential absurdity of the enterprise of writing about pop music.

For better or for worse, and much as I loathe the term, I have been saddled with the (I must emphasize, unwanted) occupational label of"rock journalist" for more than a decade now. At dinner parties, I am inevitably introduced as "so-and-so, the music writer" at which I have to suppress a cringe. One particularly misguided soul has even referred to me, in print, as "the dean of rock journalists."(I'd much rather be the Dean, capital D, of rock journalists -- you know a rebel without a cause. But hey, even I'm not that pretentious.)

Quo Vadis San Miguel Comedia?

(By Christine F. Godinez-Ortega)

Being forced into retirement after nine years due primarily to lack of financial support from the community, will the San Miguel Comedya (play of San Miguel, originally called Yawa-yawa or devil-devil) survive well into the next millennium? Academics who were in the Iligan City National High School (ICNHS) auditorium on September 26, 1996 to watch the revival and the only performance of the San Miguel Comedya couldn't help but ask the question. Some also took note of the deeper meaning into the comedya and what values this theatrical form carries for the Iliganon.

Out of curiosity at how the comedya will turn out that night was good reason enough to rush through dinner with friends, Ricky de Ungria, Bobby Timonera, Tony Tan and Nancy Carvajal. We all wanted to be on time for the comedya's revival three days before Iligan City celebrated Michaelmas honor of its patron saint, St. Michael the Archangel on September 29.

Today, and for many reasons, it barely survives elsewhere in the country. For instance, Dr. Erlinda Kintanar Alburo, director of the Cebuano Studies Center, said that the comedya, popularly called "linambay" in her hometown Carcar, Cebu, stopped being performed in the early '70s. She attributes the death of the "linambay" to the diminishing landlord-tenant relationship, thus not fulfilling the play's original function anymore.

Revivalism And Modernism In The Music

(By Ramon P.Santos)

At the 19th Conference and Festival of the Asian Composers League held in Taipei in 1998, Jose Maceda and Chou Wen Chun, two of Asia's leading figures in music composition and philosophical discourse, discussed their views on Asian music. They focused on Asian music "renaissance," and made references to the artistic life of 15th and 16th century Europe, a period characterized by the revival of a Greek classical heritage after the fall of the Byzantine Empire.

Citing the dynamic confluence of ideas that evolved through a sense of freedom as well as the exposure of artists and scholars to cultures outside their small territorial enclaves, Chou took a more guarded position in submitting to a parallel observation on post-colonial Asia. His reservation lies mainly in the fact that Asian musicians still adhere to European paradigms in music theory and practice, blurring the link between modern Asian sensitivity and pre-colonial Asian aesthetics. In an earlier publication, Chou had emphasized that "Asia-Pacific societies must stop thinking colonially of catching up with the West [and must instead] discern how they can contribute culturally to a new world order."(Chou 1994)

Maceda, on the other hand, took a more pragmatic view by interpreting the current artistic and musical dynamism as inspired by a renewed awareness for the great achievements of Asian peoples and civilizations. He pointed out that a search for continuity through the rediscovery of distinctions and kinship in Asian philosophy and aesthetics indicates a revitalization of Asian culture and the arts in contemporary times. He particularly cited the development of intellectualism among Asian music artists and scholars and a renewal of rational inquiry into a vast plethora of musical literature of complex, irrational taxonomy (see Maceda 1995). Maceda further implied that the confluence of ideas and attitudes and a cross-cultural fertilization that occurred in the European Renaissance between Europe and West Asia may be perceived in the same light as the encounter of two hemispheres in Asian societies today that brought dramatic changes in the expressive life of Asians, or to a lesser degree, the artistic interaction in East Asia during the T'ang dynasty.

 

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