Monday, August 27, 2012

What's cooking chef?

Week 33: They are going to the mattresses. They are warriors armed with shiny knives and hot pans. They are fierce. They are merciless. At least in the kitchen. The kitchen which is now made synonymous to 'hell' by the chaotic popular US TV show hosted by the brassy British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. A portion of that notorious address was the scene of the recently concluded Culinary Olympics of the Durian Festival in Tagum City, where hundreds of student-chefs of the various Culinary schools in Mindanao came to fight for their right to be hailed as champions in baking, cooking, and bar-tending competitions. Though they could still take hefty experiences ahead of them, surprisingly many student-chefs already performed a true character of a Kusina master. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kadayawan in technicolors

Week 32: This is the 5th year in a row that i participated in the street dancing revelries of Davao City's Kadayawan festival, capturing the sight and sounds in snapshots. It has become an acquired duty to take part in the yearly celebration, making sure that the calendar is marked with the date every month of august. Even if I lost most of my digital copies of the previous Indak-indak sa Kadalanan Kadayawan because my desktop got reformatted, I could still remember in retrospect the colors and motion converging in beautiful turbulence, pulsating to indigenous beats and screaming in unison the proud Mindanaoan spirits for all the world to hear. The Festival is a celebration of Davao City's harmony in diversity, bringing into the heart of the city the different tribes in one great vibe. In the plethora of photographers from all over the country, I negotiated my way in the crowd to get a better shot.   

Rush of gold

Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to the basics

Week 31: Futsal or indoor football has now set foot in Tagum City. The game, being a variant of football, mostly played indoors, has been around since the 80's. Out shone by the more popular football, it takes a long while for the game to be introduced in the city. Unlike football which requires more running, Futsal with its smaller playing ground (appropriate for little kids), rentails more of the player's skills and strategies. According to the Futsal league organizer, they would recommend beginners to undergo first Futsal before elevating to the wider field of football, not the other way around. In its move to discover superstars in football, the city government in partnership with the Maharlika Group and the Australian Football Association, conducted a Futsal clinic to kid booters in the different barangays of Tagum City and later on organizie a Mindanao-wide league in the future. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

They come in different sizes and shapes

Week 30:

Yesterday my heart broke.

It was just an ordinary school chairs truck load delivery day with Tagum City Mayor Rey T. Uy to Limbaan National High School in New Corella. The sun was migthily up, piercing to the bare skin. The students were in usual pandemonium upon seeing the yellow chairs. Nothing much were noticed since their existing school chairs are mostly in good condition.

In broken record, the Barangay Captain of Limabaan was incessantly coaxing Mayor Uy to reserve the remaining chairs to this remote elementary school of his barangay which was not part of the itinerary of the day. After Limbaan National High, in a narrow dusty road with a casual uphill and downward drive, we were led to Gaudalupe Elementary School.

From afar, the lined classroom buildings looked new and fine. But the moment we entered the classrooms, what greeted us were students and their chairs in different sizes and shapes.  Many of the chairs were in awkward forms that mismatched and misfitted the sizes of the students to the chairs - either too big or too small. One could tell that these children in their fragile bodies were deprived of the comforts that's supposed to be key in absorbing any lessons taught for the day. It was heart breaking seeing children still interested in going to class while seating squatting on stout stall chairs that almost leveled the class flooring.

When they were told to bring their old chairs outside and help in the hauling of the delivered yellow chairs, all things became so swift, so fast. Everyone so excited that the old chairs were outside in minutes.

I just found myself clicking insanely on the chairs clustered under the heat of the sun. These chairs were made by the students' parents, scouring on whatever available materials around. I was murmuring nasty words inside. Cursing. I could even lament on  how it is poorly built, but no.

Suddenly it came to me. The chairs were made from labors of love. The love of the parents to their children. Mustering all there is just to send their children to school and let them sit on these chairs - all that they can afford to make. It is by the way the obligation  of the state to give them access to  decent school  facilities. Yes. Its is the right of a child to have a simple chair and have that conducive environment inside the classroom.

Its been a year now since the Care For School Chairs program started fabricating confiscated illegals into quality made  chairs and other school fixtures. More than 60,000 school chairs were already distributed to the different schools in Mindanao and even in some parts of Visayas and Luzon. It's one year now that I thought these inadequacies were long addressed but Gaudalupe proved to me that there are still a lot of things to be done; double time.

I could lament more, but no. Let the photos describe the chairs for you.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Binuhat creation

Week 29: They printed their t-shirts in big bold letters of BAKLA AKO (I am gay), then paraded all over town waving in flamboyant colored flag, proud and well gay. The third sex in the city could very much flaunt themselves with pride and honor without the fear of ridicule and discrimination. The City Government of Tagum even concocted a grand festival just for them - The Binuhat Festival. Binuhat is the Bisayan term for 'creation'. But the creation in focus here is more of the creative products and outputs they spawned than the creation themselves. Mrs. Alma L. Uy, the head of the Tourism Council of the City have long been recognizing the wonderful  contributions of the gay community to the society. The gays after all, Mrs. Uy added, made her beautiful as well as the rest of the women of Tagum.

The crowned winner of the search for the Queen of the world, Tagum city's grand Miss gay competition, pose for the crowd for photo ops.