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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Königs, Salida and the Handuraw experience

Maria Eleanor Elape Valeros
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Königs, Salida and the Handuraw experience

Handuraw Events Café in Mabolo has been identified as “artists haven" for having established itself not only as a significant venue for gigs and album launchings by independent Bisdak musicmakers, but for film viewing by independent filmmakers as well.
Over the weekend, I sneaked into the works of our brilliant local short film makers, and potential makers of full-length movies, aside from listening to the musical creations of Bisdak hip-hoppers König, The Untouchables and Dice and K9 Mobbstarr.
Handuraw (Sugbuano for “the power to imagine”) catered to the quarterly “Salida”, a film showing activity featuring ten short flicks mostly done with a portable video-camera by members of Sinebuano, a group of independent filmmakers here in Cebu with Benjamin “Benjie” Ordoñez at the helm.
In between sneaks, youngbloods that composed rising indie bands performed as inspired by the bubbly Zarah Smith who owns and manages the “artists haven”. A light jazz to alternative rock to rock artist herself, Zarah uses Handuraw to support fellow artists in terms of stage exposure and the harnessing of their craft – music, filmmaking, and other forms of art.
Films screened include the works of Jurly Maloloy-on, Jr. ("The Witness" and "Sila" with Denis Judilla and Benjie Ordoñez), and "Kadauwan" (Everytime It Rains) by Benjie Ordoñez that employs the music produced by the kubing (jaw harp) of indie reggae band Balde ni Allan. Also featured were "Mata" and "Pusod" by Cheryl Baldicantos, "Zwangtta" (Korean word for loser) by Michael Barrientos, "Miko" by Paolo Dy, "Night Shift" by Kevin Go, and "The Haunted" by Jerrold Tarog. Wit and promise of quality films speak for Victor Louie Villanueva, creator of "Naglaway" (he says saliva-ing, not salivating!) and his "Bitin na Pagmamahal" (Interrupted Love) that won second place at the Smart Short Cuts award. I would expound on these local filmmakers works in another article as soon as I am settled with my sources and materials.

The Handuraw experience

Zarah and I were talking of the Handuraw Awards up for grabs from among a crop of indie musicians that already draw people to hang out at the year-old Handuraw, aside from the four-year-old Kahayag, its sister establishment.

There will also be a featured Artist of the Month. Both searches would consider text votes as the responses would help Zarah and her staff determine who to give the center stage and the awards to.
Also, for the V-Day that lovers look forward to, Handuraw will have "Singled Out!", a matchmaking game that intends to pair off a guy musician and a gal from the audience. Zarah said that Handuraw is working very well with RCTV Channel 36 on coverages, and that some of the songs sung by guests are played over Smash FM 93.1. Handuraw has established tie-ups too with local dailies in the promotion of gigs and show bangs at the two cafés; with San Miguel Corporation, Globe, Ayala Center, Mulatto for "burloloy" giveaways, and Island Souvenirs.

We also moved on to rates on how much would the jamming studio cost if, say I’m not regular but would want to play with my band there before we hit center stage at Handuraw and play original songs. Zarah said it's P200 an hour for non-regulars and P150 for regulars, and also the karaoke that’s sure-fire hit on weekends. Mondays to Thursdays the rate is P200 an hour, and Fridays and Saturdays P250 an hour. Operation is called off on Sundays, Zarah says, so everyone could take a rest.

Zarah also pointed out that budding artists in all forms all over the Philippines are welcome to play at Handuraw. One thing nice about the firm is that whatever input the entrance fee would pool, the amount would go to the artists playing so to support them in a way. Also, musicmakers are allowed to sell any original songs in CD compilations at Handuraw.
Soon, the events café will come up with a Luna affair, which would allow guests to be "lunatic for a night." Luna will feature ethno-tribal bands, poetry reading, chanting and reciting spells and charms, palm reading, Tarot reading, belly dancing and if possible, would want another fire dance to happen.

Right when the film viewing was about to start, I had a sample of the Handuraw pizza, specialty of the house, served by a courteous crew. I went gaga over the float on my root beer (God knows how much fancy I have for root beer!). After three slices of pizza, and burping, a Caucasian woman offered to eat some of my “getting cold” pizza. I declined from sharing her some, thinking that Zarah, with her plate left on the table, would return to get a helping. I got (a bit!) pissed off by the ways of that Caucasian woman, but I was not really in a fighting mood that time. Besides, if I would entertain such, I would be breaking pact with the club to behave and keep my cool and tame my tongue when on coverage, representing this publication. Okay, so I think I did a good turn, and saved myself from further trouble. For three hours, I was able to allow her to accost my ego.

For three times, she went to the ladies room, and for everytime she gets about an inch a distance from me, she would blurt out “thanks for the pizza that's getting cold”. Hey, is she weed high? I said I’m not givin’ her any. I knew of Badjao beggars, but Caucasians? They’re not supposed to be indigents, right?

I just let her watch me enjoy my “getting colder and colder pizza that gets tastier with this super hot sauce” washed down halfway with coffee and flushed through and through with root beer. I was thinking of getting her name as my journalistic orientation tells me to be straight and factual, but boy, Königs was already around to spit some rhymes. I dropped the thought, awright, but the pizza? Did I see myself passing it around to the brat pack? Get a feel of the Handuraw experience and that Handuraw pizzamania, but don't ever give in to the charm of a famished Caucasian woman.

Königs in the hauz, now!

If you’d been out on the streets during the latest Sinulog festivity and happened to pass by the vacant lot where the old SSS building was, and heard three young men droppin' rhymes: “Nganong ni-enter man! Nganong gisugdan! M’o na karon asa na man, natanggong nas prisohan/naay kwartahan sa rehab gipadala’s ginikanan/tungod sa bisyong way ayo daghan nang nawad-an,” then you had already had a sample of the novelty hip-hop fusion created by Königs (pronounced Koi-nigs, a German-Swiss term for “kings”).

The trio composed of Naw-t-dog, former rap group Brownian Method member, along with hypemen Garvie and Brent, he shares same neighborhood with in Talisay City, are just three of the young people given a chance at Handuraw to shine with the launching of their debut album “Nganong Ni-Enter!”, a Bisdak punchline meant to lambast a person into substance abuse, living a life fit for the bins.

After editing hard news on gangsters and warring youth in rival fraternities that make so many lives miserable these days, seeing Königs perform back to back to back with other indie groups like Pringols who wrote their songs "FAQ" and "Road to Nowhere", Jimicycle with "Bakasi" and another rap hip-hop group to watch – The Untouchables - was a respite! Seeing them passionately hoompin’, oompin’, thoompin’ to their music gives me enough reason to believe that there still is something good that can come out of what is already considered a community issue - our mostly emotionally tormented youth.

Apart from the lack-of-opportunities angst the group is talking about in the tracks of their 12-track debut album, they promise to move on to conversations on peace in their next album and to maintain their stand never to encourage the gangstah themes in their songs, unlike hip hop music in Western culture. I discussed with them the possibility of creating in their songs inspiring images that would boost the morale of young ones – the legion of supporters of Bisdak music. As you could see, hip-hop music has had a social impact on the demeanor of modern youth. But, the trio proved to have indulged in worthwhile endeavor with the raising of funds for charitable works.

By writing the theme song for the SOS Village, an orphanage, and for having "Nganong Ni Enter!" featured in the Philippine Red Cross Album, the group had contributed in raising funds for charity.

8 years occupying a space @ The FREEMAN

Eight years ago, I was issued a paper cutter, a pen, a pair of scissors and a stapler and showed my place where I would start my job, officially, as proofreader.

Technically, I am on my ninth year if I have to count my one-year residence as correspondence for both The FREEMAN Capitol beat and for BANAT NEWS Barangayan section. But as a regular employee, the stint turned eight last January 26, Thursday.

It all started when Mrs. Sonia Cobarde of the University of the Visayas showed me the road to The FREEMAN. She was first of those who believe in me, instrumental in making me what I am now. Then, after I had proven to be of great help as stage manager and writer of UV’s Comparza 2000, director Allan Jayme Rabaya allowed me to write a column entitled “Seasons”. For a time I lost it to cost-cutting measures, but through TF Lifestyle executive editor Ms. Marlinda Angbetic-Tan, I did a comeback via "A Space in Space".

Back in the mid-90s, armed with a certificate in computer literacy studies, I was juggling with odd jobs – from errand girl for a Briton whose Pinay wife left him, to stocks inventory clerk for a gift shop in Buyong, Maribago; to computer encoder for a data capture company.

Before I became part of this organization, I used to drop by at the Philippine Information Agency to check on this paper’s Environment page, Cultural/Historical reports, and Science and Technology – the latest in computers, technology transfer, and updates on what was then a new world to explore: the Internet. Little did I know fate would bring me here, and provide me a niche in here.

First time I came here, I marveled at what Guttenberg had contributed to the world. The roaring and rolling of printing machines became a new genre of music to appreciate. Each machine had its language, had its stories to share like a war veteran babbling of babbles fought, of medals donned. It’s as if each would tell me, “I was here long before you learned to read and write! Innumerable issues that extend to the concept of the Extra-Extras had been printed out of my gut, recording historic events that connect the present to its past: a vital witness how men and women-chroniclers, in a working team, collide minds to minds and purge their creative juices.”

Working with the best minds in Cebu has helped me come up with outputs that bring out the best in me. I am counting now not how far I still have to go, but how far I have already come.

Thank you Ma’m Sonia for believing in me back when you first noticed me in your Communication Arts class. Thank you Sir Allan for allowing me to manage the staging and the storyline of Comparza – a UV tradition. When you told me you like my style of writing because it speaks so much of this child in my heart, I fused your inspiration with that of Sir Vince Escario to come up with literary journalism I would want to propagate.

Thank you also to Sir Nimrod for making things possible in my transfer from a two-year writing stint at the marketing department to copy editing of hard news. Thank you too Sir Jerry for your mentoring - guiding us on "what’s news from what’s not" and on how to bring the best in every lead paragraph. And thanks to a few workmates I have come to be endeared with – Faith, Vener, Joy Ulla, Maribeth, Chenise, Stephen, Garry, my soulmate Winly. Thanks for keeping your mouth shut in my moments of insanity!

Above all, to My Awesome Omnipotent – you know I’d long locked pinkies with you with all those mountain climbing pursuits I did to deal with my personal issues and You. Thank you for enlightening me that more than burned sacrifices, you desire a humble and grateful heart!
Thank you readers for making me a part of your reading habit and for trusting The FREEMAN to supplement your need to be well informed all day, everyday. One of you assured me that despite me being a cinder compared to other writers with big names: “a cinder yes you are pinay_mangatkatay. But a cinder who made some ripples in the river of life that made people like me smile.” Another one texted me after I printed the story on how I had inspired through this column the formation of Saypung, a group of mountain climbers in Babatngon, Leyte and how the article went its way to the vice mayor’s desk depicting environmental crime that happens everyday at Mt. Magsalangit and Mt. Magsaigad “to effect a following indicates only one thing. You make some sense. Diyutay ra kahimo ana.”

Because of you, my passion for writing becomes as intense as this passion I have for mountain climbing.


For your comments, reactions, suggestions and contributions, crank up my email addy:
pinay_mangatkatay@yahoo.com. For feature requests, text 09215323616. For previous articles, visit www.pinaymangatkatay.blogspot.com. Thanks!


KÖNIGS IN THE HAUZ, NOW! Photo by Chendrina Villarino Rosaroso

Handuraw Events Café - Artists Haven. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO