It’s a month for arts, culture and food!
My mother instilled in me a love of the arts. From childhood I was surrounded by books and music, whatever Mommy could provide me despite our limited access to such things when we lived in the Middle East. Whenever we came home to Manila, she brought me and my brother to museums and shows. She taught me to love theater and film.
Fortunately, I went to the University of the Philippines Diliman, and met like-minded people, writers and book lovers and history geeks. These classmates and college friends became colleagues and business partners, editors and co-writers, movie and theater companions.
It was with this group of friends that Oneal and I saw Mabining Mandirigma, “A Steampunk Musical” about the life of Apolinario Mabini.
The play itself was nothing amazing, to be honest. The story was a mess, the music felt aimless and the production design did not feature the steampunk we were so excited about. The cast was amazing though, and we all felt the producers missed an opportunity for alternate histories and a romance between the title character and Emilio Aguinaldo.
What was really memorable, though, was the ranting that followed! Our friend TJ was the one who suggested the play in the first place, and he was most excited about seeing a locally produced steampunk play. He was also the most violently disappointed, and he said as much in quite a lot of words when he wrote his review. I remember our commentary on the Kawit Commandos, and our dashed hopes when it came to Antonio Luna’s bronze arm. There was also much confusion over Mabini’s wings and litter!
Ayala Museum and Little Tokyo
My brother turned 25, and to celebrate we went to a free day at Ayala Museum. There were so many people, and it made us happy to see such long lines at the museum.
We saw three or four exhibits before we got hungry. We went to Little Tokyo for a lovely Japanese lunch, and explored the little compound that housed other small restaurants.
We went back to Ayala Museum, and it was so full that they couldn’t let us back in! We were disappointed that we couldn’t see the rest of the museum, but I was happy that so many people were interested in the free exhibits. We could go back some other time.
Historical films are always interesting to me, and local historical films are, regretfully, uncommon.
There was some buzz about this movie called Heneral Luna, and to my surprise, my best friend Dante asked if I wanted to see it.
It was a pretty awesome film. Much has been said about its impact, its inception, and the guerrilla marketing that led to the social media blitz. It helped that I had just seen Mabining Mandirigma, so the history was still fresh in my memory. And I was very lucky to meet lead actor John Arcilla a few months later.
Check out the rest of the recap: