Saturday, December 8, 2012

Santiago, Change .org, Quiapo and a gig

The primary destination was The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, where our group was invited to perform at a Thanksgiving Party. But as in most of our trips to Manila, while brief, we try to make it as worthwhile as possible. So instead of leaving just in time to make it to the 5:00PM call time at the Fort Strip, we left Baguio just before sunrise to first go to U.P. Diliman.

A couple of members in our group never had the opportunity to know Santiago Bose who passed away 10 years ago, so despite the tight schedule, we made sure to stop by the Vargas museum where an exhibit of the late artist’s selected works was ongoing. The artwork that welcomed us said “Welcome to Baguio.” We all felt right at home immediately. For the next hour, I watched my children and the rest of the members of Open Space experience the magic of Santiago, slowly going from one multimedia work, print, oil painting to another.

It was great to see an animated image of Santiago Bose again, on a television that played a loop of an interview he did with a news agency. I love the part where the interviewer asked Santiago about the significance of a particular number on one of his artworks, obviously expecting an elaborate one - the bad boy of Philippine art simply replied, “it’s the number of my house.”

With founder, Ben Rattray
From the exhibit, we went to meet Ben Rattray, founder of the petition website, Both our schedules were tight – he had to catch his flight out of the country while we still needed to make a trip to Quiapo for a piece of equipment needed for that night’s performance. Despite the rush, the exchange was meaningful, encouraging. was the site where we published out petition for Sting to take his concert out of SM-MOA and to another venue. And by the time this article comes out, we would be already on our way to Araneta Coliseum where the concert has been moved to watch Sting’s Back to Bass concert.

After a brief stopover at Quiapo, we made our way to the Fort Strip. We were invited to perform at a Thanksgiving Party by the owner of the Cheese Steak Shop with whom we shared a common advocacy – the fight against corporate greed.

And for three hours on Friday night, December 7, 2012, surrounded by among Metro Manila’s busiest watering holes, the group sang Baguio’s songs – and at one point, for a few minutes, newly found friends, guests and even passers-by stopped and listened as the sound of gongs filled the air and we sang, with all our heart, “Kami’y nananalangin, Kabunyan kami’y dinggin… kalikasan ay i-adya sa lahat ng masama.”

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