Sunday, July 25, 2004


Sharing a stage with indie filmmakers Kidlat Tahimik and Khavn de la Cruz was an invigorating experience. The three of us talked about "Voices of Independent Media" to a huge audience at the PICC (that edifice whose sprawling dimensions triggered memories of Imeldific excesses).

Passion for creation, expressed in words and images, characterized our three speeches and presentations. It was great to be in the company of creatives who sought to advance certain critical agendas. The combined pedigrees, including all awards, honors and recognitions, was enough to underscore the fact that critical acclaim follows truthful and excellent work (and it was surreal signing autographs for people for whom our words and works actually made a difference). Khavn poked fun at the Palanca Awards (having won 3rd prize in 2001's Futuristic Fiction category for "Ang Pamilyang Kumakain Ng Lupa"), and well we should - because if one is focused only on winning awards then that is a poor way to go about life (next month, by the way, will have many writers waiting for Palanca telegrams with bated breath).

I like Khavn a lot, he's almost like a dark image of me - if I gave my artistic impluses full rein. Like Noel Lim, he gives independent Filipino cinema an occassional kick in the balls. Besides, who can not admire someone who created a film about a self-mutilated castrati who walks the streets of Manila?

When Kidlat bounced around in a traditional Ifugao bahag (loincloth) and told everyone that he was a "father first, then an artist", it got me thinking about my own circumstances: what are my priorities? What am I first? The truth is that I am not a writer first, since family and business are more important to my life where I stand at this moment.

But sometimes, the siren call of craft is irresistable and defies any structured totem-poling of priorities. And without it, I'd be crippled.

I was invited by Vim Nadera, the director of the UP Institute of Creative Writing to set up an exhibit at UP when I'm available, and to be part of the annual Writer's Night in a few months. After being out of touch with the literati for quite a while, I was quite impressed by Vim's performance art, mixing poetry and street dancing to further expand awareness of our cultural heritage.

So, in short, feeling writer na naman tayo. Kaso lang, pagdating ng Lunes, balik sa negosyo. Ganyan talaga, kaya (ahem) "okey lang".


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