A Simplified History of Traditional Theatres in the Philippines (Part 3)

At the height of the localization of the komedya, Dario Cepedes came to Manila in 1878 bringing with him the zarzuela, a Hispanic musical performance following domestic or ordinary people’s stories.  The origin of this performance form is vague. However, the recognized origin is Isagani Cruz’s narration that the zarzuela started in Spain as sainete or an intermission performance in a comedia. Like the komedya the…

The Intramuros Project

On 8 June 2019, I reported about the OVCRD-funded project titled Performing Heritage/The Intramuros Project. The project officially ended on 15 June 2020. The entry below is an excerpt from the final report submitted to OVCRD and a short excerpt of the documentary-drama developed by the research/dramaturgical team. Excerpt from the FINAL REPORT: Performing Heritage…

Performing Heritage / The Intramuros Project (The Project Brief)

On 1 April 2019, the project “Performing Heritage/The Intramuros Project” commenced. Funded by the University of the Philippines Diliman Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Development, the project is both an ethnographic study and a performance of ethnographic data about cultural heritage development. The goal is to problematize the concept of heritage via…

Pampanga Colonial Churches; Baroque, Rococo and Neoclassical (Part 1 of 2)

I am Kapampangan and I am proud of my heritage. Most of the time, many Filipinos associate Kapampangan heritage with food. One of the most articulated cultural stereotype (in a positive sense) of a Kapampangan is her skills in cooking (hmmmm, Atching Lilian embodied!). This is also the reason why Pampanga is commonly associated as…

Manila, Entangled!

This post is an excerpt from my book Buhol-Buhol/Entanglement: Contemporary Theatre in Metropolitan Manila (Bern et al: Peter Lang, 2017). ENTANGLEMENT is persistent in Manila’s historical narrative. Travel writer Pico Iyer has observed many contradictions in the city of Manila. For instance, he describes the gallery going to his hotel room as an extraordinary space since: “on…

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, an Indian Architectural Wonder

Early July 2017, a colleague from the University of the Philippines Diliman passed on a daunting task of delivering a lecture on digital humanities in Mumbai, India. The task was terrifying but the thought of Mumbai was seductive. Mumbai is one of five Indian cities in my bucket list (the other cities: Delhi, Agra, Goa,…

Stasis & Mobility: Launch Speech

Last night (19 October 2018), Stasis & Mobility: Nasa Dugo Natin Yan?! (An Exhibit on Philippine Genetics and Culture) was launched. The exhibit poses a general question: what is the role of culture and the environment in genetics? As I indicated in the program notes/exhibit catalog, this is not the first time the relationship between genetics and…