Saturday, September 7, 2013

Festival of Lights, Bamboo Flowers and US Ambassador Thomas

Bohol’s Festival of Lights, Dance of Lights
When Harry meets Mabi and friends
Bamboo Flowers Red Carpet on Oct. 26

Scene: Multi-awarded Boholano lyricist and composer Jimmy Borja posted on Facebook: I want to share some good news with my FB friends. My song is the title and theme song of the new TV series "Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin" which will start airing first week of September 2013 on ABS-CBN (Philippines) and on The Filipino Channel (worldwide). This song is the second most recorded that I've written after "Sana Ngayong Pasko". Lani Misalucha's version was the one that made it immensely popular, and there have also been other stellar versions including Jed Madela, Martin Nievera, Nyoy Volante, etc. I still have a clear recollection of the night I wrote "Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin", it was at Boy Morala's recording studio in Makati where I was the resident songwriter in the mid 90's. Jude Michael who was then a Polycosmic/Polygram artist at that time had asked me to write a song for him. I wrote it on a Korg X5 keyboard, it came together pretty quickly, I got the melody and lyrics in about an hour. I did a quick worktape/demo of it and Jude cut it on his CD. It was not a single but a few years later, it found its way to Lani Misalucha through her producer Ben Escasa who was also Jude's producer. And since then, the song just exploded. It's been a blessing, I can't thank God enough for it.

Scene: Our dear Ruth “Neneng” Udtohan (Nov. 4, 1983-Sept. 9, 2001) is lovingly remembered on her 12th death anniversary. Treasured in our hearts you'll stay, until we meet again someday.

Bamboo plant grows abundantly in our country. It is known for its flexibility and versatility. It can be used in making furniture, musical instruments, kitchen utensils and other items for practical use.

Courtesy: Bamboo Flowers/Facebook
I bet you didn’t know that bamboo grass bears flowers. In Loboc River, bamboo flowers are hanging like chandeliers.

But what some people probably don’t know is that when the flowers bloom, the bamboo dies.

In northeast India, the people fear bamboo flowering. According to an ancient belief, when bamboos flower, there is death and destruction.

That is what Bamboo Flowers is all about. A film by Boholano certified master director Maryo J. Delos Reyes will be screened during the Sining Pambansa National Film Festival All-Masters Edition this week.

The film’s Facebook account says, “The film talks about the youth's problems, hopes and aspirations; about love and life; about sacrifice, forgiveness and acceptance; about life and death.”

There is a popular saying, "The Filipino is as pliant as a bamboo." The bamboo is generally considered pliant, and symbolically it has been compared to the Filipino character. The Filipino character is similar to the bamboo because it has flexibility, endurance and harmony with nature. Like the bamboo grass, people bend with the wind, surviving the many trials in life.

Bamboo Flowers premieres on Sept. 8 at SM Megamall, Cinema 7 and opens at SM Theaters Nationwide starting Sept. 11. There will also be a special Red Carpet Premiere at Island City Mall, Tagbilaran City in Bohol where the film was shot in its entirety on Oct. 26.

Outgoing US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr. loves not just music but also the environment. In his visit to Bohol, he went to barangay Taloto in Tagbilaran City last Friday, Sept. 6, to know the efforts done in the Mabaw Reef Pride Campaign.

Photo taken from the Twitter account of Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr.
Finally, Ambassador Thomas met the famous Mabi, the clownfish mascot of Mabaw Reef, who has been making the rounds of elementary schools and other reef conservation activities in the province since 2011.

And Mabi also brought his friends, Meloy (a panther grouper or melo-melo) and Agaw (a threadfin bream fish).

The Taloto schoolkids had a great story teller as Ambassador Thomas read to them a story about the importance of marine environment.

Mabi, who has a Facebook account, posted, “I'm very excited to see you in this very significant event.”

The Mabaw Reef Pride says that it is a 84,339 sq. m. patch reef, about 3 km off the shores of Taloto, Ubujan and Manga in Tagbilaran City and home to more than eight species of Acropora corals and 70 fish species including the orange-and-white clownfish, locally known as bantay botbot. It has been declared a no-take zone marine protected area (NTZ-MPA) by the city government through an ordinance enacted in April 2006.

RARE, an international conservation organization, with its Philippine office located in Bohol, is organizing the event.

Ambassador Thomas also visited the Bohol Crisis Intervention Center and Garden Cafe. He praised Garden Cafe as he posted in his official Twitter account (@AmbHarryThomas), “Great food, better business! Eat @ #gardencafe - opportunity by and for the deaf in #bohol started by @PeaceCorps volunteers.” He also posted Garden Cafe’s menu.

Courtesy: Rey Anthony Chiu
Ambassador Thomas said he missed Bohol.

 "Farewell #Bohol! Leaving with memories of gracious ppl, success stories from @USAID_Manila & partners @Rare_org."

Ambassador Thomas’ visit to Bohol maybe his first and last as an ambassador. US President Barack Obama has appointed Philip S. Goldberg as Thomas’s successor.

Loon Mayor Lloyd Lopez expressed his gratitude for the huge success of this year’s Festival of Lights.

Special mentions were the organizers, participants and the Loonanons here and abroad for joining the whole event.

Courtesy: Rey Anthony Chiu
Loon’s festival of lights is one of the most important and religious festivals in Bohol calendar and a visit promises unforgettable memories It is one of its kind in the Philippines because the street-dancing is done at night. 

The street-dancing competition is held in honor of the town’s patron saint, the Virgen de la Luz or Birhen sa Kasilak (Our Lady of Light). 

Unlike most street dancing competitions, which are known for their colorful costumes and props, Loon’s version is very challenging and different.

The emphasis is on the lights, how to make it move and dance.

This year’s festival had six schools and three barangays contingents. They wowed their crowd in the street-dancing...and they danced their way to the 260-year-old Nuestra Señora De La Luz Church, the biggest church in Bohol, where the contest would culminate.

Courtesy: Ric Obedencio
The people appreciated the entertainment and jaw-dropping sight of the dancing lights. The beat of the drums and lyres also added fanfare during the night.

One contingent carried sakayan with lanterns shaped like baskets and fishes. The dancers used traditional candles underneath the lanterns. The lanterns were shaped into flowers, leaves and bulbs.

Of the school-based category, declared winners were: Sandingan National High School (grand winner), Sta. Teresa High School (first runner-up) and University of Bohol- Loon (second runner-up).

A fireworks display capped the event.

Take a bow, Mayor Lloyd Lopez!

Take a bow, Mr. Reigh Monreal and friends for a job well done!

Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at, follow leoudtohan at Twitter /Facebook.

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