Thursday, September 30, 2010

The 7th Sunrise Festival

The Maharlika Artists and Writers Federation annually holds an arts and literary festival officially called Sunrise Festival. This is its seventh year to celebrate the talents of artists and writers with the theme Ylocosining: Hidden Treasures of the North. It is slated on November 24-28, 2010 in the province of Ilocos Norte.

This will be a showcase of great works of respected artists and writers as well as that of budding ones from the various organizations in the country. Several agencies are sponsoring this affair. The Ilocandia Photographic Society is one of the major partners of the said event.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

TIPS holds a nude photo exhibit

After a tough nude photo workshop of the members and guest photographers, The Ilocandia Photogaphic Society is coming out with a nude photography exhibit entitled LABOS...of Fancies and Fantasies. This is a showcase of their great concept, hardwork and preparation shooting the alluring models in their barest and darest poses.

In cooperation with Pangilmania 2, the exhibit will be held on October 30, 2010 Saturday 5pm at the Pangil Beach Resort in Currimao Ilocos Norte. Everyone is invited to this one night engagement.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Seminar-Workshop on Journalism

Despite my hectic schedule during the launch of my book Around the Americas in 60 Days, I yielded to the request of the Department of Education Division Office of Vigan City through DepEd Laoag education supervisor Lloyd Rosquita to be one of the resource speakers for the Division Seminar-Workshop for School Paper Advisers and Campus Journalists. It was attended by around 300 participants from all the elementary and secondary schools of Vigan City.

I met education supervisors Marie Christine Reyes and Felipa Regaspi who organized this program. I was introduced to the teaching faculty members and other administrators.

I was tasked to lecture on photojournalism. I gave the participants tips on how to cover an unfolding event or story and even encouraged the photojournalists to always go on a photo shoot to hone their skills. I was surprised to learn and see that they use the film camera. It was imposed on them to use such to give them a good training on photography. I found that the participants enjoyed watching my photography slide show presentation. I later asked them to go on a shoot inside the campus and developed their film and layout them in the afternoon.

I also discussed feature writing. I shared my experience in writing articles and showed my published articles in the national dailies and magazines. I even showed to them my recently published book. They were inspired. I encouraged them to continue writing on whatever topics. Later, I demanded them all to write a feature article and selected the top 10 best articles.

This was a fun-filled seminar. The participants were so eager to learn. More training should be done for the photojournalists in handling and operating a professional camera.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Around the Americas at the Manila International Book Fair

I got lucky that my book Around the Americas in 60 Days was released just in time for the 31st Manila International Book Fair which was held on September 15-19 at the SMX Convention Center located at the Mall of Asia compound in Pasay City. My book was exhibited and sold here. Majority of local publishing companies and some invited foreign publishers participated in this annual event. That includes Central Books.

I was scheduled by Marie at the opening day for a book signing. I had to make a day round trip from Laoag to Manila to attend this exciting event. It went well. Just right upon my arrival at the site, there were media people from Net25 who were waiting for me. They interviewed me about my book and how was it published. My interview will be aired soon.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Launch in Cebu

Few days before my visit to Cebu City, my book Around the Americas in 60 Days was ready to be distributed. I asked Central Books to expedite the shipment of the copies before I came in. With this trip to Cebu, I grabbed the opportunity to launch the book. We held a very simple ceremony at the Central Books branch located at GV Building in P. Del Rosario St.

I invited Fr. Ricky Acero, CSsR, parish priest of Redemptorist to unveil and bless the book. He offered a prayer for social communication. Mai and Doi with some other people joined the program. I felt very happy when my guests bought two copies individually. I signed the books they bought. According to them, they will give it away as a gift to their friends to inspire them also to travel.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Around the Americas in 60 Days is off the press

Finally after a series of rigorous trials and challenges in publishing that this book went through, Around the Americas in 60 Days is now off the press. It has been released and distributed this month on all the outlets of Central Books located at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City, Glorietta 3 Mall in Makati City, Ever Gotesco in Rector Avenue Manila, main office at 927 Quezon Avenue, Quezon City and provincial stores GV Building in Cebu City, Robinson’s Place in Iloilo City, Aldevinco Shopping Center in Davao City and at Limketkai Mall in Cagayan De Oro City.

This is a chronicle of the author’s solo journey to five countries that include United States of America, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and Peru. Foreword of this book was written by Japanese Tatsu Sakamoto, author of I Made It (Bike trip around the World).

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Muay Thai: The Art of Eight Limbs

On my first night stay in Chiang Mai, I watched a Muay Thai competition at Thapae Boxing Stadium which ran for about two hours. I saw a lot of foreigners coming in to see it. I bought a promotional ticket. Tables were all arranged around the ring and I was ushered in to a seat by a waiter. Everyone can make an order of drinks and some food.

Muay Thai is a traditional hard martial art from Thailand. It is country’s national sport. It is called the Art of Eight Limbs or Science of Eight Limbs. It makes use of kicks, punches, elbows and knees strikes establishing an eight “points of contacts.” A local practitioner of muay thai is called nak muay while a foreign boxer is called nak muay farang. I have seen about four Western practitioners. It’s thrilling to watch because it’s not only men that fight, women also do.

The formal form of this martial art employs two kinds of techniques. One is the major technique called mae mai and the other is the minor technique called luk mai. It is often an art of attrition where opponents exchange blows with one another. This is really a tough boxing art where injuries to the body cannot be avoided.

There are some ceremonies perform before the match or competition. A practitioner wear a cape with rolled headband before they climb up the ring. Some has to pray and others perform wai khru ram muay which is an action to show respect in Thai culture that is performed by the practitioners.

This form of martial art has been around for over a thousand years ago which was said to have started in Ayuthaya. This has evolved from ancient boxing called muay boran and a weapon-based art of krabi krabong which were used by Siamese soldiers during battle. Some of the esteemed skillful boxers were invited to come to live in the royal palace to teach the art to people of the royal palace. They were able to establish royal muay which is also called muay luang to protect the king, royal family and the country.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Oh My Chiang Mai

From Yangon, I went back to Bangkok to take my flight to the northern part of Thailand. We touched down in the afternoon at the local airport of Chiang Mai. I went out of the airport and looked for the regular transport to the town center. I paid only a small amount compared to the taxis on waiting.

I roamed around the city downtown. I saw the Tapae Gate which is a historical landmark. I saw many tourists walking around too. I went to see some food to eat then later went for internet. I scouted for travel agents who offer a good price for an elephant safari and a Chiang Rai tour. I found Boom travel with Pranee who speak English. She gave me a very reasonable rate. I got her tour package because she was friendly. Then I checked in at Chinda house which I rented one room for 200bath. At night time, I watched Muay Thai, a traditional martial arts, at Thapae Boxing Stadium. It’s thrilling to watch because it’s not only men that fight, women also do.

Chiang Mai is located in the Kingdon of Lanna or Northern Thai. Chiang Mai means new city and is popularly known Rose of the North. It is the largest and most culturally significant city in Northern Thailand. Its laid-back charm primarily attracts the visitors. It has cooler weather because of its mountainous base. The city is situated on the Ping River a tributary of the Chao Phraya River and its located 700 kms from Bangkok.

The following morning I was picked up by a van with a group of visitors from my accommodation on to a Chiang Rai adventure. We visited the Golden Triangle where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos shares border. After coming back to Chiang Mai in the early evening, I went to shop for some souvenirs at the night market.

Then a day after, it was my Elephant Safari experience which I enjoyed so much. It was very Thai to see many elephants. I went on a ride with an elephant going up and down the hills and crossing the river. Watched elephant show. Had bamboo rafting, visited a waterfalls, orchid and butterfly farm and the Lisu tribe village. In the early evening my good Thai friend Baralee Mesukh whom we call Cee, met up with me. She took me to the one of the oldest Buddhist temple called Wat Phra Singh. She treated me for a dinner with traditional Thai food at an old resto. We reminisced the good times of our ship experience in Japan and to other ASEAN countries. Lastly, she sent me off to the bus terminal. I bought a ticket and I was surprised to learn that they had a different year 2010 was 2053 for them. I bade her goodbye and headed back to Bangkok.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shinbyu: A Buddhist Novitiation

It was so fascinating to observe the monks. They live a vow of poverty so no luxury is being enjoyed. They have to ask alms from the people in the community for their group’s subsistence. Prior to living the religious life and following the monastic discipline called Vinaya, one has to undergo a novitiation ceremony.

As we ascended the topmost part of the Shwedagon pagoda using the long escalator and stairs, we meet a group of people going down who seem to be in a celebratory mood. There were three men carrying three individual boys in a decorated costume, leis, headdress and an umbrella. They were also made up yet with red lipsticks. I ran to find out what was the ceremony all about and was revealed to me that the boys were baptized to become monks.

A special rite of passage called Shinbyu is celebrated by many Burmese boys when they enter the monastery for a short time as novices or monks. The parents of boys really make it appoint that at their son’s age of 7 or older, they are admitted into Buddhist Sangha by performing this ritual ceremony.

Shinbyu has a symbolic procession and ceremony of exchanging royal attire with that of an ascetic. It follows the historical Buddha where he was born as a prince but left the palace to find the Four Noble Truths and achieve Nirvana. The boys are expected to stay at the monastery for the Buddhist teachings for a few weeks or longer. They can return when they reach the age of 20.