BEDKO: Art and COVID

Highly acclaimed visual artist, Edbon Sevilleno, shocks the public with his out of this world creative concept for his show at the opening of DASUN, a group exhibition at the Art District in Mandalagan, Bacolod City. This exhibition is also in celebration of the 30th year of Visayas Islands Visual Arts Exhibition and Conference or VIVA ExCon, the Visayas-wide biennale which started in 1990.

Bed of Dreams

These past few months of quarantine, Maestro Edbon, had kept snapshots on his phone (and in his head) of his daughters lying in their bedrooms while browsing through their smartphones. An image or habit that has become a norm in the time of quarantine, hence the inspiration for the show’s title: BEDKO.

From that imagery, it dawned on him that when one is in isolation, the mind of a human being never wants to be isolated or restrained. It craves to imagine, it continues to create, it wants to communicate. It wants to travel to places. Places and universes even the physical body couldn’t wander about.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit the hardest and city borders were controlled, we paused, some stopped, and some unfortunately succumbed to the virus. It shocked humanity. It brought changes, very drastic changes in our jobs, our plans, our ongoing activities—our dreams. No matter what manner of coping one did, it is important that we have reacted; and, whether we reacted well or not, here’s hoping that one did what one had to do.

The Assemblage

At the centre of Edbon Sevilleno’s The Black Room / Studio 57, is the exhibit’s star, the “bed of dreams” (or bed of ideas, howsoever you want to interpret it). Surrounding the bed are different works from past to present: The Obreros Series, Collages and Montages, Kalye Art Series, and new works and installations conceived during the quarantine period.

Crazy Poor Asians

The “Obreros: Mga Balatyagun para sa Mamumugon” is featured in commemoration of its first launch on May 1, 2010 (Labor Day). A brilliant way to revisit the show from ten years ago which paid tribute to the farmers and their everyday struggles. After over a decade, let us ask ourselves what has changed in the plight of our farmers? Are they still living in poverty while the hacienderos have become crazier and richer?

Lagaw-lagaw, Pinta-pinta

Edbon Sevilleno is known for his Kalye Art. He is always inspired in the exploration of the everyday life on the streets or kalye, be it at the Bacolod Public Plaza, Binondo St. in Manila, or some spice market in the Emirates. Included in this series are paintings of houses from the ’30s and how different they look at the present time. It’s interesting to know that the wooden framings used in these paintings are remnants from the same subjects/houses.

The new installations are inspired by the coronavirus quarantine protocols. Liquor bans, lockdowns and police/military visibility on checkpoints, border controls, are all evident on these works. What’s exciting is the artist’s 57-page coffee table book that is still in progress. It’s called, “Riit”, which can be translated as something eerie or spooky.

Visit Edbon Sevilleno’s BEDKO: Sadto|Subong|Kag Dasun Exhibition at The Black Room / Studio 57, Art District, Mandalagan, Bacolod City. The exhibit runs from November 6, 2020 – January 6, 2021.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EdbonSevillenoArt

Kusinata: Back to Nature, Back to our Roots

The name Kusinata is a portmanteau word derived from the blend of words ‘Kusina’, which means kitchen, and ‘Ata’, one of the indigenous tribes in the Philippines. The Atas (or to some dialects: Aetas, Agta, or Ayta) are one of the earliest known settlers in the country. In the modern-day setting, they are living in mountainous areas around the archipelago.

This unique ethnic fusion concept was conceived from Chef Jay Grey’s college research paper about the indigenous peoples on the island of Negros. Now spearheading as Kusinata’s resident Chef de Cuisine, he works closely with our Ata brothers and sisters, providing them culinary skills training and jobs where they work as hosts, cooks, and servers, adding great value to Kusinata’s diverse and vibrant team.

Since it opened almost two years ago in the Municipality of Don Salvador Benedicto, they have become known for its ever-surprising, taste buds-teasing menu, thus their fearless introduction of transportive flavors, like the Tamalata, a redefined version of the Mexican Tamales and Shakshuka, their own take and style of this famous Mediterranean dish.

Kusinata’s advocacy is not only centered on the Ata indigenous people but also on supporting local produce, sustainability, and nature preservation. Kusinata is also tapping products from farms toiled by Atas to be used as ingredients for the restaurant’s food and beverages.

A weekend meal with the family at Kusinata is truly an amazing back-to-nature gastronomic experience whilst enjoying the majestic canvas of the Malatan-og Mountain and the Malatan-og Falls. They take early table reservations for Friday to Sunday, 8am – 5pm; but if you missed to book or you just happen to pass by the area, walk-ins are welcome too.

Location: Brgy. Kumaliskis, Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental
Reservations contact: 0995 915 9229
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kusinata/

Image credit: Kusinata

Music In The Time Of Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the archipelago in January of this year. Local flights got cancelled and so were the major events. Inter island travels ceased and so were the mass gatherings. City borders were closed down and so were the music bars and restaurants.

Don’t Stop The Music

Music died a little for musikeros and music lovers of Bacolod; but it certainly died a lot for many whose main source of livelihood come from playing music in bars and hotel lounges, singing at weddings, performing at fiestas, and the likes.

The country endured the lockdowns. People stayed at home. The borders were militarized and so people were frightened to deflect from quarantine protocols. Girls and boys started gardening as a hobby and a week later they have memorized all the mighty fine names of the plant kingdom, familiar or otherwise.

How do we keep the music playing?

A New York City-based Ilonggo, who happened to be stranded in Bacolod because of the lockdowns, teamed up with Rebecca aka Rated R, a local singer, and together they thought of normalizing the ecosystem for the local musicians through a weekly virtual musical show without flouting community quarantine guidelines.

It was a spur of the moment thing which started with a quick creation of an online event on Facebook. However random the idea was, the intention and fervor to help out local musicians were already in order.

Rated R[ebecca] and friends

The show is entitled, FLOW – Acoustic Soul Wednesday Live Session, and the concept is to feature Rebecca and friends to perform some of the most loved classic and contemporary music acoustically every Wednesday during this quarantine period.

The attempt is to replicate the musicians’ “old normal” grind back when they used to go to a regular gig, dress up to serenade a wedding, or jump up the Masskara stage. The show producers wanted them to do things they have missed doing like setting up their instruments together, doing sound checks, and a quick rehearsal before performing to a live audience, albeit virtual ones this time. The gig comes with a car service (if needed), food and drinks, and a talent fee, just like the good old days, so to speak.

It’s been an amazing run, thus far, and the weekly show has been joined by such talented and down-to-earth local musicians. On the other hand, the show has also gained overwhelming support from friends’ brands and businesses. Bless them for their kindness, generosity, and support for the art of music.

Stay safe and stay kind

During this coronavirus crisis, every performance from FLOW’s guest musician is a story of hope, courage, and longing; and, you, the audience and supporters, have become a part of their stories.

So the next time you see one of our local musicians, ask how they are doing and let them feel that they still and always have your support–our support. If they happen to be active online, try to engage them and let them know that we value their artistry and that we shall overcome this pandemic together and we’ll sail through.

FLOW – Acoustic Soul Wednesday Live Session is LIVE every Wednesday, from 8pm onwards.

Follow Rated R’s page here: https://www.facebook.com/RatedRMusicBacolod/

Casa Castillo Denia

Casa Castillo Denia is a beautiful village house situated at the historic Barrio Les Roques in Denia, Alicante, Spain. The property is right next to the Denia Castle and the city centre, hence its name.

Denia has a population of about 42,000 and mostly consists of locals. The locals of Denia are known to be friendly, calm and close knit people. Denia is also part of the Costa Blanca or the White Coast which stretches to over 200 kilometres along the southeastern Mediterranean coastline, from Denia in the north to Torrevieja in the south of Alicante. 

Casa Castillo Denia can accommodate up to five persons and it sits right at Barrio Les Roques, Denia’s traditional neighborhood–for a feel of the Spanish culture and charm. As for some traditional Spanish gastronomic experience while in Denia, head to Calle Loreto; this lane is filled with a great mix of enticing restaurants and cafes.

Casa Castillo Denia is a two bedroom, two storey home that’s perfect for staycations. Completely renovated and well maintained, it is equipped with a SmartTV, high speed WiFi and air conditioning. The rooms are cozy and spacious and there’s a terrace on the top floor for barbecues or some quiet reading time over tea. 

Other must see places in Denia are Punta Raset beach and Port of Denia, both are 15-minute walk from Casa Castillo Denia. If you’re looking to visit Ibiza, Mallorca or other nearby islands, ferry rides at Port of Denia departs daily.

Please visit this link for more photos and to reserve and book Casa Castillo Denia: https://cutt.ly/casacastillodenia

Images: Costa Blanca Rent

Silver Skies of Manggapuri

Last January, a convoy of high school classmates (now lifelong friends and brothers even), headed for a Recollection (spiritual retreat) at Manggapuri Villas in Don Salvador Benedicto, a quiet, mountainous town in the northern part of the province. We travelled for about thirty minutes from Bacolod City, where we assembled and had lunch.

For many of us, it was the first time we saw each other since March of ’95, our secondary school graduation from Don Bosco Technical Institute in Victorias City. While some stayed in Victorias and Bacolod, some went to universities in Manila and Cebu. We all sort of “moved on with our lives”. Over the last 25 years, we have traversed our own adventures, romances, sagas, soap operas, and fairy tales, so to speak. 

Quite a number of our batchmates are based overseas but we try to organize an occasional catch up over food and drinks either in Manila or in Bacolod. But that day, January 29, was no ordinary day. We have reunited once again after twenty-five years—our Silver jubilee. 

We weren’t complete though as others can only come later for the alumni homecoming and the unforgettable affair we organized in a hotel ballroom to pay tribute to our former mentors, which, to us, was the highlight event of what our batch has prepared for our turn to host.

The event we organized was entitled, “Our Teachers, Our Heroes.” It was a very rare moment that we got to party with our past teachers and they came in superheroes costume, too. There were fun games, contests, lucky draws (every one of them won something), singing, and dancing. We’re glad that they really enjoyed their time with us, but the truth is, we enjoyed it more. And as the title suggests, they are indeed our heroes and we will always be grateful to them. Always.

Manggapuri has spectacular views, that’s a given, but the hotel resort was most appropriate for our Recollection because of its undisturbed atmosphere and it has its own charming chapel on top of the property. One of the facilitators was also a batchmate of ours, and he invited two other priests to have a talk and share some modern life lessons from the scriptures before he officiated the mass. Saint John Bosco must be so proud.

The venue was booked entirely for our batch from afternoon until the morning of the following day. Manggapuri has seven rooms of varying sizes and it can comfortably accommodate up to 42 guests. It is a stunning venue for weddings, debuts, team buildings, staycations, and other special events. Guests are welcome to bring their own tents.

Another great and important facet of Manggapuri is, of course, the food. The kitchen crew is spearheaded by Chef Lito Manlait. He has been with the family of the owners of Manggapuri for over twenty years. All the dishes that were served for our merienda, dinner, and breakfast were simply delicious. Snaps to Chef Lito and his very friendly, accommodating, and helpful team.

Manggapuri faves: Tablea – which they grow in the family’s hacienda; Puto Maya – with hints of ginger, sugar, and salt; and the Beef Trotter in ginger and tanglad (lemongrass).

As mentioned earlier, that was no ordinary Recollection and get-together for all of us. We bonded together like brothers. Nobody was above anyone and everybody showed each other equal amount of love, acceptance, and respect–just as how Don Bosco treated the youth, all youth.

We were blessed with glorious weather, brilliant facilitators, terrific venue, picture-perfect skies and sunset, fantastic food and spirits, and the very memorable experience of togetherness while reminiscing all the happy, naughty, and funny high school memories. What a lovely celebration of friendship, love, and camaraderie! That won’t be the last time for sure.

Don Bosco – Victorias Batch 95 aims to continue its outreach programs and civic initiatives across the country. Find out more HERE.

Manggapuri Villas
Booking contact numbers: 034 2139282; 0917 3010599
Email: chiflores@msn.com