@your SiRVis... Simon Francis Blaise R. Vistro wants to be known as SiRVis (an amalgamation of his name, profession and penchant for service). He is a polymath wannabe in the fields of training and education, civic voluntarism, sports, arts, travel, photography and social networking. Born and raised in Dagupan City, he is a staunch advocate of the preservation of Pangasinan language, arts and culture. Follow me on: Twitter. Facebook, Tumblr, Plurk.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ghosts in the time of Facebook

Repost from: Philippine Online Chronicles Buhay Pinoy Channel

Celebrating_undas
Uso pa ba ang mumu sa panahon ng facebook? Nagiging passé na rin ba ang ghost stories tulad ng friendster?
Modern na nga raw ngayon kaya halos lahat ng kababalaghan at nakakatakot na kwento ay hinahanapan na ng scientific explanation. Bihira na rin siguro ang sleep-over at outdoor camping kung saan ang highlight ay ang kwentuhan tungkol sa multo. Text at babad sa internet na kasi ang uso ngayon. Kung sakaling may get together naman, madalas mga gadgets, lovelife at political ek ek ang topic.
Napakayaman sa kwento tungkol sa kababalaghan ang Pinoy. Isa tayo siguro sa mga lahing maraming alam namythological creatures. Walang panama ang mga ghosts, vampires, at werewolves ng mga dayuhan sa ating mga kapre, bungisngis, mananangal, ekek, tikbalang, tiyanak, at aswang (na napagkakamalan o naipagpapalit sa ibang halimaw tulad ng wakwak, balbal, kubot, tiktik, mansusopsop, at sigbin). Specialized din ang mga masamang espiritu tulad ng multong pasatsat (kung tawagin sa Pangasinan) na siyang nakabalot daw sa banig.
Naaalala nyo pa ba yung kwento tungkol sa “White Lady sa Balete Drive?” Noong college days namin, nagtapangtapangan kami at sinubukan naming dumaan doon sakay ng Ford Laser ni Rob pauwi sa apartment nila sa QC. Kakatapos ng gimik naming sa Greenhills noon. Palibhasa puro kami lalaki at medyo nakainom na rin kaya napagtripang i-explore kung meron ngang multo doon. Walang aircon yung kotse kaya ramdam namin yung lamig ng hangin. Madilim ang daan noon at tila tinatago ng mga dahon at sanga ng mga puno ang liwanag ng buwan. Hindi madrowing ang mga mukha namin pagkadaan dun. Lahat tahimik at nagpapakiramdaman. Wala kaming nakitang white lady pero nakakakaba nga kasi minsan mapagbiro ang imahinasyon lalo na’t iniisip namin na baka masiraan yung sasakyan sa daan at magpakita nga yung mumu.
Kung tungkol sa multo ang paguusapan, sikat ang Baguio dahil sa iba’t-ibang lugar tulad ng Diplomat Hotel, PMA grounds, Teachers Camp at ang Loakan Road. May eerie effect kasi yung lugar- malamig, foggy at mula pa noong panahon ng Americano ang mga kinakatakutang buildings na nandun. Sikat din ang mga lugar na sinasabing haunted dahil sa kalumaan nito. Nandyan ang Malinta tunnel sa Corregidor, Intramuros sa Manila, Ruby Hall at Valentine Hall ng Central Philippine University sa Iloilo at ang UST Main Building kung saan ako naglagi ng apat na taon noong kolehiyo.
Sumikat din ang mga nakakatakot na pelikula at TV show noon. Kung mapanood mo uli ngayon sasabihin mo nga corny o baduy. Inaabangan at kinakatakutan ang Pinoy Thriller (with matching mala-LSS na intro: “Ano ang nasa dakong paroon, bunga ng malilikot na pagiisip, likha ng balintataw o halaw mula sa daigdig ng kababalaghan…di kayang ipaliwanag ngunit alam mong magaganap…”) at Regal Shocker. Sa pelikulang Pinoy naging sikat yung Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara, Halimaw sa Banga at Shake, Rattle and Roll (na nasobrahan na yata sa sequels). Ang mga hinding hindi ko makalimutan na pelikulang Ingles noon ay The Exorcist (kung saan umikot ang ulo ni Linda Blair), Evil Dead, Amityville at Stir of Echoes.
Dinadaan na lang kasi sa digital effects ang shows and movies ngayon pero yung mga plot ay halaw sa mga lumang kwento. Pati mga vampire stories ngayon puro patweetums na lang tulad ng Twilight movie series at Vampire Diaries. Umuso sandali si Sadaku at mga iba pang Japanese and Korean horror kaso nagfizzle out din.
Marahil demystified at trivialized na ang mga multo at mga kwento tungkol dito sa panahon ngayon. Natawa nga ako nung may binalita sa Balitang Amianan nung isang araw na may aswang sa Malasiqui, Pangasinan ayon sa mga nainterview nilang mga residente. Ngunit hindi ko maisantabi ang mga pinamahaging personal experiences ng aking mga followers and friends sa twitter at facebook.
Kwento ni Regiele: “When I was working in a call center, I used to stay in a female dormitory. There was this time when I was alone and I woke up at 3am. I was surprised to see the shattered pieces of glass mirror which were scattered all over the room. This was a big glass mirror but I never heard anything at all when it fell on the floor. The wind could not knock it down as the mirror was big and heavy. No one could have entered the room and break it because the room was locked inside. At that instant, I looked at the window and saw what seemed to be an old man at our gate. I swear he was staring at me. When I looked back again, he was gone in a split second.”
Si Mylls naman nagpost sa facebook wall ko at nagkwento tungkol sa closest encounter nya sa multo noong second year college siya. Mga alas otso ng gabi daw noon sa barangay Pogo, Calasiao, Pangasinan. Nakakita siya ng white lady na naglakad patungo sa kanya. Mukha daw madre na walang mukha. Lumulutang ang multo ngunit dinig na dinig ang yapak nito. Sa takot nabuhat nya ang mountain bike na dala nya habang mabilis na binaybay ang kawayang tulay na umuuga-uga.
Tungkol sa kapre naman ang kwento ni Becca Jane. This year lang daw ito. Hindi daw nya makakalimutan ang nangyari sa hipag nya na siyang sinaniban ng kapre. Ayaw niyang maniwala nung una pero nung actual nyang nakita ang pangyayari naniwala din siya. Nakakatakot talaga ayon sa kanya. Ang hipag niya ay may open na third eye at nakakakita ng multo.
Sabi naman ni Grace na taga barangay Pantal, Dagupan City na noong April 4, 2001, alas dos ng madaling araw nakahiga sila ng ate nya sa sala. Naalimpungatan siya at nagkaroon ng premonition na magbrobrowout. Pagkaraan ng ilang minuto, nagbrownout nga. Narinig nya na parang may taong nagbukas ng bahay nila (sarado yun kasi nilock ng mommy niya bago umalis). Pumasok yung inakala nyang tao na may maingay na footsteps at parang may kadena at takong yung sapatos. Nakakumot si Grace ngunit nakita nya ang anino na huminto sa tapat niya. Nung una akala nya nananaginip siya ngunit nagulat kasi tinanong ng ate nya kung sino yung pumasok. Hindi nila pinansin yun at pagkaraan ng kalahating oras, dumating yung mommy nila at binuksan pa ang pinto gamit ang susi.
May multo pa ba sa panahon ngayon? Oo. Bahagi na kasi ito ng ating kultura at hanggat may magkwekwento at naniniwala dito. Ang mga multong ito ay maaaring mga mahal natin sa buhay na yumao na at nanganagilangan ng dasal. Pwede ring mga sinanunang tao na siyang nagpapaalala ng history ng lugar. Ito rin ay pwedeng kathang isip o matinding imahinasyon lamang o di kaya panakot lang ng ating magulang at mga nakakatanda. Maniwala man tayo sa multo o hindi, ito ay nagpapakulay sa ating pagka-Filipino at nagpapaalala kung gaano kasarap at kahalaga ang mabuhay.

Photo courtesy of WikiPilipinas.org

Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Luke!


How does one describe a glorious sunset? Or the meticulous metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a majestic butterfly? Or the exquisite transformation of double helixes to become a unique individual?

Beyond words. Beyond realms.

If I were God, Luke is one of my greatest treasure and masterpiece. Could I describe the moment as life unfolds?

Beyond words. Beyond realms.


Cosplay in the Philippines: Conversations with a Pinay Cosplayer

Repost from: Philippine Online Chronicles Buhay Pinoy Channel


cosplaying1
As a boy, I used to dress up and pretend I was Superman. On weekends, I would wear my favorite blue shirt and slip on my red brief over my pajamas. I would rummage through our closet for a towel, drape it on my back and use it as a cape. I tried so hard to look like my idol that I even wore “kiss-me” locks like Christopher Reeve. I’d fly off chairs and jump off flight of stairs. I was the Man of Steel! Want to know what my green kryptonite was? It was the unfinished homework that my maternal grandmother, Mamang Manding would follow me around with. But oh boy, it was so much fun playing dress-up and make-believe! It was well worth the bruises, sprains and aches from falling and stumbling.
When I got tired of being the “Red Blue Blur,” I became Sho Kosugi!  Watching so many karate and ninja movies at Jade Cinema in Dagupan City made me want to be a ninja. My friends and Iwould wear t-shirts over our heads with the hole for the neck that would reveal only our eyes. The sleeves were knotted together to keep the shirt from falling off. We improvised nunchucks from Johnson’s baby powder containers and plastic rope. Our katanas were bamboo poles, rattan stick or rolled-up newspaper. Our shurikens were folded scrap paper. We fluttered like butterflies as we climbed trees and hid in dirty crevices. We would sprinkle powder as our metsubushi. Then, poof! -- we were gone!
Pinoys like to mimic their idols – real or fictional. They wear costumes, role-play and emulate their idols’ actions and mannerisms.
cosplaying2_monique
Birthdays, United Nations celebration and Halloween used to be the only occasions we could “legitimately” strut about in costumes. Today, children and adults dress up and cosplay for different events. Companies even employ cosplaying as part of their marketing strategy.
My knowledge of cosplay was once only through comic magazines and the internet. This changed recently when on the Rayos Clan page in Facebook, I came across Winnie Rayos-Dimanlig, a distant relative who has a cosplaying daughter named Monique. Within days, I had set up an email interview with Monique.

Monique Dimanlig aka “Geisha Girl” started cosplaying in 2008. According to her, cosplay originated in Japan. It’s where anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese comic books) came from. As people started going to conventions dressed up as their favorite characters, they soon attracted attention and generated interest. The practice eventually spread overseas and became a global phenomenon. With the rise of anime in the Philippines, it was inevitable that cosplay would also begin and flourish here.
What attracted Monique to cosplaying is the opportunity to portray a character. After all, most everyone wants to be his or her favorite movie, literary, video or cartoon character. The appeal of cosplay is that you get to BE that character. Evident in her monicker -- Geisha Girl -- Monique’s favorite cosplay is Geiko (geisha). It has since become her trademark, the character she is now well-known for among cosplaying circles.
Unforgettable for Monique is winning a competition for the first time. It was during Ame 8th Avenue in 2008; it was also her second attempt to cosplay and to “catwalk.” She confessed she was perfectly happy just to compete.“The other contestants were so amazing, really incredible, so winning was really unexpected,” she exclaims.
cosplaying3_edeaAnother hard to forget experience took place during theMangaholix event in 2009. Struck by what she calls as Murphy’s Law, she had a costume fail. Dressed asSorceress Edea from Final Fantasy VIII, she wore a gigantic arch which unfortunately fell apart in the middle of the convention. “There was practically no saving it but as professional artists say, the show must go on,” she laughs.
Monique loves cosplaying so much that her only regret is not having co-splayed sooner.
I asked who her favorite cosplayer is and who she thinks is the icon of cosplaying in the Philippines. At first, she demurred, saying she would have a hard time picking a favorite cosplayer. In the two years she has been in the cosplay scene, she had seen so many people and so many “amazing,amazing” cosplayers, both in the Philippines and around the world. Eventually, she lets on that she holds in high esteem the legendary Kaname from Japan. As far as cosplay icons in the country go, she believes Alodia holds the distinction. Alodia Gosiengfiao, Animax's first ever Levi's Kawaii girl winner in Mad Mad Fun remains the most famous and iconic Filipino cosplayer.
Monique plans to continue cosplaying with traditional characters. But she is capable of breaking the pattern every now and then to try something new.
Her dream cosplay is to become a perfect geiko. By that she means a genuine hikizuri (geiko kimono), with the perfect wig, accessories and make-up -- the works! 
Cosplaying is at once a hobby and passion for Geisha girl. She admits that she really doesn’t earn enough from it to call it work. She would give anything, though, to make it her full-time career, she gushes. But right now, she only gets paid for appearances on TV and magazine articles and interviews. 
Her advice to people who would like to try cosplay is for them to find the character that they would truly love to be.“It’s not about going with the trend or what’s popular. It all comes down to who they feel they want to be and want to portray.” For her, each convention she goes to is like a massive stage. “When people look at you, they should see the character you ought to be,” she asserts. 
When not cosplaying, she adopts a fashion style she describes as “hyper-trendy.” She favors Shibuya-style or Korean pop style clothes, as she loves to dress up and have fun. 
The latest cosplay event where she sashayed as her favorite character was at the Cosplaymania X in the SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia last October 2, 2010. A portfolio of Monique in cosplay can be found on her deviantartmultiply, and facebook page which she updates regularly.
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