Sunday, April 30, 2006

April 2006

The month has passed quickly. Each weekend has been busy. A baseball game on the weekend of the 22nd. A party on the 29th.

Have recently picked up bowling and that is why I have been not writing here. Bowled a 135 game just this past Thursday. Although rock bowling is not fun as I could not see the lane markers.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mutya & Maguindanao Masters

Mutya. The Allelulia Panis Dance Theater performed Mutya yesterday at Yerba Buena Gardens of the Art. Mutya means the pulse of life in all being. Mutya can refer to the the pearl-like object that is born from the heart of a banana plant during the holiest day of the year. Mutya also refers to the female energy. I am familiar with the term through "Mutya ng Pilipinas" a beauty pageant in the homeland.

ng babae,
ilalim ng saging

ng buhay,
pulso ng katauhan

kababaihang kaluluwa
nangangailangan sa lahat.

Alleluia Panis' vision is to create dance / theater works that define the artistic identity of thee Pilipino-American people. From what I saw in "Mutya," Alleluia succeeded where others have come up short.

To define culture is to define jell-o. You can try to capture, to hold, to limit it, but in the end, you need a larger Tupperware to hold everything that it encompasses. To represent a people's experience in a dance, well, it is almost impossible. The Western tradition of >ballet and modern dance take little pieces of history. But you know, Pilipinos just don't think small. Thus, we have the Mutya Project, which is due in January 2007.

Whereas Philippine folk dancing is way to look at the past of Pilipino ancestors, Pilipino post-modern dance must incorporate the present day reality of the Pin@y experience. A Pin@y in San Francisco would more often than not be the child of an immigrant. The Pin@y would have come from the middle class or lower from the Philippines. Money will be an issue of survival. For most, education will be the only vine to save them from the quagmire of poverty. For some, gangs and drugs will be knife that harvests their lives.

The goal is to encapsulate that world, reconcile it with the ancestral past, and create a work of art that will inspire.

It is not an easy task.

Beginning. The dance began in the dark like most of us began life in the womb. Three dancers wrap their bodies in a T'nalak, abaca fibers woven into silk like texture. Elements of pangalay accompany the music through the movement of the hands. Three t'nalaks were attached at their ends such that a triad spoke is formed. [Imagine a wheel with three radial spokes instead of the forty or so. ] The cloth limits the body movements of the three dancers. The dancers can not leap, they can barely jump. A slow clockwise rotation. A counter-clockwise movement to change pace. Was this dance the representation of Pilipino-Americans and their multi-faceted identities of Probinsiyano, Spanish, and American? The abaca t'nalak tie the identities into one. The t'nalak ties represent the history of the colonization and the subsumed probinsiyano or regional identity so prevalent in Philippine society.

Meanwhile, the rondalla music played in the background. "In the key of off ," remarked someone. The rondalla group played the traditional folk music. Before the performance, the band played extremely well. There was no hiccup at all. But during the whole Mutya performance, there were problems. The musical notes had a dissonance. At first I thought that it was simply an error. After all, musicians playing in the dark can pluck the wrong string. But, the error kept repeating itself. Finally, I glanced over at the band and noticed that a new player had joined. I don't know if he was out of tune or if he was making the mistakes. But the sound was definitely wrong. Because of the off-key playing, the performance of the dances was affected. Also, there did not seem to be any coordination between the music and the dance.

As an aside, this seems to be so true of Pin@ys. In life, in music, in dance, we are so bound by rules. The music must stop here, because the creator of the music only created 64 bars of music to be played. Rules do not allow our younger musicians, students or children to improvise and learn and expand into making the music their own. If an art of an image does not follow the rule, it is not Pilipino. The adherence to the rules make us disciplined adults. But it also keeps us from enjoying life.

The first dance concludes with a dancer entwining her feet in the triad of t'nalak. As she slowly spins, the t'nalak wraps her feet until she can only spin as slowly as the triad of dancers spun. The dancer spun slowly away from the stage into the far left corner, away from the light, away from our eyes.

More next time…

Monday, April 03, 2006


Jing lives in Germany; A Pin@y in a foreign land about to be remade into the image of the Philippines. I pity those Germans. They don't know what they are in for.

Exhibitionaist. Sagittarius. Sporty. Lover of men. coke addict. Prude and proud of it. A connoiseur or snot and boogers. Transfilipina is the Pin@y Blogger of the Day on the 3rd of April in the year of the Pin@y 2006.

Living from Death

Death. So final. So absolute. You exist one minute. You don't exist in another. Death is the liquor of life. Death stops you, makes you rethink of where you are going and where you have been. Death simplifies things for you. What you thought were so important now are trivial. Tears shed because of something said are tears wasted for self.

I spoke to Marianne Villanueva. last night at the Bayanihan Center in San Francisco. In the spread of the conversation, she asked, "Where is your mother?" As a reflex, I said "She's dead." I detected discomfort in Marianne's face. I added hastily, "She's been dead a while so I have gotten over it."

To recover, Marianne asked, "And your father?" Strike two. I replied, "He's dead also. It's been twenty years." Marianne replied "Oh."

In the Philippines, death is celebrated. Celebrated not like the New Orleans celebration. Celebration with food and with massive amounts of flowers. The flowers hid the smell of the dead. As embalming technology got better, the flowers stayed as a measure of the dearly departed's value on this earth.

Cancer. Tumors. Of all the diseases, the degenerative diseases emphasize much more than other diseases the regression of an adult into infancy. Before technology managed to balance patients on the slim line of life and death, parents left the world suddenly and unexpectedly. But with better nutrition and vitamin pills, more and more we see our parents become infants before our very eyes.

I was frightened when I saw my father's body be reduced to skeletal proportions. I knew as a teen-ager what was happening. It was the cancer. Or the treatment for the cancer. I wondered whether I would end up the same way. More importantly, I wondered whether or not patients are conscious when they are dying. Are their minds still as sharp? Are they trapped in a veil of fog? I hope it is the latter. Let them have the minds of infants if they are to have the bodies of infants.

In the end, I had to build a philosophical framework to accept my parent's death. One day, I realized that I could slide into the oblivion of despair. I could continuously dream of the things I missed about my parents. I could continue to pine away and wish for their return. Instead, I decided to live. I decided to take what they taught me and use it in my life. I chose to keep them in my heart. Then, they are not dead, or dying or in pain. They are alive, teaching me, counseling me. Making me realize that I have many things to live for.

But death marks your time on this earth. As a child, you hardly ever know anyone who dies. As an adult, it becomes a constant reminder to you. Time is passing. You are on the road to death. What has your life accomplished? What have you done? What is there to accomplish?

So here's to death and dying! May we all accept it when our time comes. May we accept the passing of those close to us. May we give solace to those who are about to leave the mortal coil.
Birth …death. A cycle that repeats incessantly. In a thousand worlds, in countless galaxies. Birth …death. The two sides of a knife. The same side of life.

In our reaction to death, to dying, we see that which is true in the universe.

by Eileen Tabios

[4/2/06, A.M.]

Everything is a relationship.

My family relied on the doctor to cure my father.

The doctor caught my mother in a weak moment and got her to concede, "Yes, he's dying."

I arrived in Los Angeles to hear my mother report on how a doctor discussed the best ways for a man to die, rather than how to heal.

"Doctor," I said in a conversation I plan to have. "Your role is not to advice how a person best dies. Your role is to treat illness, hopefully cure it."

I heard his thought, He's dying.

I replied with my eyes, We're all dying. We're also all living.

The words I said: "What do you recommend for someone who wants to live, with a family who wants him to live?"

Since I last saw her, Mama has sprouted snow on her head.

Mama, ever by Daddy's bedside.

F. beats himself inside his mind for having chided Dad for not eating. Later, we would learn his throat was blocked by so much phlegm he could not swallow.

Tears firmly jailed by the mind.

I beat myself up because I don't want to be here -- where Dad has shrunk to "Daddy" cradled among plastic tubes delivering antibiotics, antibiotics, antibiotics ... and oxygen.

I am glad to be here. He saw me enter his hospital room and his face was suddenly the sun. His arms entwined with plastic tubes reached forth to hug me. I am glad he felt my arms, suddenly trees surrounding him. He hugged me back but I only felt more air.

Kaiser Permanente -- ever stupid with cost-cutting cruelty. One hospital forced my father to leave -- "he's fine; he just needs to go home."

On the way home, Daddy started to have trouble breathing and they turned the car to take him to another Kaiser hospital's Emergency Room.

He is still in the Emergency Room.

Once, the ER nurse asked my mother in sincere confusion, "Why did the other hospital discharge him?"

A new question added to the list of questions which will never have adequate answers: How could the other hospital have discharged him?

My father is better treated at the second hospital.

People matter.

At this second hospital, there is an experienced nurse with the ability to dislodge the phlegm that had been blocking my father's throat for five weeks in the other hospital.

They kept the jar with the sucked out phlegm. Ugly. Yellow. And the last piece sucked out was solid. Ugly. Brown.

"Like a piece of paper," my cousin observed about its solidity.

I would not be able to breathe, too, or swallow with paper stuffed down my throat.

As if my poems remained trapped there as I gasp unsuccessfully to sing.

I would not be able to breathe if my body jailed my poems.

My father is ill and I think of poetry and and and all of that saddens me.

[4/2/06, P.M.]

The conversation unfolded as I imagined it.

I asked, "Doctor, I'd like an update."

The doctor -- this one with a better "bedside manner" than any other Kaiser doctor I've met -- replied, "He's dying. I don't know what update I can give."

My father's youngest son -- my brother -- died unexpectedly less than six months ago. At one point this evening, not knowing where next to turn my mind, I turned to a cousin H. to say, "If my father is to die soon, it's too bad he couldn't have died before my brother. It must be difficult for a parent to witness the death of a child."

In response, H. said nothing.

Belatedly, I remember that H., with whom I'd lost touch over the years, has two children, one age 2 and the other age 5.


Except that since I arrived by his bedside, his condition markedly improved. Within hours after my arrival, he improved enough to be taken out of the emergency room. The technician unplugging his various tubes in preparation for moving him said, "It's always good news to be transferred out of ER."


Later, I joked to Dad about how his improved condition must be due to my arrival. Grandiosely, I emphasized, "It must be my presence!"

He turned his head slightly, pretending otherwise. But his lips smiled.

He had called me a few weeks ago in the midst of delirium caused by his medicines. Not knowing what else to do, Mom had put him on the phone. That's when he scared me shitless by announcing, "I've got a tumor coming out of my nose."

Later, Mom would explain that the "tumor" was the feeding tube inserted through his nose. But, first, he pleaded with me to talk to Dr. G -- the very useless Dr. G -- to take away the tumor. To ease his mind, I lied and said I would. That's when he broke my heart by saying so plaintively, like a child just melting in relief, "Thank you."

As if I had the power to make things better.

The painful, conflict-ridden relationship we had all my life and, despite the criticisms he'd levied, he still believes me to be a bigger person than I know myself to be.

As if I had the power to make things better for him.

I left him nearly 30 years ago. I have finally returned.


Everything is a relationship.

As if I could make things better.

No. Thank you, Dad.

The adult ages into child. The parent becomes a baby. The only difference, I thought as the tossed-aside blanket revealed how thin and ravaged his body has become, is that all babies are beautiful.

It took three seconds for my mind to skid, turn a corner and conclude, His ravaged body is beautiful. The purple bruises and purple lines of collapsed veins caused from too many intravenous tubes. The folds of skin loosened as his inability to eat pares down muscles and fat. The brown age spots. The skeletal legs undermined by lack of exercise. A body that I suddenly realized his daughter can probably carry.

Would carry.

O, Fallen Angel.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

MIsogyny is hatred of women

I finally found Barbara's blog. While reading, I found some things which I did not see in the same light as she did. In her March 30 entry she said:

And as I am interviewed for a F/Pilipino publication in die Niederlande, I am asked, "What are some of the struggles/challenges you face as a Pinay Poet?" To which I have responded: " The recent racist and misogynist backlash I've experienced subsequent to RS's review of Poeta en San Francisco is a very clear example of what we all as Pinay poets are up against. Those resistant to our work and what we mean to say in our work will make it personal, very dirty, and very ugly. They will descend into comments about our exotic appearances, take violent stabs at our sexuality, hurl every racial epithet they can at us, and few who represent the institutions will do a thing about it. I did not believe American readers and writers could descend to this level until we all saw it for ourselves. My/our challenge, though, is not to censor ourselves, for these reactions make it perfectly clear how important our voices and presence are in literary scenes larger than our own Filipino communities, and that we must aspire for our work to change the American literary canon. I sincerely and firmly believe this."

Since I enjoy a good flameware as well as anyone here, I looked over the comments in Ron Silliman's blog. After reading the comments several weeks ago, I have to disagree with Barbara's assessment above. This goes to show you that even though I belong to the pack of coyotes, I can disagree with Barbara's assessments.

1. I have to believe that Ron Silliman's review placed Poeta en San Francisco as a seminal work. Ron's has explained or given his side of the story as to why he does not stop purported "racist" or "misogynist" remarks on the commentary. In short, doing so would amount to censorship. I believe in parallel with Ron Silliman that people can say whatever fucked up shit they want. They just have to deal with the consequences. The comments in the blog make it clear that the people who are giving the comments are not very intelligent, precise writers. They are lucky to be able to string words together into a coherent thought.
2. I did not see a misogynist statement in the comment section. Again, this is where one person can see "misogyny" and another person sees "personal opinion". To me, misogyny would be writings that depict women as hated things. [Hell, I had to look up misogyny because it kept popping up in the writings.] Personally speaking, the comments were dumb comments by dumb people.
3. The "exotic appearance" was from a male [pretty much qualifies the remark as dumb]. As another male, I looked at the episode as one commenter trying to make a joke. Granted of course, this is a male trying to make a joke to another male. "I've never been partial to the Polynesian look" is what I believe the statement was.
4. The poem that Ron Silliman reviewed is

[ave maria]___
our lady who crushes serpents
our lady of lamentations
our lady full of grace whose weeping statues bleed,
our lady who makes the sun dance, pray for us

our lady of salt pilgrimage
our lady of building demolition
our lady of crack houses
santa maria, madre de dios, pray for us sinners

our lady of unbroken hymens
preteen vessel of god’s seed
your uterus is a blessed receptacle.

our lady of neon strip joints
our lady of blowjobs in kerouac alley
our lady of tricked out street kids, pray for us

blessed mother of cholo tattoos
you are the tightest homegirl

our lady of filas and lipliner
our lady of viernes santo procession
our lady of garbage-sifting toothless men
our lady of urban renewal’s blight

pray for us sinners ipanalangin n’yo kamin makasalanan
now and at the hour ngayon at kung
of our death kami ay mamamatay__amen

This is a very powerful poem. It juxtaposes Mary, the Virgin mother of Christ and a prayer of the Catholic Church to the current reality of life in San Francisco. Specifically, it is life in the Mission. The holy and sacred is placed in the context of the mundane, the unimportant, the forgotten and the sexual.

By its very nature, the poem has elicited a response or a reaction from the commentators. Some have shown their non-preference for Polynesians. Some have questioned the juxtaposition of the sexual with the religious. Some have questioned the necessity of the sexuality with the poetry. In one sense, the poem has succeeded in creating conversation about what "poets" believe.

I believe that this is fantastic. The poem is deep enough to elicit reactions from average normal people. The poem shows that women do have power through their sexuality. And in truth, isn't that a wonderful thing?

I forget the rules of law in Jewish society. But if an unmarried virgin was to suddenly be pregnant, I believe the prize for said virgin would be STONING.

But our hero, the Blessed Virgin Mary is not stoned because she is carrying the SON of God!!! BRILLIANT!

5. There is an old saying in the computer world, "Garbage in; Garbage out." What should also apply to this situation is "Garbage processors [human mind]; Garbage analysis".

Yes, there was one wacky person out of the whole bunch. She was crazy and not in a good way. She was clueless. She was stupid. Her arguments like her writing were delusions. But I believe that she was an exception to white America. Most Americans just are not that crazy or stupid.
6. I believe that the comments in Ron Silliman's blog was nothing more than men trying to out man each other. The comments by the crazy white-girl was made by a delusional psychologically disturbed individual. I would not blame the white hegemonic powers nor the other clueless commentators. They are just not that intelligent.

I have to say that in my life, I have met other clueless idiots on the internet. But do I have to take it upon myself to open their eyes? NO. They can go watch a movie. In fact, the movie is "Walking Each Other Home" by Lee Mun Wah.

This is my two cents for whatever it is worth. I write it because even in a pack of coyotes [description used by the crazy-white-girl], there is still dissent… there are different ways of seeing things.

I believe that Barbara has certainly created poetry which elicit reaction. It's an excellent first step. But now, the challenge shifts to how can poetry elicit inspiration in the reader so that the reader decides to change the paradigm of his existence.

POMO Weekend 2006

One of my favorite books is When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe. Set in the middle of World War II, it featured supernatural forces with human drama. However, for me one of the more disturbing moments was when I read about the advice of an old crone to one of the female characters who was raped. The woman said, "You need to let this go. You need to let go of the pain and the suffering. You need to move on." Several years ago when I read this, I wondered how anyone could go on after having been raped. How do you deal with the pain, the humiliation, and the violation? I concluded that the advice of the woman was folly. It was wrong, dead wrong. In situations like these, it was excusable for the person to obsess and become bitter and be like that forever.

Fast forward to this weekend's POMO event held by KulArts. In the afternoon of April 1, 2006, a poetry reading was held at Yerba Buena Gardens. The readers were Marianne Villanueva, Jason Bayani, Barbara Reyes, Jason Reyes, and Joel Tan. There were several striking moments at the reading. What follows are my comments.

1. An excellent question asked by an audience member was why did Joel Tan use frank sexuality in his pieces. Joel replied that in anything, you have to put something out. The most basic of all things is one's own body. So, in his writings, he wants to show everyone who he is. One way to do that is to speak about his sexuality.

2. When Marianne Villanueva introduced her writing, she mentioned something odd. She said that in her writing, nothing ever happens. Nothing is ever resolved. I thought, "Then what is the point of your writing?" And after listening to the short story "Silence", Marianne was absolutely telling the truth when she said that nothing ever gets resolved. The two characters end up standing facing each other in silence.

3. Now an audience member who is an academic from Spain but was born in the Philippines (I did not get her name) later on stated a wonderful explanation for why the two writers above write the way they do. Joel and Marianne are creating a discourse between their writing and the previous literary writings of one genre. For Joel, it would be the gay literature. And for Marianne, it would be feminist writing. This explained a lot to me and my slow brain. You write this way because you are not in a vacuum. You are placing yourself in genres.

4. Jason Perez won the most amusing and most original doughnut prize. He wrote about the experience of a 12th grader in high school dealing with the inanities of life. But, the beauty of the writing was in the way in which Jason named the characters / groups in the story. It wasn't just the gang "Satanas;" it was the gang "Pinoy Sons of Satan." Watch out for this writer. He's funny.

5. After the reading, questions and comments were asked from the audience. I was struck by a statement from the audience. A student thanked the speakers for being beacons of light in a world of darkness. It was fantastic to see Filipinos as models of the community. The student went on to lament that he did not have an avenue to express himself at his school. When asked what school he came from, he said "UC Berkeley." This of course piqued my interest because a Pin@y in Berkeley is in short supply. What type of trouble is this kid in?

The readers however were very helpful and pointed out that there are avenues of things to try. There is Maganda magazine on the campus. And here, our hero-student said that "I am trying to break the he-he-hegemonic nature of Berkeley where everyone is white.

Now, having gone to graduate school where there were very few minorities, I was extremely sensitive to this issue. I myself have had some panic attacks when I thought I was not as intelligent as the other students who came from the Ivy League schools. But after much analysis, I realized that those students can be as stupid and dumb as anyone from Berkeley.

But back to our student who could not prounce white hegemony. I was intrigued by this perspicacious youth. After all, to use hegemony, let alone to pronounce it is a painful mission. But lo and behold my surprise when I finally see that the Pin@y student looked white. The thing that instantly popped into my head was "What the hell is his problem? He looks white. If I were him, I would use that to my advantage." Later on, someone also opined that the student could pass as a Caucasian. Let me be clear about this folks, the student is not meztizo looking. I mean he can really be a whiteboy from Georgia.

6. While the SO and I were eating at Naan & Curry, I happened to try and apply what I learned from Tuhan Joe Arriola. Tuhan said that one must stop reacting to things because reaction is a very basic function. What one needs is to be creative when confronted with complex situations. Tuhan was teaching about money matters. But I decided to apply that to life.

In the case of the Berkeley student, I categorize his statements as reaction. He tries out for parts in a play. He is given the bit parts. He wants the main acting part. The central character. But he does not want to be part of the support cast.

As the Spanish academic put it…"One, are you any good? Two, you need to be the best bit part actor. You can't start as the CEO of a company." I translated that to mean…Instead of complaining about the white hegemonic structure of a King Lear play, you should probably play the non-speaking role of the page first.

7. In the evening, the second part of the POMO / KulArts weekend began with a piece by Janet Stickman. In her piece, Janet discussed the child-abuse by a priest. I don't know if it is autobiographical. But, I would say that it is a great example of giving an audience what it wants. Drama about a pertinent topic currently going on in American society. The piece follows a basic business rule. To make money, give the people what they want.

However, at that point, the voice of Tuhan clicked on in my head. His words were "Those beginning their life's journey ask "What do I want?" Those who decide to go into business have figured out that to be successful in business, one needs to give people what they want. But in reality, to help the community and to help people, what is critical is to give people not only what they want, but also what they need.

And I have this wonderful revelation in my head. The readings and performances tonight were on the whole wonderful moments of giving people what they want. But also, to a certain extent, the readings and performances fail because they did not give people what they needed.

At this point, I would like to contrast the ending for Janet Stickman's story / piece and that of Tess Uriza Holthe. Janet's character obtains vengeance against Father Jimmy by naming him to everyone. In revealing his identity as that of a rapist and a molester, she has obtained vengeance for her eight years of silence and non-writing. The character injects Father Jimmy with the same pain and suffering as the character felt. And that is as far as the story goes.

But in Tess' story, the old crone advises the character who was raped to let the pain and suffering go. To let it be washed away by love. Or her fate will be that of the old crone, a bitter life dotted with envy of everyone else's life.

I look at the above paragraphs and realize that Tess' story gives people what they need while Janet's gives people what they want. In a certain way, Tess' story is the more successful story because there is a practical advice at the end of a very painful event.

8. I mention above how examined in one light, one can say that the performances fail in giving people what they need. But how can a person practically give people the things that they need?

One has to be creative. One has to create joy and laughter in the middle of the pain and misery. It shows people that the pain and the misery can pass. One can retell the stories of one's life to others who might be seeking others with whom they can commiserate. And one can break grounds such that white people begin laughing at one's very distinctive Pin@y joke of the barrel man.

One person who did it was Reggie Cabico. Energetic with a philosopher's mind. Poetic in the descriptions of his love affairs. Manic in his impersonations. Utmost misery in dealing with his mother's insecurities. Absolute joy in being a man who loves other men.

Reggie Cabico needs an HBO show. In one scene, he brings out the chocolates. He asked the audience their astrological signs. "Who is Pisces?" Then, he describes that particular love affair. "Pisces. You were the one who introduced me to your mother as your "friend" visiting from the islands. I was the flavor of the month. You left me on the JFK tarmac." [Note: I made the last line up to give you a flavor of his schtick. I was laughing so hard that I forgot what his love stories were.] I did remember that at the end, he asked, "Who's a slut? ….You, the slut do not get candy because you are a one night stand."

9. In this world in which everyone is taught that they are special and that they will do something special in the world, the hardest fall is when you realize just like everyone else that you are only okay. You are average. You will never be stage actor like Sidney Poitier. You will never be the singer like Barbara Streisand. You will never be the hookster who comes back from the dead ala Donald Trump.

The greatest challenge in life is what do you do when you realize that you have to work, earn a living, do things you despise in order to live. Your dreams in childhood dissolve into the ether. If lucky, you are left with education. If unlucky, you are unmarried with a child and a mother to support.

The average everyday people need a change in paradigm. A change in the way they think. A change in their opinions. A change in their decision to lead life. In short measure, what they need from poets, singers, actors and writers is the inspiration to change their life. Average everyday people want the emotion, the drama and the constant pain and suffering. This allows them to tell everyone else that they are special because they are undergoing this process.

But really, is grieving over your relative's death that special? Sooner or later, everyone does it. Everyone's reactions will differ. Some will be guilty that they were not good daughters. Some will be relieved that they are no longer responsible. Some will forever miss the bond. These are the only things that differ. Each person's reaction.

And it is in this that I say that the artist's job is to inspire change in an everyday person's life.

10. I was speaking with a friend of mine about the Maguindanao Masters touring the Unites States. She privately confessed to me her frustration about the lack of support from the Filipino community in bringing the fabulous musicians to the local area. Considering the fact that there is a high number of Filipinos in Los Angeles, San Diego, and God only knows where else in the East Coast, it is still very difficult for the Filipinos to come together and get our shit together.

In my mind, I had to ask the question, "Are the peole organizing these events in other areas born in the Philippines or the US?" The answer inevitably is that they are born in the Philippines. And that for me makes all the difference. To a colonized Filipino from the Philippines, the Moros from the South are not worth a damn. I can speak like this because I used to be one of the colonized Filipinos from Luzon. Simply put, the way that we are exposed to Moros is the way the Church colonized the minds of Pinoys.

But my friend said she disagreed with me. She mentioned that she thought that Pinoys can not get their shit together because they are not hosting "The Bayanihan Dance Troupe." If it were Bayanihan, you bet your ass the Pinoys would come out to support. Mainly because Bayanihan can compare with the choreography and the stage production of the Western theaters. The Maguindanao Masters exhibit true Mindanao culture of community music-making and celebration. The audience is part of the show. There is no separation between artists and audience. This makes for a very non-traditional show.

And to that I will agree. I will also agree that most first generation Filipinos from the Philippines do not have the money to spend to go to a show. To a great extent, it is their loss because they will not understand what Filipino culture is about.

To those wondering "what is Filipino culture?", I would answer it by telling them to go and see the Maguindanao Master on April 2, 2006 at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. Because to one extent, just because you or I fail to describe Filipino culture does not mean that it does not exist.