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The Real State of the Nation

The Philippines have witnessed injustices and abuse even before this administration started. The people who marched in the protest are not just the ones who are oppressed. This shall not only be an effort carried out by the brave people who marched that day but a collective action of a people who have since been oppressed and continue to be oppressed under a semi-feudal, semi-colonial system.

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Larizza Lucas/TomasinoWeb

“Ang tao, ang bayan, ngayon ay lumalaban!”, the masses chanted. If Quezon City was a body, Commonwealth Avenue would be the heart of the city. It pulsates the passion and power of the masses that intricately runs through the veins of the country. 

The streets were colored blue, red, yellow, and white. Various groups of walks of life waltzed from the Commission of Human Rights to the road of St. Peter Parish as they carried the fight that the Filipino people have been waging through since… forever.

The people in these roads know too well the struggles the country has been facing. They represent those who have been faced such tribulations under the administration that rampantly silence the oppressed. Flags were waved not as a sign of surrender, but a symbol of strength that indicates the coming of a stronger, more united front as a nation.

The United Peoples’ SONA can be summarized in one word: united. Various groups and organizations ranging from the labor sector to the youth sector were present in the momentous event. They once again voiced out their advocacies and beliefs ensuring they are heard even in the hollow spaces of the country. 

Among the attendees in the United Peoples’ SONA were former senatorial candidate Leody De Guzman who shared his thoughts regarding the call of the masses in the protest.

“Ang important ngayon kasi, bigyan ng ekspresyon ‘yung pagsasamang nabuo,” De Guzman shared in an interview with TomasinoWeb. [Dapat] maipakita ang pagkakaisa kasi [sa] tingin ko, ‘yun ang importante; na ‘di lang usapan, kundi sa aksyon ay nagsama-sama halos lahat para ipanawagan yung pagtutol sa mga patakaran ni Duterte na nagsisilbi sa interes ng negosyante at ng dayuhan.”

The West Philippine Sea has been one of the most prominent topics in the United Peoples’ SONA. This is because of the controversies that circled around it, President Duterte’s standpoint towards it, as well as the involvement of foreign entities such as China, the United States of America, and the United Nations in the issue. Various attendees extended their concerns not only through placards but other protest materials such as replicas of warships, fishes, and donned articles of clothing. 

Larizza Lucas/TomasinoWeb

Former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo shared his thoughts on the aforementioned issue highlighted by President Duterte in his fourth SONA. 

“Alam niyo, dapat [niyang] balikan yung campaign promise niya noon,” Ocampo said in an interview with TomasinoWeb. “On the West Philippine Sea, ang sabi niya, i-a-assert niya ‘yung Philippine sovereignty. Pero kung i-a-abandon niya ‘yon, [ito] ay [isang] pagtataksil sa bayan.”

The plea was further emphasized of the recurring song that was played in the event. One of its most notable lyrics were, “Atin ang Pinas, China layas!”. This was also chanted before the masses have reached the place of demonstration. Several groups such as the League of Filipino Students, Anakpawis, and Pamalakaya also highlighted their sentiments on the West Philippine Sea in the protest.

Among the highlights of the demonstration was the visitation of the Lumad people. They are the indigenous peoples in Mindanao, known to have suffered under the heavy arm of the current administration. Their group is known to experience inequalities despite the protection of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and the 1997 Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (RA No. 3871).

Their right to education and human rights are downright violated. One of the most alarming evidence of these is the occupation of the military where schools were used as an area for camping and the notorious indiscriminate firing. But it just doesn’t end there. 

Kalumaran council member Nenita Condez mentioned that their group has experienced heavy bouts of military transgression because of the ongoing martial law in Mindanao that was implemented by President Duterte last May 23, 2017.

“Grabeng atake po ng mga military sa aming komunidad.” she shares in an interview with TomasinoWeb. “Laging nag-bobombing, interogasyon, [at] kahit saan po sa mga komunidad sa Mindanao.”

Condez mentioned that they joined the protest among the masses to amplify their voices urging Duterte to finally halt martial law in Mindanao. She firmly reinstated that they are victimized by the administration, especially that the military is still present in the midst of their home, Mindanao and among their community.

Mindanao’s ancestral lands are integral to their own especially when it comes to their identity, history, rights, and culture. Indigenous peoples have been granted an ancestral domain title given by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. It is protected by the 1987 Philippine Constitution and RA 3871 where it mentioned that they hold the rights to these lands to where their families have lived since the “time immemorial”.

“Paano na kami kapag wala na yung lupang ninuno?” Condez says. “Sa lupang ninuno din namin ma-praktis ang kultura namin.”

Condez said that the President made the indigenous people cling on to his promise to alleviate the groups’ disposition. Condez said that the president showed his “real colors” after six months in his office. She has mentioned that the President vowed to find investors for their ancestral lands so that it could be “benefited from”. Her group dissents this due to the fact that the ancestral lands are not only theirs but also because it is their home: it is where they reside and also that it is the source of their income and livelihood. 

While employment in the Philippines is held up to a high percentage of 94.8%, the majority of workers are employed in the services sector, accounting to 58.1%. The succeeding sectors work in wholesale and retail trade, machinery, and agriculture. Despite the impressive number of employment in the country, many of its workers face poor working conditions.

Larizza Lucas/TomasinoWeb

One of the roots of this issue is because of the poor social protection services in the Philippines. Affordable housing is not accessible to many. In return, the lower and middle class are prone to experience poverty due to the fact that the cost of living does not suffice the wages and benefits they receive. This is where contractualization comes in. 

“Hindi napatupad ni Duterte ang pangako niya na tanggalin ang kontraktwalisasyon, patuloy ang kontraktwalisasyon hanggang ngayon,” Bayan Muna Chair Neri Colmenares told TomasinoWeb in an interview. “In the end, anti-people, anti-poor si President Duterte at [siya] ay anti-worker.” 

Last May 2018, President Duterte signed an executive order which bans illegal contractualization. However, this doesn’t seem to solve the problem. In an interview with CNN, Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao said that “What the workers demanded is the total prohibition of contractualization by virtue of direct hiring”. These workers have been regularized just for the sake of doing so, upon the investigations of the Department of Labor and Employment.

The working conditions the workers face are notoriously poor. Not only are their workplaces hazardous to their health, but also to their rights as individuals. 

The United Peoples’ SONA was a testament to the resilience of the Filipino people that are constantly abused. No one deserves to live a life where resilience is perverted by the hands of a few. Their voices were amplified, but did they manage to grab the attention of the millions? That, we can be sure of. But why bother? Why should we care? Colmenares answers this question.

“Kaya tayo nandito ngayon [ay] para ilahad ang tunay na kalagayan ng bansa at panawagan na tapusin na, sobra na, tama na.”

His answer is not a coincidence to what the country is facing right now. The Philippines have witnessed injustices and abuse even before this administration started. The people who marched in the protest are not just the ones who are oppressed. The country was promised better tomorrows equipped with progress and hope. However, it seems like the people could only cling on an image of a better government for now, of a better Philippines.

This shall not only be an effort carried out by the brave people who marched that day but a collective action of a people who have since been oppressed and continue to be oppressed under a semi-feudal, semi-colonial system. Sadly, there are still some who cover their ears and cower themselves from the truth. Little do they know that this, indeed, is the real state of the nation.

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Taking the Journey 200 Years Back: Clara Schumann @ 200

Clara Wieck-Schumann, whose name might be familiar to some, was a known German musician and composer. As a virtuoso in her field, she was acclaimed to be one of the most notable composers and pianists of her time. She has offered 61 years of her life in contributing and composing various works like piano concertos, chamber works, and choral pieces.

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Photo by Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb

It is truly that great music never dies no matter how fast time passes by. Great music always finds its way to get into our time no matter how it ages.

Last October 16, 2019, in commemoration of Clara Schumann’s 200th birth anniversary as well as to celebrate her great pieces and works, the Goethe-Institut Philippinen, a German Cultural Center, has partnered with University of Santo Tomas’ Conservatory of Music to bring and stage all the way to UST Schumann’s primo works through a theatrical multi-faceted performance held at the UST Museum.

Mary Patrice Pagis, a soprano singer, played the role of little Clara. (Photo by Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb)

Clara Wieck-Schumann, whose name might be familiar to some, was a known German musician and composer. As a virtuoso in her field, she was acclaimed to be one of the most notable composers and pianists of her time. She has offered 61 years of her life in contributing and composing various works like piano concertos, chamber works, and choral pieces. She also became a piano instructor at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt. She was the wife of Robert Schumann, who was also a renowned musician during their era.

As the night began, people arrived and gradually filling up the museum as they were in excitement to witness the concert happening in just a few minutes. Setting up the mood, the entire area was turned into a dark and slight histrionic ambiance when the lights turned off. This, together with the archival vibe in the museum, have made the participants and guests experience the feeling of travelling back to the romantic era.

The audience fell into silence as the first melody of Impromptu in D Major was fired up on the piano by Boris Schonleber, a freelance pianist from Berlin. It was accompanied by the wondrous voice of mezzo-soprano singer Katharina Padrok as she serenaded the audience with Schumann’s Mein Stern (My Star). 

Photo by Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb

The audience was fully taken back to the romantic era as Mary Patrice Pagis, a soprano singer, played the role of little Clara. Pagis portrayed the young Clara who was confident and passionate for her first piano debut. The audience were in awe as Pagis transitioned her role from childish Clara to Clara’s mother. Meanwhile, Peter Portigos took the roles for playing both Clara’s father and husband. Really, it is as if the people were stock-still that no one bothered to unleash any noise but amusement drawn on each of their faces after every enlivening performance.

As the night went deeper, more of Clara’s pieces and songs were played such as Am Strance (On the shore), Loreley WoO 19, Notturno op. 6, Nr. 2 and others. 

The concert also exhibited Robert Schumann’s music including Widmung op. 25, Nr. 1(Dedication), Marienwiirmchen op. 70, Nr. 14 (Ladybird), and a lot more. 

Clara Schumann was a master of the game. She was a woman way ahead of the times – a composer, pianist, and a singer all rolled into one person. If there is anything else, she will be remembered not only because of her uniqueness and outstanding character but also because of her works that truly upped the standards for musicians in her time until now. It has been 200 years! Imagine the lengths her works could go. Indeed, music, as long as people appreciate it, will always be remembered even after centuries.

 

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Art in Focus: Remembering Rembrandt

October is Museum and Galleries Month! And as the Metropolitan Museum of Manila celebrates its 43rd anniversary, it featured a guided viewing of a couple of the famous works the great Baroque artist, Rembrandt van Rijin which also coincides with his 350th death anniversary.

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Photo from https://www.nationalreview.com/

In a museum visit on a Saturday afternoon – an unusual break from the hourly streaks of readings and reviewers, I immersed and got lost in Rembrandt’s flair to depict the pinnacle of any presented moment, all works artistically suspended on a larger-than-life canvas. As a new admirer, seeing his works and understanding its narratives may be happily overwhelming. But later, with eyes fully satisfied from the beauty of his collections, I left the  museum’s premises seeking for more. 

October 5, 2019 celebrates the 43rd anniversary of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila which then gave the opportunity to commemorate the 350th death anniversary of the great Baroque artist, Rembrandt van Rijin. The museum featured a guided viewing of a couple of his famous works as presented by Ms. Alec Madelene Abarro, through a projected presentation. Although the actual works were not on display, the discussion transcended the technological constraints by carefully dissecting each piece, reveling in the masterpieces of Rembrandt, all the while paying attention to his palpable play of lights and its significance not only in his works, but on the phases of his remarkable life. 

The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp anatomy lesson - rembrandt

Photo from Wikipedia

Prior to showing this piece, thirty or so individuals were seated on the carpeted floor of the museum. We were invited to a game of guessing if the artwork shown is a Rembrandt or not. Several group portraitures were presented, some were recognizable as other artists’ works and some were convincing enough to believe it was part of Rembrandt’s collection. What was common among the  group portraitures were the cramped lines and rows, seemingly placing the subjects in a structured frame. Then Rembrandt’s recognizable formulas of dark backgrounds and dramatic flares popped up on the screen that had the audience muttering silent yeses. 

What Ms. Abarro pointed out about this piece is its boldness to highlight what a spectator must engage with: the corpse and tendrils of its arms, Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, and the masterful hand of Rembrandt in finding the peak of the narrative – all given importance by his famous light and shadow techniques. Moreover, its diversion from the usual formality of group portraiture make it a plausible odd thumb of sorts. 

The Jewish Bride

Photo from Google Arts and Culture

Perhaps Rembrandt’s artistic branding is his ability to frame the dramatic instances of his works and to carefully put the pristine details on canvas, from the mere muskets to the anatomical details of his craft which all serve as an amalgamation of his theatrics. However, “The Jewish Bride”, a picture which exuded an enthusiastic admiration out of Van Gogh, were stripped off his usual branding. It is still bathed in the Rembrandt light, but the schema of the narrative revolves around the tranquility of the moment, a picture which diverts from the loudness of “The Night Watch” and other works from his collection that seem to overhaul chaos. 

The Marriage of Jason and Creusa 

Photo from Google Arts and Culture

Metropolitan Museum of Manila has acquired a copy of the famous Rembrandt etching that depicts two subjects: the marriage of Jason and Creusa and Medea’s picture of revenge, all inspired by the Greek mythology. 

It is quite known that Rembrandt’s works are inspired from mythologies and the Bible. This was most evident in “The Three Crosses” and “The Return of the Prodigal Son”. This etching, however, is the figurative cherry-on-top of the afternoon as it showcases the skillful and prolific lighting of Rembrandt, even with a metal etching. If one would scrutinize on the artwork, it elaborates how Rembrandt gives such importance and attention to intricacies. The tangible copy, however, is caged on a frame, just a mote piece on the wall beside the guided viewing, waiting to be appreciated by spectators. 

If there’s one thing that Rembrandt is known and celebrated for, it’s his ability to bathe his works with lights, casting a shadow here and there to indicate the picture’s prominent subject and to engage the spectator to take two glimpses: firstly, with expectant eyes ready to digest the work and secondly, with an unsizeable heart that glorifies the existence of the dark, an element necessary to let the light string in. 

“The best way to honor [an artist’s] legacy is to take a look at the artwork,” Ms. Abarro concludes with a call to the audience of different ages – sitting presently in front of the projected wall, mostly cramped beside the sculpture of the body sitting in the middle of the floor – to bask in the details and let it arrest you enough to inspire and expand your horizons. 

For upcoming events and exhibits of the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, visit their webpage at https://metmuseum.ph/. You may also visit National Commission for Culture and the Arts‘ Facebook page for other events and exhibits in other museums and galleries around Metro Manila. 

Photo from Metropolitan Museum of Manila facebook Page

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Get up and Be Productive: Co-working Spaces Around UST

Prelims season is just around the corner, and every student is searching for ways to study for their exams effectively. Co-working spaces offer just that atmosphere for you. With that, we listed down the places around the University to aid you on your review sessions. 

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Artwork by Aldrich Aquino

Prelims season is just around the corner, and every student is searching for ways to study for their exams effectively. Everyone has their own style to study, but one strategy in reviewing that applies to most students is to study in a peaceful, comfortable environment. Co-working spaces offer just that atmosphere for you. With that, we listed down the places around the University to aid you on your review sessions. 

ESPAÑA

Plug It Coworking Space & Study Hub

Photo from Plug It Coworking Space & Study Hub

Where: Second Floor, Saint Clare Homes, 902 Eloisa St. corner España Blvd., Sampaloc, Manila,

Hours: 12 PM to 6 AM

Rates:  P45 per hour; P100 for three hours; P300 daily; P2,000 weekly; 6,000 monthly

Plug It Coworking Space & Study Hub offers a neat and classy ambience to soothe you as you study for hell week. They also offer free beverages, as well as complimentary chips for you to have something to munch on. Plug It also has unlimited internet, sockets for charging, as well as free use of lockers. Their rates are also is student-friendly so you don’t need to empty your wallets for this coworking space. They even offer a membership card for added perks and rewards!

Stream Concept Study Hub

Where: 1563 España Boulevard, Sampaloc, Manila

Hours: 10 AM to 6 AM (Sunday to Friday); 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. (Saturday)

Rates: P50 hourly; P150 for 4 hours; P300 for 7+ hours

Stream Concept Study Hub provides its customers with a wide range of services for an affordable price. This study hub offers free use of available school supplies, as well as printing services if you need reviewers. They also have pillows and blankets for a more comfortable review session. Aside from their services, they also give out freebies at times ranging from discounts to free ice cream, and if you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of dogs that occasionally visit their hub.

P. NOVAL

OrangeDesk Coworking Space and Study Lounge

Where: Fourth Floor, DB Building, 1250 P. Noval St. corner España Blvd., Sampaloc, 

Manila.

Hours: 11 AM to 6 AM

Rates:  P50 per hour; P120 for four hours; P300 daily, P1,800 weekly; P4,500 monthly

Color can affect the mood of an individual, and surrounding oneself with bright colors help could definitely help. OrangeDesk Coworking Space and Study Lounge provides you with a zesty ambience to brighten your mood. They pretty much cover the basics such as beverages, internet and sockets. It also has student-friendly rates so you will not run out of funds for this coworking space.

Panicroom Cowork

Where: Ground Floor, Galleria Suites P. Noval Street, Sampaloc, Manila.

Hours: 11:00 AM to 6:00 AM

Rates: P40 hourly; P100 for three hours; P280 for eight hours; P300 daily (all inclusive of high-speed internet, power and USB sockets, coffee, juice, and water)

Found in between Starbucks and Joli’s, Panicroom Cowork provides a great experience for students. The ambiance of this space gives a cozy vibe as it offers an environment ideal for those who prefer working with music or with silence. They cover the basics pretty well and even throws in a variety of coffee, juice, and water for their customers. Adding to the competitive pricing, this co-working space becomes a very attractive option to students who are looking for a nice and ideal place to study.

SkyLabs

Where: 1231 J Barlin St., Sampaloc, Manila

Hours: 11 AM to 2 AM

Rates: P50 hourly; P100 for four hours; P300 daily; P1,499 weekly; P3,999 monthly

Situated in the place of the well-loved food establishments in P. Noval, SkyLabs is a great choice for students looking for a place to study right after a meal. They are welcoming with their rates and even offers the occasional promo found in their social media page. The space is quite minimalist in style, giving students the immediate vibe of getting work done as soon as they walk in. Work is not all SkyLabs is for though, as they offer board games that can be requested through their staff. Inclusive also are free snacks which makes SkyLabs a very appealing choice for those who enjoy munching on something while studying.

DAPITAN

107 Co-Working by Macao Imperial Tea

Where: Pacific Suites, 1218 Santander St., Sampaloc, Manila.

Hours: 9:00 AM to 12:00 AM

Rates: P350 daily; P3,500 monthly; P35,000 yearly

Perfect for milk tea lovers, 107 Co-working by Macao Imperial Tea combines great drinks and a productive space for any student. This co-working space provides the essentials of internet connection, power outlets, and an assortment of tables for the collaborative or the independent customer. They also offer a 10% discount on Macao Imperial Tea drinks to everyone who uses the co-working space while those who pay monthly and yearly can bring a friend in for 3 hours completely free.

The Capital CoWorking Space


Where: 1241 J Barlin St., Sampaloc, Manila

Hours: 10 AM to  5 AM

Rates: P50/60/220 (Normal/Focus Desk/Focus Group Area) hourly; P140/180/700  (Normal/Focus Desk/Focus Group Area) for four hours; P220/250/950 (Normal/Focus Desk/Focus Group Area) for eight hours; P300/350/1200 (Normal/Focus Desk/Focus Group Area) daily; P2000/2250 (Normal/Focus Desk) weekly; P3000/3500 (Normal/Focus Desk) for two weeks; P5000/6000 (Normal/Focus Desk) monthly

 A focused aesthetic seems to be what The Capital is going for with their co-working space. Found in Navarra Street, this space is very straightforward with its offerings without being too basic. Their rates comprise of three tiers: Normal, Focus Desk, and Focus Group Area. These tiers are based on the tables that students may use and the time they’re going to use them. The rates may be a bit steep however, its notable inclusions are unlimited snacks, coffee, refreshments, and use their shower room ideal for an intensive workday. While it is not as cheap as the other co-working places in this list, its proximity and aesthetics may be enticing for busy students.

HomeRoom Co-Working & Study Lounge

Where: 3/F Dioresa Plaza, 1521 Dapitan St. Sampaloc, Manila

Hours: 10:00 AM to 7 AM (Sunday to Friday); 10:00 AM to 12 AM (Saturday)

Rates: P88 hourly; P488 daily (10AM until closing); P4888 monthly

HomeRoom is indeed a hidden gem along the busy road of Dapitan. Their co-working space offers a busy and productive environment which will surely motivate you to start your work. HomeRoom is one of the few co-working spaces around the University that offers a napping room and a shower room, perfect for students who will be staying with them for the long wee hours. 

Buzzy Bee Co-Working Space

Where: 1253 Gelinos St., Sampaloc, Manila.

Hours: 11 AM to 2 AM

Rates: P45 hourly; P300 daily; P3885 monthly

If you’re as busy as a bee, this coworking space offers the right buzzy environment just for you. Buzzy Bee Co-Working Space provides its customers with affordable rates, with a discounted rate starting at 10 p.m. They also offer free snacks and refreshments. If you need to take a nap, Buzzy Bee houses a break room for you to play board games with your review buddies or to catch those z’s. 

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