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OneFORESTpaña! Thomasians show support for Salinggawi

Representing the University of Santo Tomas, the Salinggawi Dance Troupe are set for the UAAP Season ’82 Cheerdance Competition; with the theme, “OneForestpaña.”

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salinggawi qpav
Photo by Ann Corinne Vizconde

Charm, grace, and beauty. UST’s Salinggawi Dance Troupe captivates attention as they continuously carry triumph in their performances. Thomasians convey their ever-constant support and encouragement—hoping for ‘Gawi to win the crown once again.

Representing the University of Santo Tomas, the Salinggawi Dance Troupe are set for the UAAP Season ’82 Cheerdance Competition; with the theme, “OneForestpaña.”  The Forest symbolism represents the untouched realm and beauty of the unknown—where awe-inspiring trees are as tall as skyscrapers, fresh air that soothes the soul and the fathomless beauty of nature while unraveling its mysteries. More magical than before, a glimpse of what Thomasians are expected to see from the University’s pride.

Loud roaring cheers are prepared for the team. The Growling Tigers’ famous chanting eagerly awaits the SM Mall of Asia Arena on November 17. Last year, the Salinggawi placed 4th in the Cheerdance Competition—a narrow miss to finish third-place against Adamson Pep Squad by 0.5 points in the tally. 

On the 2017 UAAP Cheerdance Competition, all the glory was for Espana when the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe successfully bagged the first place with their tiger-inspired theme. Therefore, the Thomasian spirit never falters, holding onto the promising victory once more. 

España is all for OneFORESTpaña

With last year’s UAAP Cheerdance Competition still fresh in mind, students from all-over the university did not hesitate to support them with beaming optimism. John Edrich Allarey from the Faculty of Arts and Letters shared his sentiments in an interview with TomasinoWeb, “I still support them because they represent our University. Also, ang ganda ng ginawa nila, parang may continuity from their performance last time. I expect na higitan ‘yung performance nila kumpara last year. Goodluck Salinggawi Dance Troupe!”

“UST UAAP CDC Pep Rally November 11, 2019: Tigers from Faculty of Arts and Letters’ way of showing their support to Salinggawi Dance Troupe at Quadricentral Pavillion” | Photo by Marklance Talento

Jacob Isaac Enriquez from the Faculty of Pharmacy happily shared with TomasinoWeb his support for the team, “Salinggawi Dance Troupe is the premier prestige and pride of the University of Santo Tomas. For me, they are really showcasing what a real and true Thomasian talent is through the UAAP community.” 

His advanced message of success is testament to the Thomasians’ unwavering support and confidence in the group, “As early as this moment, I just want to congratulate Salinggawi Dance Troupe for doing a job well done, enjoy and show your best. Break a leg! Don’t forget that they are performing not just for the University but also for themselves.”

“Smiling altogether for Salinggawi from the Faculty of Pharmacy at the UST Qpav on 11th of November 2019” | Photo by Marklance Talento

Impressed upon this year’s theme, an Environmental Biology student from the College of Science explains with TomasinoWeb, “Relatable kasi ‘yung theme sa course ko.” He added, “Salinggawi Dance Troupe deserves all the support they [can] get kasi they excel naman talaga sa mga performances nila. I’ve watched their pep rally last year and sobrang amazing. Goodluck Salinggawi and One FORESTpaña!”

Senior High School student Luis Miguel Rosales also expressed his thoughts for the dance troupe. “They really give their whole heart fighting all the way for UST. That’s why I know they would give it their all and wholeheartedly persevere—striving to win and representing the University of Santo Tomas but not only for the school but also the student body as we, Tomasinos, are also cheering for them,” he shares in an interview with TomasinoWeb. Offering more comfort, he cheers, “We will support you all the way, Salinggawi!”

“Senior High full support for the PEP Rally at QPAV on November 11, 2019.” | Photo by Marklance Talento

Voices ringing with hope and confidence for the beloved team, the atmosphere in the campus is rimmed with faith and solidarity. Proudly portraying the wholeheartedly devoted Thomasian community that is seen in the huge crowd lined up to support the UST UAAP CDC Pep Rally at  Quadricentral Pavillion on November 11, 2019. Aiming for excellence, the Salinggawi Dance Troupe is a beacon—showcasing UST’s commitment, compassion and competence as best as they can. Every Thomasian sees this clearly, supporting them all the more for it. 

Counting down the days to the anticipated performance, a thousand cheers from every breathtaking stunt and graceful motion during the pep rally is a surefire show of support for Salinggawi. Thomasians have faith that they will show yet another thrilling performance. Executing every jump, lift and toss exceptionally, Salinggawi will capture not only the hearts of Thomasians but also of everyone who will lay their eyes on their insignia: the mystic of España

As they take their final stances, one thing is for sure. The Salinggawi Dance Troupe will not stand alone—for a huge crowd in their brightest yellows will be right behind them, chanting, “Go USTE!”

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Sila-Sila in its spectrum

Being under the constant waves of change, companionship paves through distances and personal struggles. The movie emphasizes that ‘ghosting’ also happens between friends and rekindling episodes are a challenge.

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Screengrab from Sila-Sila movie trailer

Giancarlo Abrahan’s entry for Cinema One Originals Film Festival Sila-Sila is a groundbreaking film that sprouts a queer narrative molded by queer people. Anchored to the intimate stories of real people, this ghosting film pierces through the lens of post-breakup experiences.

Its lead actors, Gio Gahol and Topper Fabregas had a harmonious rhythm as Gabriel and Jared inside one frame. With Gab being helplessly displaced and Jared as someone who craves settlement, they were in an endless loop of push-and-pull, making every scene burst in different colors of expectations.  

The film revolves around the story of Gab (Gahol), as he tries to reconcile with his friends (Phi Palmos and Dwein Baltazar) and his ex-boyfriend, Jared (Fabregas) after ‘ghosting’ them for almost a year. Fueled by guilt and regret, the old lovers find themselves igniting a fire that once burned the bridges that connected their lives.

Five minutes in and the sensual relationship between Gab and Topper will cuff the audience with its bare exposure of same-sex actualities. These characters played by both theater artists allow the scenes to flourish with remarkable nuance.

The scenarios in the film allow you to peek at realities that manifest through Gab’s life as a person who fails to find his roots being settled in one place. As his portrayal walks you through the story of uncertainties, the progress of the film lets you trace into a deep contemplation whether or not you may be the Gab or Jared in your own story.

Despite having fragments of scenarios that lowers the momentum of the film, it serves as a breath of fresh air as Gab undergoes the phase of vacillation. Gab’s journey of finding a home in people he once felt was is a cycle anyone can relate to. His doubts linger in trust issues and the feeling of not belonging. It soon uncovers that the quest of settling in places, people, and experiences will be unending unless one finds their sense of home.

Phi Palmos and Dwein Baltazar’s characters are spices to the story as they portray a decade-long friendship of overcoming tendencies. Being under the constant waves of change, companionship paves through distances and personal struggles. The movie emphasizes that ‘ghosting’ also happens between friends and rekindling episodes are a challenge.

Sila Sila won the Best Picture Award. Its undeniably well-plated palette satisfies the eye of the audience. A lot of scenes will tickle one’s humor especially if you are used to friendships that blatantly roast each other as a way of showing one’s love language.

Alongside its award-winning cinematography, Sila Sila also received the Audience Choice Award and Best Screenplay by scriptwriter Daniel Saniana. Also, Fabregas was recognized as Best Supporting Actor for his role.

“We’ll always love each other, however it manifests, it’s just always going to be there.”, this line by Jared carves through the hearts of those who had to let go of a person but never the love that they have for them. Gab’s relationship with Jared shows that there is never just one way of loving someone. Every day, with every version of themselves, love prevails. 

Distance can never make things small. It only deceives you from thinking that you’ve escaped your troubles. One way or another, you will find yourself crawling back because time never lets anyone off its claws—Sila-Sila teaches this. Furthermore, sometimes, having no closure is not the closure.

The character of Gab serves as an example that a person will remain trapped in the past unless they find closure from people and from themselves. People are bound to face the naked truth that we need to find our sense of home in this world that is full of broken fragments of imperfect individuals.

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Metamorphosis, a film that challenges the conventional

Tiglao tells this story through the never-before-seen character of a Filipino intersex teenager, and he tells it almost flawlessly, with the scenes that make you nostalgic, like you’ve been there before—a sort of déjà vu.

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Screengrab from Metamorphosis Trailer

As a coming-of-age film that probes more extensively into the adolescent psychosexual conflict, J.E. Tiglao’s Metamorphosis is dangerously daring. The film stirred a wave of controversy when the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) classified it as X-rated for exploring intersexuality, later on, it was reclassified into R-16, permitting its screening in local cinemas. 

It opens with a scene at a waterfall in a 1:1 aspect ratio and ends in the same setting, where we find the protagonist, Adam, exceptionally portrayed by Gold Azeron, no longer irresolute. Supporting actress Iana Bernardez, who plays Angel, complements Azaron almost naturally—Adam isn’t without Angel, vice versa. However, the gorgeous visuals of Metamorphosis overshadow the disarray that’s often ignored in the film.

Tiglao tells this story through the never-before-seen character of a Filipino intersex teenager, and he tells it almost flawlessly, with the scenes that make you nostalgic, like you’ve been there before—a sort of déjà vu. Apart from the brilliant footwork of Tey Clamor, the film’s cinematographer, the musical score by Divino Dayacap, from the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music, gave the film its oomph: as if the music understood the complexity of emotions portrayed, and the aesthetics with it.

Tiglao almost easily got away with poor writing by compensating for the other elements in the film. Instead of sustaining its relaxed delicateness, it lost its momentum when Adam’s exploration into his intersexuality was hastily overturned by uncalled-for predatory themes, and sexual awakening was realized by means of harassment.

The film relied heavily on aesthetics while leaving the plot unsustained and undernourished. It undermined the audience’s capacity to understand beyond the script because there was very little depth to it—the metaphors were surface-level and revealed themselves too easily. Some scenes appeared to over-explain themselves because expository writing was brought to an excess. Nevertheless, the film communicated what it sought to: the magnitude of embracing your own uniqueness in pursuit of self-acceptance.

Perhaps one of the most moving scenes in the film was when Adam’s father, a conservative Catholic and a pastor with a strongly-held vision for Adam to reverse his intersexuality – an “Ok, boomer” moment – abandons his unyielding bigoted principles at long last, giving Adam the autonomy to decide on and for his own. Here, the conservative adult matures with the troubled adolescent—and it is this shared acceptance that is unique to Metamorphosis.

Although the film suffers from tacky dialogue and some questionable subplots, it does exactly what a coming-of-age film is supposed to: the audience becomes an echo chamber, where we feel for the protagonist while accompanying him into growth and resolution. 

Metamorphosis, along with its stillness and vulgarity, makes for an ample directorial debut. The “I” in LGBTQIA+ rarely gets talked about, but Tiglao changed that by giving us Metamorphosis: it contests machismo without overemphasizing the feminine, it astounds without unnerving, and most of all it is unrestrained. Metamorphosis, even with its sloppy writing, is sufficiently beautiful—it questions and challenges the conventional, and it does it without fear.

 

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Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo: An Endless Cycle

Falling in love in this generation is like using a trial and error method that gets you nowhere. In the emergence of dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble and websites like Omegle, finding a prospective partner has become fairly easy but also quick to lose.

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Screengrab from Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo official trailer

Labels. There is a silent debate going on about whether labels are important or a factor for complications. Though there is a need to define relationships to know where to draw the line between friends and lovers, it is often terrifying to know what the truth really is. The word ‘commitment’ may seem an intimidating word for some, but it is also loved by many. 

Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo is one of the entries for the Cinema One Originals 2019. Written and directed by Denise O’Hara, who won an award for Best Director in this year’s Gawad Urian for a movie called Mamang, a film about dementia and the struggles of remembering one’s life. 

The film festival ran from November 7 until November 17 in selected malls and microcinemas. Starring Jane Oineza and JC Santos as Alex and Carlo, the story portrays the characters’ struggle in the process of falling in love, falling out, being confused, and being sure at the same time. 

Falling in love in this generation is like using a trial and error method that gets you nowhere. In the emergence of dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble and websites like Omegle, finding a prospective partner has become fairly easy but also quick to lose. 

Alex, played by Jane Oineza, is a woman with big dreams and ambitions, eager to prove to the world that she is more than just a pretty face. Carlo, played by JC Santos, on the other hand, is your typical go-with-the-flow kind of guy who works in the field of graphic design and freelance work. The story progresses as the two create something that neither of them knows what is and what to call. 

By slowly cracking her shell and breaking down her walls, Carlo manages to see the parts of Alex that no one really sees. Underneath her cold gazes and intimidating aura, lies a sappy and marupok girl. One night, after planning and talking about the design for Alex’s upcoming project, a cockroach scare prompts a rush to the bedroom; ensuing a somewhat emotional conversation that turns the atmosphere into purple and red hazes. 

After that night, awkwardness sits between them in the office. Alex, trying to figure out what happened, asks Carlo directly; as to his reply, along with the words “Masaya pa rin naman ‘diba?” creates a questionable feeling both to the characters and the audience. 

Stemming from the title itself, the movie—from start to finish—draws a problematic and complicated cycle that reflects dating and almost-dating. The dialogues lacked a bit of emotional appeal and the concreteness of thought cannot be easily grasped. The movie has a back and forth sequence, showing the past and the present, how the moments came to be, what arguments were thrown out to get to the scene where they chase each other in the sidewalk with pain and hesitation in their eyes. 

Cinematography-wise, the color palette of the film shifts along with the emotion that is being presented on the screen, making up for the lack of substance in the exchange of dialogues. It is a mess, paralleling to Alex and Carlos’ relationship, the shaky camera angles and the abrupt shift from one scene to another provides support in pulling off the movie’s complicated narrative. It could have had more backstory and fewer gaps in the storyline but it somehow works as it leaves you hanging and still questioning what happened. It keeps you in the cycle even though you have stepped out of the cinema already. 

Filled with contradictions and trouble waiting to happen, O’Hara’s work garners attention from those who are in the same position. The film dwells on complex-minded characters, pretty much like our generation, and their decisions on whether they should leave or keep fighting for something that is vague. It is a ticking time bomb of tears and regret or maybe, just maybe, something magical and worthwhile. 

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