Saturday, October 10, 2015

Judicael Perroy

Judicaël Perroy in Manila: from Bach to Villa-Lobos
Independent Philippine Art Ventures (iPav) and Alliance Français de Manille (AFM) present an outstanding French guitarist in a concert at 7pm on November 12, Abelardo Hall, UP College of Music in Diliman.
Perroy is one of the most sought-after classical guitarists on the world stage. He has had rave reviews not only as a concertist but as an inspiring teacher as well. His students have also won the most prestigious international awards.
During his stay November 11-15, Perroy will hold a master class for the country's most promising young guitarists to teach them theory and technique in one-on-one sessions.
To open the concert are multi-awarded Filipino guitarists Roneil Santos and Aaron Aguila.
IPav was founded by classical guitarists and enthusiasts and has formed a solid alliance with AFM to promote classical music in the Philippines.
Concert tickets are available from TicketWorld, and AFM
Inquiries may also be addressed to

Friday, October 14, 2011

Four in Recital

Guitar Friends and

Cebu Luthiers Education Foundation

With the support of the UP School of Economics


Four in a Classical Guitar Recital





6 p.m. October 15, 2011

Elizabeth Yu Gokongwei Hall

UP School of Economics, Diliman

Admission is free. Cocktails will be served.


Catherine Belle first took up classical guitar at the age of 13, enrolling in the UP College of Music Extension Program. She trained under Nathan Manimtim and Ferdinand Medina.

In college, Catherine fed her passion for the guitar by joining the UP Guitar Orchestra, with whom she has performed in numerous concerts including the 1st and 2ndPhilippine International Guitar Festival, the 2011 Asia International Guitar Festival in Bangkok, Thailand and the World Classical Guitar Music Festival in Nakhon Ratchasim, Thailand.

When Catherine Belle is not holding a guitar, she is the vocalist for Spiral Eli and for SoulPage. In her spare time, she infuses her business savvy and music industry encounters to prepare for her future role as a prominent talent manager/music critic/record label executive.


Cristina Hontiveros Lozano is an architect who plays the guitar as a hobby. She has been playing since she was 13 years old, influenced by her father who is the guitarist/musician Rudy Lozano. She started learning the classical guitar in 2008 with Luthier Armando Derecho as her teacher and joined The Guitar Friends in 2010.


Marga Abejo is a Music Education major (concentration in guitar) from the UP College of Music. She has been a member of UPGO for a year. She had guitar lessons under Barney Fojas, Joe Valdez, and Lester Demetillo. Before joining the guitar orchestra, she immersed herself in different extra-curricular activities. She was a former member and officer in the UP Varsity Swim Team. She is also part of the Delta Lambda Sigma Sorority, which exposed her to many socio-civic activities. She is currently on her graduating year and is savoring the last moments in UP.


Jenny de Vera began her love affair with the guitar at age 12 and by the age of 15 had progressed to the classical guitar. Under the auspices of Professor Lester Demetillo, Jenny became the first female Bachelor of Music Major in Guitar graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Music. She was a soloist for the UP Guitar Orchestra and one of her most memorable performances include her Philippine Premiere of Handel’s Harp Concerto in A major for Guitar and Guitar Orchestra. She has performed all over the Philippines and Thailand. She had masterclasses with Flavio Cucchi, Tomonori Arai, Steve Lin and Angelo Favis. At present, she is teaching at the UP College of Music Extension Program and the Miriam College Center for Applied Music.


Danza del Sur - Hansjoachim Kaps (Guitar Trio)

Asturias - Isaac Albeniz (Marga Abejo)

Sons de Carrilhoes - Joao Pernambuco (Cristina H. Lozano)

Jota Aragonaise - Georges Bizet (Guitar Trio)

Bolero - Julian Arcas (Jenny de Vera)

Cancion del Fuego Fatuo - Manuel de Falla (Jenny de Vera)

Cancion - Carlos Rafael Rivera (Jenny de Vera)

Lullaby - Andrew York (Catherine Belle)

Thusslegarth - Stephen Funk Pearson (Catherine Belle)

Rondo from Duo in G - Ferdinando Carulli (Guitar Duet)

Concerto para 3 guitarras - Antonio Vivaldi (Guitar Trio)

Leron leron Sinta - Filipino Traditional (Guitar Quartet)

Guitar Trio - Jenny de Vera, Catherine Belle and Marga Abejo

Guitar Duet - Jenny de Vera and Cristina H. Lozano

Guitar Quartet - Jenny de Vera, Cristina H. Lozano, Catherine Belle and Marga Abejo

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Oil goes a tumbling

My fears are being confirmed. Way back in February, I thought that speculators were hyping up oil as a financial instrument and were instrumental in the past and coming price spikes. In that period, vodoo economists such as CNN's financial editor were saying speculation had nothing to do with the prices. True, the general upward trend had to have some basis in fundamentals (supply and demand), but the spikes had more to do with hype than with anything else. Now oil prices are going down and so is the confidence of investors in alternative energy (but more on this later).

If you recall, when Todd Benjamin was defending the speculators, each fear of a supply disruption was hyped up to ridiculous proportions but there was never ever any mention of what the supply curve looked like (much less the long-run supply curve). So now I'm happy that the 'long' speculators are getting burned. But I worry about the alternative energy investors.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Davao War Diary

Concerto (Davao War Diary) is simple storytelling of a family’s travails just before the end of the Second World War in Davao City, which had a significant Japanese migrant population prior to its outbreak.

Ninety five percent of Filipinos today were born after the end of that war (in 1945), and thus most of us know of the Japanese occupation and eventual American reoccupation only from accounts of grandparents and great grandparents and from whatever coverage was devoted to the subject in high school and college. The Japanese were the villains who committed all sorts of atrocities and the Americans were the so-called liberators.

But the war wasn’t that simple, especially for the family depicted in the film. Who was friend? Who was foe? In the wide gray area between collaboration and resistance lay the day-to-day prerogatives of survival. Yet, the struggle for survival was also a fight for humanity and humaneness, shown in part by the subjects and retreating occupiers’ love for music.

It is said that history is often written or told by the victors. But one of the most rewarding experiences in the production was the active participation of the young Japanese cast (all Philippine residents) in reviewing history through contemporary circumstances.

This war drama, inspired and based on true incidents in the director’s family, is a challenge for independent (read low-budget) film-making, and it is to the credit of Paul Morales’s skills that we will not be a disappointed audience.

In her introduction to Diary of A War which she edited and on which the film is partly based, Virginia Yap Morales reveals her fears over the continuing conflict in Mindanao. To most Filipinos, war simply can’t be a distant memory.

Concerto is an entry to the ongoing Cinemalaya Film Festival (CCP, July 11-20).

Disclosure: Paul is a good friend.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Rushing to conclusions on power reforms

Here's an example of how foreign observers get some things fundamentally wrong on the Philippines. Greg Rushford's piece on the Philippine power sector was published last week in the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal. While many of his observations---especially about the petulance and childishness of the Philippine Senate were correct---he was wrong on one important conclusion. He mistakenly thought that amending the power sector reform law to make open access possible even with a lower threshold for NPC assets privatization (50% instead of the 70% in the current law) meant the country was backtracking on privatization. I wonder how he arrived at the conclusion. As long-time observer and participant of and in the power sector, I find his recklessness appalling.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Undercover in Poipet

What could an old man like me be doing in a karaoke room with two young Khmer men and four young Khmer women in their early to late 20's? Helping a friend by going under cover. My mission: to see if the karaoke ladies are actually technically sex workers or more bluntly, prostitutes, by posing as a 'regular' costumer, whatever that means. The friend is doing research on the effects of 'empowerment' on sexual behavior, specifically the reduction of risk in contracting HIV.
Where's Poipet? It's more than 400 kilometers west northwest of Phnom Penh and is the border town with Aranyathrapet on the Thai side and used to be a base of the Khmer Rouge that mined it before retreating. It is bustling with economic activity, linked in part to cross-border trade and the influx of tourists from prosperous Thailand, who flock to a special entertainment zone of hotel-casinos, modest duty-free shops, and restaurants. The workers in the zones are Khmers and the patrons are generally Thai, and ordinary Khmers are not allowed in.
Was the mission a flimsy excuse for voyeurism and worse? Not exactly, but you be the judge. My friend's study requires a sample of sex workers---direct and indirect---who have and haven't benefitted from anti-HIV programs. The problem is with the so-called indirect sex workers because one can never be sure that there may indeed be legitimate karaoke joints as there are in Manila. And very likely, these joints occupy a gray area. In addition, the friend was trying to determine how many of the 'peer leaders'---sex workers recruited into an anti-HIV program in the past, remained in the area. But that was the job of her assistant.
Lulled into a reverie and thinking how the Khmer woman in the music video looked like former Philippine tourism secretary Gemma Cruz, cavorting with a fully clothed old-fashioned Khmer whose idea of romance was staring into a woman's eyes and occasionally touching her face while strolling in the paddies, I suddenly felt the 25-year-old girl squeezing my left thigh and stroking the hair on the lower leg. I didn't really freeze, but then she started massaging my head and back and arms and telling the research assistant my legs were comparable in size to her arms, with a laugh. I was all skin and bones, she said, and the fact that the assistant tried to soothe my ego by telling me repeatedly that I had a resemblance to Manny Pacquiao didn't help my ego one bit. Then she leaned to rest her head on my left shoulder.
In the meantime, Phine the tall and dashing driver was James bonding with the 22-year-old and singing a love song. His phone rang and when he came back inside his demeanor had become somber. (It was only the morning after that I learned his wife had been taken to hospital for labor. She gave birth to their first child, a girl, at six in the morning.)
How not to break my cover? I said I had to go out for a cigaret and didn't want to inflict any secondary smoke on anyone. But the prettiest, the 29-year-old went out to insist that I should just smoke inside. At this point I felt I was already between a rock and a soft place, between being called a snob or a prude, for I am neither. Perhaps better to be thought of as gay?
The ladies were disappointed when we left shortly after ten, for we obviously weren't the type of customers they are accustomed to.
Mission accomplished. And one inescapable conclusion is that the sex workers here have much more dignity than the political prostitutes in the Philippines. Since she has not hacked being an economist and president, perhaps Gloria Macapagal Arroyo should consider a change in career as a karaoke girl in Poipet, but only after serving her time in jail.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Trial of Nuon Chea (Khmer Rouge 2)

Last Monday, February 4, was the first public pre-trial hearing on the bail petition of Nuon Chea, the administrator of Tuol Sleng, where thousands were tortured and murdered systematically during the rule of the Khmer Rouge in 'Democratic Kampuchea' from April 1975 to January 1979.

Because one of the foreign lawyers (both Dutch) of Chea was not sworn in by the Cambodia Bar Association (and thus could not practice in the country), and the other allegedly could not book a flight from the Netherlands owing to 'short notice,' his local lawyer, and even Chea himself, pleaded with the pre-trial chamber of the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)---established especially for the leaders of the Khmer Rouge---for a continuance of the proceedings. Just so his rights would not be violated---the rules of the ECCC entitle the accused to at least one local and one foreign lawyer--- the pre-trial chamber granted the request, to the dismay and consternation of Cambodians and foreign observers who had flown in just to witness the start of the proceedings.

I myself was extremely disappointed, but if the move really was in respect of the rights of the accused, that was okay. I was the third person to arrive at the Central Rail Station in Phnom Penh, where, I had been told, a bus would ferry foreign and local observers to the ECCC buildings on National Road 4 about 30 kilometers away, between 7 and 7:30. The bus arrived past 8:30 a.m. but the trip was without incident.

To my knowledge, I was the only Filipino observer there. After getting my security pass, and having my electronic belongings and other banned items receipted (no cameras, phones, cigarets), and passing the metal detectors, I was stopped by the sentry who frisked me. He was looking at and pointed to my thighs. I wished that he had merely wanted to compliment me on my skinny legs, but no, he shouted “shorts!” and thereupon the foreign sentry who had already waved me in earlier suddenly said I should show some respect for the courts. I had asked members of foreign human rights organizations back at the rail station whether shorts were allowed and they replied sure, they knew of no dress code. After concluding that it was pointless to argue any further, I got my belongings back and hopped on a motodup to buy a pair of pants at the nearest public market. National Road 4 is notorious for its lawless driving and my situation was aggravated by a driver who neither spoke nor understood English. He was driving fast and furious merrily back toward Phnom Penh and I had to tap both his shoulders rather violently so he would stop. It was only after I had succeeded with sign language and other gesticulation that I wanted to buy a pair of pants at the local public market that I allowed him go forward again. It was just my luck that the market indeed had a dry goods section with men's pants (the pair I bought presumably fake for $8---I am retarded about such things---I put on shielded by a towel in front of the sales girl). Had I not found a suitable pants, it would not have been beyond me to buy a palda instead, and with hair down, insisted on being allowed in as a dignified cross-dresser, to skirt the issue altogether. So I made it back to the courts just a few minutes after the proceedings had started.

During the break when the judges had retreated to chambers to deliberate on Chea's plea, I had the chance to exchange some words with Helen Jarvis, with whom I had been acquainted way back in 2002 and now head of ECCC public affairs---on the comic affair. She was friendly but unsympathetic. “Are shorts allowed in Philippine courts?”, she asked. Well, I thought, I may not be an anarchist but I am not one for rituals and the visible signs of respect for institutions and individuals, and if they weren't, then they should be. Helen also joked about by pro-cannabis shirt and wondered why the guards allowed that to pass, In addition, I was wearing strapless leather slippers. Is it too much to ask for some respect for my irreverence? As far as I'm concerned, all respect for institutions and official positions need to be earned and should not be accorded automatically.