#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy: What to read, see, and listen to

Films Music Personal Theatre

#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy is the official hashtag for an online campaign spearheaded by author Edgar Calabia Samar (Janus Silang), who objective was to promote Filipino-authored pieces of literature. This happens in the month of August, which is also Buwan ng Wika or National Language Month. I was made aware of this campaign last year, and since then, I’ve been making a conscious effort to consume as many Filipino-authored books, movies, songs, and musicals/plays. If you’re looking for a #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy-related media, here are some suggestions:

BOOKS

Because August is also Romance Awareness Month and I’m a romance writer, I guess this one should be a no-brainer. Check out some sweet and sexy Filipino-authored romances via #romanceclass! If you don’t know what that is, here’s a short explanation:

#romanceclass is a community of:

  • Authors who attended #romanceclass, #romanceclass2016, the steamy reads, YA classes organized by Mina V. Esguerra
  • Readers of the books by those authors
  • Readers of English-language romance books by Filipino authors
  • Actors and artists who are part of the event and publishing process

And here are some personal book recommendations (meaning, I’ve read them, and I want you to read them too):

  • Ghost of a Feeling by Celestine Trinidad – During one of the lowest days of her life, Cris, a doctor, meets the ghost of a young man who haunts her building. They form an unusual yet comfortable friendship that leads to something more. The book tackles the issue of mental health very tastefully, and I think that’s one of the things I liked so much about it. (TW for death, suicide.)
  • The Queen’s Game by Carla de Guzman – If you were one of those people who tuned in to the Prince Harry-Meghan Markle love story and have been fantasizing of a homegrown royal love story, this is as close as you can get. In an alternate Philippines, there is a kingdom called Cincamarre, and the death of its king prompts Princess Nina to come home and ascend to the throne. She gets a little (or a lot?) of help from her childhood friend, Prince Felipe, from a neighboring kingdom known for its pineapples. ^_^
  • What Kind of Day by Mina V. Esguerra – Two thirty-somethings navigate through some bad days, and the lesser known parts of Metro Manila. Naya puts together tour packages of Manila as an income-generating hobby, and Ben…well, he just got fired from his job the first day they met. The book offers very relevant commentary on what happens to good people in places (of employment) that ultimately whittle their passion and drive away, and suggests how you can “make good days” despite it.
  • Songs of Our Breakup by Jay E. Tria – I’d recommend another book, but this is where it all started for me. Jill, vocalist of the band Trainman, just got out of a seven-year relationship, and she’s trying to figure out how to move on while her ex, Kim, continues to be Trainman’s lead guitarist. Good thing she has her best friend Miki, and hot Japanese actor friend Shinta, to keep her company. (This book is part of an ongoing series, but each book may be read as a standalone.)
  • Feels Like Summer by Six de los Reyes – Read this for: Jett, the five minute girlfriend, Adrian, Mr. Relationship who would gladly screw…lightbulbs on for you, a band with hilarious members, science, lightsabers, and amazing banter. What–that’s not enough for you? Maybe pick it up to see how the book (or a certain character) deals with reproductive health issues (read: endometriosis), too.

In case you don’t find anything you like on this list (or if you’ve read them all), check out the catalog, or ask me for recs! I’d gladly help you out!

MOVIES

August is also the time for Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, or a week-long celebration of Filipino film excellence. During the Pista, cinemas nationwide are required to screen eight Pinoy movies of varying genres. The Pista this year runs from August 15-21, and will be featuring the following movies:

  • Ang Babaeng Allergic sa Wi-Fi | Jun Robles Lana (direction)
    • starring: Sue Ramirez, Jameson Blake, and Markus Paterson
  • Bakwit Boys | Jason Paul Laxamana (direction)
    • starring: Vance Larena, Devon Seron, Nikko Natividad, Ryle Santiago, Mackie Empuerto, Kiray Celis
  • Madilim ang Gabi | Adolfo Alix, Jr. (direction)
    • starring: Gina Alajar, Phillip Salvador, Bembol Roco, Felix Roco
  • Pinay Beauty | Jay Abello (direction)
    • starring: Chai Fonacier, Edgar Allan Guzman
  • Signal Rock | Chito Roño (direction)
    • starring: Christian Bables
  • The Day After Valentine’s | Jason Paul Laxamana (direction)
    • starring: Bela Padilla, JC Santos
  • Unli-Life | Miko Livelo (direction)
    • starring: Vhong Navarro, Wynwyn Marquez, Joey Marquez

Last year, I was able to watch five Pista movies–100 Tula Para Kay Stella, Birdshot, AWOL, Paglipay, and Patay na si Hesus. Wonder how many I’ll be able to watch this year. ^_^ I hope you consider seeing one or all of these movies, too.

Meanwhile, I’m seeing Erik Matti’s Buy Bust this weekend. I’ve seen great reviews so far, and I’m excited!

THEATRE PRODUCTIONS

Are theatre productions your thing? Well, mine too! This is a list of currently running productions I have seen, will be seeing, and want to see this August:

  • Rak of Aegis (PETA), PETA Theater Center – Bright-eyed promodizer Aileen comes up with a plan to alleviate her family’s living conditions: to produce the next viral video and become a singing superstar whom Ellen Degeneres can send to the USA! But things aren’t as easy as it seems, especially in her flooded neighborhood.
  • Ang Huling El Bimbo (Full House Theater Company), Newport Performing Arts Theater – Three college friends meet for the first time in twenty years and receive shocking news about a friend they’d forgotten about. TW: rape, violence, drug abuse.
  • Eto Na! Musikal nAPO! (9 Works Theatrical), Maybank Performing Arts Theater
  • Desaparesidos, The Doreen Black Box, Arete

Dekada ’70 the Musical will be having a limited run from September 7-11, by the way, and I think tickets are running out so if you’re into that, you’d best get your tickets really soon.

Tickets for all of these shows (except Dekada) are available via Ticketworld. Dekada ’70 tickets are available on Ticket2Me. For a complete calendar, check out Theater Fans Manila.

MUSIC

To be honest, I have not listened to the radio in years, at least not on my own accord. I usually only even get to listen to it when I’m commuting somewhere and the cab/car/jeepney I’m riding has it on. Or when my dad is around and he listens to the radio. Even then, he plays mostly American oldies, so I rely heavily on Spotify for my OPM fix.

My current favorite Filipino artists are the following:

  • Ben&Ben – I heard Kathang-Isip once, and I was SOLD! After that, I listened to all of the songs they have on Spotify, and I really, really like their sound. It’s soothing, the kind of music you’d want to listen to after a long day of work, y’know? By the way, they’re singing the Goyo theme song. It’s really pretty.
    • On loop: Ride Home, Leaves
  • Issa Rodriguez – I’ve known Issa since she was twelve; she’s a friend of my sisters, and by extension, mine. And even if we don’t get to talk and see each other like we used to, I feel very happy and proud to see the amazing artist she has become. I’m looking forward to hearing more of her work, because I’m pretty sure she’s only just begun.
    • On loop: Unan, Tahimik
  • The Eraserheads – I know, they’re not new, but I have been listening to their albums a lot in the past three months, in preparation for Ang Huling El Bimbo the Musical, and they’re just…timeless to me.
    • On loop: Poorman’s Grave, Hard to Believe, Walang Nagbago
  •  The Ransom Collective – The first time I heard one of their songs (I think it was Open Road), I really thought they were a foreign band. So imagine my surprise when I looked them up and discovered they’re Pinoy! Oh joy! Their stuff makes me wanna go on a really long road trip with friends, some pets, and my trusty ukelele. Not that I can play their songs, though.
    • On loop: Fools, Settled
  • Autotelic – Another band whose music makes me want to up and go to the beach or something. Well, I guess their music video for Languyin really made that suggestion. 😛
    • On loop: Languyin, Mataya-Taya

And that’s it for my #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy recommendations! Care to share yours?

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