Sunday, February 22, 2009


for some of you that has not understood my work, this blogspot hopefully will give you an insight of what I do. I am a cultural worker, among other things, I remember a friend from Panay island saying in one of our departures, “halong pirmi, kay gamay lang kita”. That was Al Tesoro bidding good bye at Roxas City.
Again and again, I remember what that phrased have always meant. There’s really few of us, few of me I supposed, there are few people that does things as this, crazy things, nor ordinary things but really absurd and extraordinary things.

it seems that every time a loved one departs, something great is happening with my journey. When my father died in ’99, my work abroad started to unfold, first with the Arts Network Asia in Singapore which brought me to other parts of Asia, then to a countless cities specially that in San Francisco, Ca.

when my mother died last year, I have again reinvented myself to become an entrepreneur-artist and cultural worker. SaBALAI Bistro was born in June 20. The first theme restaurant in Koronadal, it opened with an evening of Arias in Spanish, German, Russian and Italian Opera interwoven with B’laan chanting. It was indeed a rendesvouz of musical bravura amidst art works and eclectic European cuisine.

I would like to recount this storytelling beginning with my work in San Francisco, Ca. I first met Alleluia, who is a dear friend and a great director when the Sining Kambayoka Ensemble- a theatre group from Marawi city led by Sunnie Noel, was rescued from its near death-production experience in Los Angeles. Soon, I found myself in the comforts of friends specially Tisay Opaon who is now bringing the name of Stan Ali – the dearest black-American friend whom I considered a Filipino by heart and soul.

i started working with Kularts when Alleuia Panis approached me in february 26, 01 to conceive and direct a program that culminates a yearly festival of multi-disciplinary arts. She was interested in a working arts manager from the Philippines curating a spotlight for the Filipino-American audiences and wondered what would happen if the curator in the Philippines which was me brings in a production to be deconstructed by her in another stage, obviously in San Francisco for that matter. This is the birth of Philippine Master Artist in residency. In particular, she was interested in my network of artists specially that of indigenous peoples all over Mindanao which I had worked with. Bringing to the US a different kind of experience as well as a diaspora of Filipino-Americans. Hence, KulArts Tribal Tour was conceived. I am no longer working in the program due to some commitments especially when I became commissioner for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in the Philippines but more things unraveled over these years.

over the next half a decade, i travelled all over Mindanao and some parts of the globe (Hongkong, China, Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, and Europe) to understand a little bit more what was happening in those cultures, finally putting the basic programme together by February of this year, with the Opening Salvo of the World Festival of Puppeteers in the City of Koronadal.

over the last few months starting last year, it has been a process of putting the festival together (and endless budgetting! And conceptualizing) with my Chair, the Hon, Ellen Grace Subere, among others.

for the World Festival of Puppeteers in the Marbeleno Mardi Gras, i have used 3 bases of my working method as an Arts manager to create the festival: the intercultural process/conversation, the laboratory and the documentary approach in performance.

central to the World Festival of Puppeteers will be a laboratory (THE COGON LAB) for the artists which will have windows open to the public to witness the workshops, presentations etc. every evening, there will be a lecture series developing on the theme of "the politics of translation dissecting traditions and contemporary expressions". These I hope will be done in the upcoming City Charter Anniversary of Koronadal in October 2009.

Ultimately the largest challenge has been the presentation of the different contingent’s puppets. Which I believe, little have ever happened if there was any. We have kept a constant dialogue with them to find the best method to present their performance series as juxtapose to the different mardi gras as experimentations and dialogue.

On the request and suggestion of the choreographers as well as some of the invited judges from the NCCA, I have decided to include in the next festival the other events of these concept series , If I will be allowed to continue on this still. To include the different spectacles of conformities and empowerment since the politics of public service is again fast approaching. But this time, to mimic good governance as a cry for change and an education for all.
The City of Koronadal goes into transit during these days, a mid-summer night’s dream! In these days of saga and journey to discovery, we switch our contexts to enjoy another, we enter a collision course of different values and expressions. The carnival is a time of transit, of Spotlight, highlighting the Marbeleno Mardi Gras in the city of Koronadal a.k.a. the World Festival of Puppeteers. The carnivalesque manifests itself in front of KCC on Jan 10, ’09. General Santos Drive and Alunan Ave transformed through the night, with the help of djs and vjs, into a vortex of dance, music and images.

Descending on the street is a communal celebration of life for all the people of Koronadal. Indeed Koronadal is local yet global.

perhaps i will see you in Koronadal in October?

warmly CARLO