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REVIEW: Tanghalang Ateneo's "Don Juan: Ang Babaero ng Sevilla," Filipino translation of "Playboy of Seville"

Sex, lies and swordplay 
By Walter Ang
December 15, 2003
Philippine Daily Inquirer

DURING the 1600s, there was no television, radio, internet, nor MMS- capable cellphones yet. So it's not surprising that comedia (which does not mean "comedy," but rather "drama" or `play") performed in public squares and marketplaces may have been all the rage. It was easy to please the audience with clear-cut portrayals of good triumphing over evil by showing plays such as Tirso De Molina's "El Burlador de Sevilla y Convidado de Piedra" (Playboy of Seville and the Stone Guest).

In this day and age where one is weaned on the fast-cuts of MTV and the thousand and one distractions of techno-gadgets, how does one catch and sustain the attention of an audience with a centuries-old morality play about a womanizing leach who gets his just desserts? Tangahalang Ateneo braves an attempt with "Don Juan: Ang Babaero ng Sevilla," a translation by Salvador Malig,…

Getting a nipple ring

The (Nipple) Ring 
By Walter Ang
November 2003 issue
MTV INK Magazine

February 
I don't know when it was exactly that I decided I would get a nipple ring. But when I finally got my head to agree with my heart, I spent a few days scouring the internet to research body piercing. I figured if I was going to get it done, I'd better know what the hell I was getting into!

I got loads and loads of information and used my super editing skills to trim it down to a four pager summary. Prepared with my research, I proceeded to find an appropriate piercing parlor where I could have my procedure performed. (Don't you just love alliteration!?)

A friend tipped me off to a tattoo/piercing parlor in a Makati mall. I went to do a visual inspection, or more commonly termed in the Philippines as "ocular." It seemed clean enough. They had a Certificate from the Sanitation Department on the wall, which what I thought was a good thing. I asked a couple of questions and got suitable answe…

Whispers and quivers: Walking tours of Manila's cemeteries

Whispers and quivers 
By Walter Ang
November 2003 issue
MTV INK Magazine

As November loomed closer, I felt the earth quiver and heard it moan with whispers from souls beyond our world. Just kidding! I didn't really hear anything, but I did feel it was the perfect time to take a walking tour of the La Loma, Chinese and North cemeteries.

I've known my friends long enough not to invite the ones who'll look at me like I've taken crazy-pills, nor the ones who will cross themselves and sneak glances at my forehead, trying to see if horns are beginning to grow. Instead, I rounded up a bunch of morbid freaks, I mean, ehem, adventurous, curious and fun-loving individuals to join in this enterprise.

We met up with our tour guide Carlos Celdran, a bubbly and gregarious fellow, and began our journey at the La Loma Cemetery. Energized by the bright afternoon sun, we were eager to explore the earth and see what stories it would reveal.

Beginning at the end
Away from the city noise and…

Death in a Chinoy (Filipino-Chinese) Family

Death in the Family 
By Walter Ang
Oct. 29, 2003
Philippine Daily Inquirer

I was all of 13 years old. I was juggling the twin hurdles of puberty and high school --my body was growing faster than my skin and I was barely a month into my freshman year -- when I'm woken by my aunt one morning, her face full of sadness. Then I hear the news that pulls the rug from under my feet, and I begin a long arduous fall.

My mother had died. The hours and days (and years even) that came after was an unreal blur. First things first, I had to have my head shaved. It's a custom followed by Chinoys since you can't have your hair cut for 40 days. I'm not sure if you're supposed to get a haircut for practical reasons because you can't get it cut again for sometime, or if the act in itself is some sort of prescribed tradition. Someone accompanied my two brothers and me to the barbershop and minutes later, the manicure ladies were murmuring hushed tones of "Kawawa naman sila.&quo…

REVIEW: Ballet Philippines' "Carmina Burana," choreography by Alice Reyes

Horror music, live!
By Walter Ang
Oct. 29, 2003
Philippine Daily Inquirer

All I know about classical music, I heard from the cartoons that I watched growing up. I know all the music aficionados out there are now cringing and beating their breasts in frustration. Don't worry, at least I know how to pronounce Chopin. Smile.

Also, thanks to Ballet Philippines' production of "Icons," I now know the title of a certain piece of music often used in horror and suspense films, usually in apocalyptic scenes where humankind perishes in a huge fireball. This piece of music was most recently used in the opening scene of MTV's "Jackass: The Movie."

"Icons" went onstage at the Main Theater of the CCP and featured the Philippine Madrigal Singers and the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra. The first act was filled with lighthearted song and dance with the Madrigals singing three songs and the dancers performing two pieces with the orchestra.

Tony Fabella's c…

Making performance art in Manila

Performance What? 
By Walter Ang
October 2003 issue
MTV INK Magazine

Like a virgin The first time I ever saw performance art was via a documentary on Yoko Ono. The TV screen flickered with black and white images of her seated in the middle of a room while, horrors of horrors, people from the audience armed with scissors snipped away at her kimono!

Like a virgin ? live! Later that year, I got to catch a performance art festival in Penguin Café, Malate. Intrigued by what I had seen on TV, I wasn't going to let the real thing pass me by!

Just some of what I saw: Two shirtless guys, one slumped over the other, crawling all over the place ? on the floor, tabletops, the bar.

A guy who washed people's feet with a basin of beer.

And the weirdest one of all, a guy who put his hands in his pants and either 1) pretended to spank the monkey or 2) really spanked the monkey.

The friend I had Tom Sawyered into going with me and I fancied ourselves adventurous and open minded. We tried to see …

Liz Batoctoy designs Darna for Ballet Philippines

Designing Darna 
By Walter Ang
July 12, 2003
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Say you're a superheroine and you battle evil elements of society like robbers, gang members, evil snake-haired women and all sorts of nasty characters. It's great that you have a magical stone you can swallow to give you superpowers, but where in the world are you supposed to have your wardrobe done?

Your outfit should be able to withstand the rigors of flying, hand-to- hand combat and other calisthenics involved in fighting crime. And of course, being the ultra Pinay superheroine that you are, you'd have to look just abso-bloody-lutely fantabulous! Why just play when you can also display?

For Ballet Philippines' August production of "Darna," a multi-media show with dance, flying and music, the task of creating the right look for the cast of characters fell to the able hands of Liz-Fjelle Batoctoy. Saturday Super Special sought her out with our noses. You know you've found her when you…

REVIEW: Philippine High School for the Arts' "Rossum's Universal Robots" and "The Tempest"

Look do we have here! A promising group of young thespians 
By Walter Ang
April 30. 2003
Philippine Daily Inquirer

"No one can hate man more than man himself," said the poster heralding a twinbill presentation by the Philippine High School for the Arts.

Despite the bleak and ominous tone of the poster, after watching the show at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Huseng Batute Theater I announced to my friends that, "I haven't had this much fun watching a theater production in a very long time!"

Having seen too many plays and musicals that were too pretentious, too commercial, and too unoriginal, this recital cum graduation by the theater majors of the country's only arts high school was definitely a breath of fresh air.

The young students from all over the country gave off a vibrant, earnest energy in the two comedies they presented. They had an obvious passion for the craft and art of theater that renewed my faith in the form.

"First and almo…

Rebirth of Romance: The Registry wedding venue

Rebirth of Romance 
By Walter Ang
March 30, 2003
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Tucked into the heart of San Juan, the cozy and relaxed atmosphere of the "The Aviary" once attracted countless couples in search of good food and romantic evenings. Many were disappointed when it stopped operations.

However, managing partner Ferdie "Pido" Villanueva would still receive inquiries to book the space for wedding receptions long after the fine-dining restaurant had closed shop.

Even former customers and friends all continued to espouse the virtues of the location. Encouraged by their constant prodding, Pido rounded up a new group of partners and set forth to renovate the place into its new incarnation, "The Registry." No longer a restaurant, but now a venue to be rented out for special occasions.

Like a glorious phoenix reborn, The Registry formally opened with a grand affair complete with a pair of models dressed up as newlyweds alighting from a silver Jaguar before th…