How Cynthia Llantada conquered cancer without using drugs

How a woman conquered cancer without using drugs
By Walter Ang
February 16, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Cynthia Llantada recovered from breast cancer without chemotherapy and radiation treatments in just 14 months. Numerous requests for her to recount how she did it spurred her to write "Healthy by Choice," a book where she inventories the different alternative healing practices that she underwent.

This personal account is careful and consistent in reminding readers that it is not meant to replace the advice of experts. Llantada points out that it is important for readers to consult qualified professionals: medical doctors who practice both conventional and alternative medicine, as well as naturopathic doctors and nutritional therapists, among others.

Nonetheless, she advocates taking one's health into one's own hands. "My doctors didn't make my decisions for me," she proclaims. Llantada engaged doctors as consultants and made her own choices.

Finding out
In a scenario that will sound all too familiar to many readers, Llantada recounts how fastfood for most of her meals, lack of exercise and sleep, pressures from work, deliberately reducing her water intake (to avoid having to go to the bathroom for long work meetings), overdependence on antibiotics and pain medications, stress from daily three hour commutes, and a general lack of time invested in downtime or relaxing took a cumulative toll on her body.

In 2002, she found a golf ball sized lump in her breast and subsequent tests revealed numerous cysts and tumors in her breasts, liver and uterus. She was told that cancer metastasis was a strong possibility and was eventually diagnosed to have stage three cancer?where only 40% of those stricken survive within five years.

With a strong conviction that "the body can heal itself," Llantada eschewed the usual chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She argues that most conventional treatments merely mitigate symptoms and not necessarily cure the cause of cancers.

Instead, herbal supplements, reflexology, acupuncture and hydrotherapy were her first few selections from an arsenal of non-conventional therapies that eventually included nutrition therapy, water purification, and even the use of "scalar energy" enhanced products such as pendants and water to recalibrate the "voltage" of her body's cells.

How to choose
Llantada had been a sickly child prone to colds, asthma attacks and bronchitis. Her father routinely asked her to think of what she might have done to trigger these respiratory illnesses to make her aware of how she might avoid recurrences. This inculcated in her "the skill of decision analysis" which led her to a career in finance and became her method of dealing with her cancer diagnosis and in taking "calculated risks in trying out natural therapies."

Llantada notes that while surgery and pharmaceutical drugs are "sometimes the best short term answers for certain problems," she contends that it can be frustrating when treatments end up not just killing the disease but also the person. As such, she points out, "there is no one way to solve health problems" and that it is therefore important to read, research and inquire "to learn from the successes and mistakes of others."

She credits her "untiring energy to update herself on health improvement techniques" in helping her make "practical informed choices" in dealing with her condition.

The first step, she posits, is that "a good diagnosis is important before one can decide on solutions to a medical problem." She relied on Dr. Efren Navarro to perform Beta Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) Urine Immuno Assay tests on her to fully diagnose her cancer. The book explains the principle behind the test, but basically, the higher amount of HCG found in the blood or urine, the more active the cancer.

This test has been found to detect cancers many months before symptoms appear: brain cancer (29 months ), fibrosarcoma of the abdomen (27 months), skin cancer (24 months), and bone cancer (12 months). Throughout her journey with cancer, Llantada would use this test to monitor the effectiveness of her chosen therapies.

She retained the services of Dr. Teresa Valeros, a naturopathic doctor who specializes in whole body detoxification through methods such as diet modification, supplements, and colon irrigation.

Clean then strengthen
After cleansing her body, Llantada went on to strengthening her body with good food, quiet time for her mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, and other less known healing methods like brushing her skin and jumping on a trampoline to strengthen her lymphatic system.

She lists down all of these in the book and provides the rationales and principles involved in a conversational and non-medical tone as well as practical ways to incorporate these into one's life. She includes a bibliography that cites the sources of her research and suggestions for further reading.

As a word of caution, Llantada tells readers about the phenomena of "healing crisis" or the "Herxheimer Reaction"?how the body can become ill when one begins healing therapies since it is expelling accumulated toxins at a much faster rate than normal. She reminds readers of the normalcy of this phenomena and not to get discouraged.

Llantada ends the book with tips for healthy daily living. Simple and doable tips include chewing food properly (digestion begins in the mouth), drinking oxygenated water and even monitoring the appearance of one's stool as a way to gauge if the body's internal organs are working up to par. She also gives a list of locally available foods that are nutritionally packed and have inherent healing properties that range from antibiotic to purgative.

Eight months after her diagnosis, Llantada felt her energy level return, although the tumor grew to the size of a papaya. She believes that her efforts kept the tumor benign and from spreading to other parts of her body. Surgery was finally scheduled to remove the one kilo mass, ending her ordeal with cancer. She was back to work in three weeks and more than five years later, she continues to maintain her health through the therapies she used.

"Healty by Choice" is available in bookstores.

Also published online:
http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/wellness/wellness/view/20100216-253398/How-a-woman-conquered-cancer-without-using-drugs

With Easy Pha-max' Green Ribbon campaign, green is the color of health

Green is the color of health
By Walter Ang
February 9, 2010
Manila Bulletin

Powdered wheatgrass drink manufacturer Easy Pha-max has launched a "Green Ribbon" campaign to generate awareness of the importance and benefits of preventive health.

"It's somehow modeled after the `clean and green' campaigns that promote environmentalism," says Edward Ling, Easy Pha-max CEO. "But this campaign focuses on encouraging all Filipinos to be proactive in taking care of their health and to strive for a balanced, quality life."

The company is promoting green as the color of optimum health and all that it stands for, such as eating organically grown food in a balanced diet; devoting ample time for exercise, stress-reduction, and spiritual needs; and even caring for the environment. "Wearing a green ribbon serves as a visual reminder to yourself and to everyone who sees it that we should all take care of our health," he says.

The Green Ribbon campaign will be supported by a series of activities that aims to educate Filipinos about the value of preventive health care. Lectures on health and nutrition; leisure and sports rallies; outreach programs, among others, are scheduled to be rolled out across the country starting in Metro Manila and will cascade all the way to Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The campaign is a logical progression of the company's efforts in educating the public on the the benefits of its main product. It uses the catchy slogan "Wheatgrass C.A.N.," where the acronym stands for the three major advantages of taking wheatgrass: cleanse, alkalize, and nourish.

Wonderfood
Wheatgrass is the young grass sprouted from wheat grains. Wheatgrass has high levels of nutrients which include vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, bioflavonoids, phytochemicals and more than 100 types of enzymes.

Wheatgrass has been found to neutralize free radicals that damage cells and lead to different diseases like cancer. It has also been found to neutralize toxic substances in the body like
drugs, heavy metals, and carcinogens, by breaking them down into substances that can be eliminated more easily without taxing the body's natural detoxifying systems like the liver, circulatory (blood), digestive and excretory systems.

Ling notes that virtually all degenerative diseases, including cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and kidney disease are associated with excess acidity in the body. If there is too much acid present, the body will use up its nutrient reserves to neutralize the acids. "For instance, your body will leach calcium from both your bones and teeth in an attempt to neutralize acids and this can lead to osteoporosis and fractures. The body can also utilize iron in your blood and this can lead to anemia," he explains.

Acidity can be neutralized by bicarbonates, chlorophyll and alkaline minerals that can be found in fruits and vegetables. Wheatgrass has been hailed as the "King of Alkaline Foods" because it is the most alkaline among vegetables due to its high amounts of calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and iron.

"Details of the benefits of wheatgrass can be found in our website www.wheatgrasscan.com," says Ling. Aside from instant wheatgrass drinks, Easy Pha-max builds on its mission to promote preventive health by manufacturing other products such as instant coffee and soymilk drinks incorporated with wheatgrass; colon cleansing drinks, and drinks for diabetics using charantia as the main ingredient.

Green activities
The Green Ribbon campaign was jumpstarted with a lecture on cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is projected to become the leading cause of death worldwide this year.

TV personality Bernadette Sembrano served as host and invited speakers included oncologist Dr. Anthony Abad, medical director of the Philippine Oncology Center Corporation, and cancer specialist Dr. Roger Salindong. Abad gave the audience a comprehensive lecture on what cancer is all about: its causes; how lifestyle, genetic and environmental factors can contribute to cancer; and methods of treatment. Salindog gave the audience tips on alternative ways to manage the disease.

The launch also announced that the Green Ribbon campaign will have a series of weekend getaways dubbed "So Easy Life Camp," where participants will go through detoxification by taking So Easy Colon Cleanse, a drink that helps remove mucoid plaque (leading cause of colon cancer), while taking part in lectures, stretching and massage sessions, breathing exercises and other activities.

"There will also be games and dance sessions and a chance to unwind from the stress and rigors of daily life. Participants will meet new friends and it's easier to go through detoxification when you're with a group instead of doing it alone," says Ling. "Participants can expect to look and feel healthier, more youthful and radiant. They can take what they learn from these camps and apply it to their lives."

For details on So Easy Life Camp, call 887-3277 or 0915-393-5535.

Also published online:
http://mb.com.ph/articles/242520/green-color-health

Rep stages Valentine musical comedy

Rep stages Valentine musical comedy
By Walter Ang
February 2, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Couples who want to do something more than the usual dinner-movie combo for their Valentine's date this year can consider catching Repertory Philippines' staging of "Romeo & Bernadette," a modern comedic twist on the Shakespeare classic "Romeo and Juliet."

"There's romance, it has kilig moments, it's a comedy, there's singing and dancing?all the stuff that we Filipinos love in a show," says Rep associate artistic director Joy Virata. "There will be a four-piece band that will play the musical's songs that are actually popular Italian tunes with adapted English lyrics and modern arrangements. Audiences may recognize the melodies since they've heard them used in many movies and television shows."

Audiences who usually stay away from Shakespeare needn't fear. There won't be any complicated old English words, Elizabethan corsets, or funny looking pointy shoes since the musical is set in Brooklyn, New York in the 1960s.

Project Runway Philippines season two finalist Santi Obcena is doing the costume design while Virata directs the show written by Emmy Award-winning Mark Saltzman. The world premiere staging of "Romeo & Bernadette" in the USA was nominated for seven Florida Carbonell Awards.

"In the original Shakespeare tragedy, Romeo and Juliet die in the end. In this one, it turns out that Romeo just took too much of a sleeping potion and ended up in a very long coma," says Virata. "He wakes up in the 20th century and sees a girl who looks like Juliet, but is actually Bernadette, daughter of disreputable, most feared mob chief Sal Penza."

To make sure the cast gets the accent of "Italian-Americans-from-Brooklyn" just right, Virata devoted two weeks of rehearsals just for accent work. "I simply googled `how to speak in an Italian accent!'" she says with a laugh. "I made them watch movies like `My Cousin Vinnie.' It helped a lot that we were able to cast Jim Paoleli, a returning Rep actor and a real Italian American who grew up in Brooklyn. He became our accent coach."

Virata is a veteran Rep actress and has done countless light romances and comedies, the most recent one being "Duets" this January, where she and co-star Miguel Faustmann played four different characters each.

"Because of the roles I've done, I feel like comedy is something I understand and, as a director, I can share that understanding with my actors," Virata says. "Farce is actually one of the hardest kinds of productions to do. Even though the situations are exaggerated for comic effect, actors still need to show a level of truth to make it real for the audience. So I handpicked the best actors I could find for this musical to make my job easier," she adds with a laugh.

Cris Villonco, whose last production for Rep was playing Ophelia in "Hamlet," returns from a year-long stint with Hongkong Disneyland to take on the role of Bernadette. Virata is all praises for the actress despite Villonco's own admission that she's more used to portraying "serious and deep" characters.

"As an actor, Cris is intelligent and open. As a director, that's all I really need," says Virata. "I actually asked her while she was still in Hong Kong to play this role of a vulgar, sexy, spoiled brat who, deep within, is a well of tenderness capable of true love. I'm glad she accepted the offer. She's doing great."

Villonco says, "It's impossible to be too serious with the material since it's campy and fun." Partnering with Villonco as Romeo is PJ Valerio, the latest resident male ingénue in Rep's stable of actors. Valerio was in the musical comedy "Altar Boyz" and has played romantic leads in "Disney's Mulan" and last year's "Fantastiks." Romeo's counter ego Dino del Canto will be essayed by very capable character actor Red Concepcion.

The young actors are supported by Rep veterans such as Liesl Batucan, Dido de la Paz, Juno Henares, and Jaime Wilson. Rem Zamora, in addition to being the show's assistant director, has been tasked to play eight different roles and will have to contend with three accents: Russian, Irish, and Brooklyn. "The hardest accent I had to learn is an Irish one where I have to be extra careful not to sound Indian," he says with a laugh.

Deanna Aquino choreographs, John Battala does lighting design and Dennis Lagdameo designs the set.

"Romeo & Bernadette" runs from Feb. 5, 2010 until the end of the month at Onstage Theater, Greenbelt 1, Makati City. For details, call 8870710.

Also published online:
http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/artsandbooks/artsandbooks/view/20100201-250566/New-Rep-comedy-has-many-kilig-moments

Move that body with chiropractor Martin Camara

Move that body
By Walter Ang
February-March 2010 issue
Garage Magazine

Anyone can suffer from bone and muscle problems: young or old, physically fit or not. From athletes to people who sit behind desks at work, no one is immune to stress, tension, overexertion and other factors that can cause misalignments in the spine. These displacements may cause irritation to the nerves surrounding the spine, resulting in various malfunctions in the body like slip disc, scoliosis, back or shoulder pain, etc.

Through chiropractic treatment, conditions that affect our bones and muscles, ligaments and cartilage, and even the nerves, can be dealt with. "Chiropractic emphasizes diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine," says chiropractor Dr. Martin Camara.

Camara studied chiropractic at Palmer College of Chiropractic-West, California and graduated Cum Laude. He has served as part of a chiropractic expert panel for the World Health Organization and has been a sports doctor and chiropractor for the Turino Winter Olympics 2006, Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the Asian Indoor Games 2009.

One of the treatments most equated with chiropractic is spinal manipulation. It operates on the principles developed by Daniel David Palmer more than a hundred years ago. Palmer believed that the body has a natural healing ability and that misalignments of the spine can interfere with the flow of energy needed to support health.

"The goal of chiropractic therapy is to normalize this relationship. Unlike conventional medicine approach which is to focus more on treating the symptoms rather than the cause, we always begin by looking for positive aspects to build wellness upon. We identify the potentials that the person still has and then maximize those potentials," Camara says.

If misalignments in the spine are detected, the chiropractor will generally apply a gentle force to correct this. Treatments help improve spinal structure, and therefore, posture, too. "When a body regains its normal range of mobility, it becomes more efficient. Pain is relieved and performance is improved," he says.

Aside from the obvious reasons why patients seek out this kind of treatment like pain relief, there are "good side effects" that are borne out of the treatments. "Patients find that they sleep better, can breathe better or feel more energetic," he adds.

Camara notes that an ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure. "Things like posture and improper sleeping or sitting positions are seemingly small, insignificant events that actually add up cumulatively over time to cause injuries. People can come in for preventative adjustments or maintenance," he says.

Camara heads Intercare Healthcare Systems, a health center that offers chiropractic as well as other related disciplines that aim to "help clients attain their own state of optimal functioning." While the main modes of treatment at Intercare involve manual therapy including manipulation of the spine, the center advocates a holistic approach and, therefore, also offers myotherapy, acupuncture, monitored exercise programs, and even health and lifestyle counseling, among many other treatments.

"We integrate traditional, medically-oriented models of care with alternative and complementary methods. We use several natural, drugless, non-surgical, and non-invasive disciplines and techniques to bring the body back into balance in order to alleviate the pain," he says.

Myotherapy is a form of deep massage used to reduce tension and pain originating at specific points in the body. Those points, called trigger points, form when muscle is damaged, such as may happen at birth, during athletic exertion, or in an accident. Trigger points can cause muscle spasms that lead to pain elsewhere in the body.

"Myotherapy releases muscle spasms, improving circulation and oxygenation of the muscles. This brings about proper function and a healthy tone to ailing muscles," says Camara. "Our team of myotherapists know the appropriate trigger points to treat for which affected muscle. This is something that typical massage therapists in spas are not trained to do."

Myotherapy is beneficial for a host of conditions from as simple as muscle tightness and sprains to more serious situations involving sciatica and scoliosis.

Camara also uses his own proprietary instruments called I-Smart (Intercare Specific Myofascial Active Release Tools) that help him identify problem areas in a patient's body. Camara developed these tools based on his training in the Graston technique, a healing method that uses stainless-steel instruments to detect and "break up" scar tissues that limit a patient's range of motion and cause pain. The Graston technique is used by professional sports teams, universities and healthcare institutions in the USA.

"These tools are like my stethoscope, they help me better feel what's wrong under the skin," he explains. "If you can imagine muscle fibers as thick ropes side-by-side and some ropes become misaligned due to injury or misuse, the I-Smart method helps realign these ropes," says Camara.

With the many treatment options available at Camara's disposal, patients needn't worry about which to choose. "We provide a personalized, comprehensive and multidisciplinary healthcare program customized to the patient's needs," he says.

For details, visit www.intercare-centers.com.

For Frank Hoefsmit, the visual's the thing

The visual's the thing
By Walter Ang
February-March 2010 issue
Garage Magazine

When sought-after fashion photographer Frank Hoefsmit moved from Mandaluyong to Bonifacio Global City, he felt it made sense to transfer his photo studio as well. His clients used to have to walk up three flights of stairs and were greeted by a dark studio. "My lighting method used to be addition of light, so I worked with a dark background using mostly black and some gray," say Hoefsmit. Not everyone felt comfortable in the space and would even occasionally request to not shoot in the studio.

These were considerations that Hoefsmit kept in mind when he shopped for his new studio called ".be visual." "I found a place that had an elevator and I made all the walls white. I now subtract light when I take photos since white reflects and bounces light," he says with a grin.

If Hoefsmit has had to subtract elements in his lighting technique, he's gained a brand new working space that he and his clients enjoy. He liked the interiors of jeans designer Ino Caluza's retail stores and sought out the brains behind the work: Jagnus Design, a group composed of Sonny Sunga, Arnold Austria and John Cruz. The trio formed their group in 2007 after working as designers and contractors for a local developer.

Hoefsmit had found a potential spot in an irregularly shaped building and decided to show it to the designers before he decided to push through with the place. "I showed them the area and asked them if there was anything they could do with it, if they could see something in it that most other people might not see," he says. Hoefsmit felt that it was important to know if the designers would be excited and inspired by the space. "Otherwise, what's the point?" notes the lanky Belgian.

Luckily for Hoefsmit, the group was game on. Sonny recounts the creative brief: "An open and bright minimalist space, with a lot of indirect but natural light, except in the shooting area. Should have give the visitors the sense of being in a high-end and creative space. Should exude peace, creativity, security and serenity. This right energy is required to create great shoots."

Hoefsmit had actually written down three pages' worth of notes. "I find that it's easiest to be as specific as you can be," he says. "You have to give your collaborators as much information as you can give for them to work with." He even made sure that the Jagnus Group attended one of his shoots so they would understand exactly what was needed for his work.

Then he let them loose. The first thing Jagnus Design worked on was the layout. The most important requirement was that the shooting area followed a specific size requirement. This limited the possibilities of its location and orientation within the space. They had to work around preexisting building structures such as the elevator/stair access, the wash room location and a curved wall on one side of the space.

"The space was planned out from the required shooting area," says Sunga. "The supporting rooms like the production area, gallery, make up, dressing area are all located in the periphery."

Hoefsmit and his collaborators were cognizant of the need to let form follow function. "All interior elements needed to serve a triple purpose: design, function and background, meaning that all areas will eventually be used in shoots as a form of backdrop, and therefore should have interesting textures, shapes or structures," says Sunga.

Large sliding doors allow the shooting area to be expanded or closed off as needed, as well as allowing for the entry of bulky sets. Pantry shelves are hidden behind large panels that seem like they're part of the walls. A counter set against the wall conceal bag hooks and power outlets for laptops and gadgets. The shooting area's cyclorama hides a storage area strategically positioned to hide the curved wall. A mezzanine level was specially constructed for additional space to house Hoefsmit's office, a quieter and calmer area up and away from all the hustle and bustle.

And yes, except for a few exposed beams, some furniture pieces and a large bathroom door icon that were done in black, white was used for everything else. "This is a common color of choice for most artists' studios as it represents a blank canvass," says Sunga. This didn't mean it had to be boring though.

To add texture to the walls, the group used corrugated metal on selected surfaces. "The articulated play of layered transparencies and shadows formed by the ribbed walls reinforces the color white's ephemeral quality. It's ever changing depending on the season, time of day or whatever artificial light is used," Sunga says. "The ribbed steel skin can be used as a backdrop but it actually also conceals the heat and sound insulation."

A trapezoidal window in an off-kilter position in the gallery, huge doors with curved edges, a whimsical mural in the bathroom and cylindrical chair pieces add character and a sense of movement to the environment. Sunga laughs heartily at this writer's teasing that the space is reminiscent of the interior of a space ship. But as he points out, it is really "the provocative gesture of juxtaposing planes, lines and broken grids that provides the studio its signature look. The layout, color, form, pattern, and materiality coalesce to energize the interior architecture, which in turn enhances the user's creativity."

Another reason why Hoefsmit got the group was purely practical. "I didn't want to pay rent for a place and have construction going on for months on end. I wanted to get a group that was used to doing retail spaces because when you do construction for a mall, you have to work really fast," he says. He got his wish. Designing and construction planning took a month and after another month and half, Hoefsmit opened his studio. He stretches out his arms and says, "I love it."

Arts Month 2010 features campus theater groups

Arts Month features campus theater groups
By Walter Ang
February 1, 2010
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Seven university-based theater groups have been chosen to perform in this year's Tanghal! National University and College Theater Festival organized by the National Commission of the Culture and Arts' National Committee on Dramatic Arts

Selected from more than 20 entries, the seven schools will stage the following works:

Ateneo De Manila University "Baha-bahang Buhay: Mga Kwentong Ondoy," De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde "Doc Resureccion: Gagamutin ang Bayan," and De La Salle University-Manila "Rizal is My President" for NCR;

Saint Louis University "Kabsat (Brother)," and University of the Philippines-Los Baños "Sa Sinapupunan ng Laot" for Luzon;

University of the Saint Augstin-Iloilo "Tarangban" for Visayas

and Mindanao State University-Iligan "SugaTula" for Mindanao.

"The festival runs from Feb. 1 to 5, 2010 and offers the best performances of university theater companies all over the country, truly showcasing the harvest of Philippine theater," says Glecy Atienza, committee chair and festival director. "Regional representation was carefully considered in the selection process."

Tanghal! is a flagship project of the National Arts Month celebration, designated for every February, as per Presidential Proclamation No. 683 signed by then President Corazon Aquino.

Last year's festival (Tanghal! 3) was held at Letran College in Calamba, Laguna. This year's festival (Tanghal! 4), co-presented by the University of Makati and Alyansa, a network of cultural groups from schools, churches, communities and workplaces in Metro Manila, will be held at De La Salle University-Manila and is open to the public.

In past festivals, most productions have usually been original plays that tackled issues such as climate change, floods, illegal mining, pop culture, and current events. Tanghal 4's theme is "Dulaan ng Kabataan para sa Mapagpalayang Edukasyon." Atienza says, "The theme is to highlight the college-based theater sector that actively works to contribute in the development and transformation of education through the medium of theater."

The festival is also aimed at establishing a more formal national network of college-based theater groups in the country. "We are pushing for this kind of networking to help sustain and facilitate collaborative work among theater groups and artists," she adds.

Social change
Aside from the performances dubbed "Itanghal," planning is ongoing to finalize "Tanghalin," a series of activities that will include regional theater events, exhibits, mini-performances, workshops, fora, exhibitions, and a market of theater souvenir items and regional products.

"Universities and colleges nationwide can be part of the festival by simply informing us of their February activities so that we can list them in the calendar and souvenir programme as off-site activities," says Atienza.

The festival also includes "Tanghalan ng Mag-aaral," a "National Collegiate Theatre Network" conference. "The conference aims to come up with an agenda for social change through theater using schools as an arena of experimentation for change," Atienza says.

"Theater artists from schools are expected to share their experiences and come up with an action plan which we hope to translate into a program. We expect to discuss not only artistic experiences but also directions and programs for the youth leaders. We are especially keen about training teachers who are in the special programs for the arts and special arts schools since they are the breeding ground for future artists."

Distinctive
Another initiative by the committee is a "preparatory consultation and research" project focusing on "regional theater aesthetics" that will culminate in a national conference in March.

Joseph Ramos, conference coordinator and artistic director of Teatro Sambisig (a community theater group based in Pandacan, Manila), has been working with theater artists from the four regions since last year to conduct preliminary meetings.

"We asked each region to identify and define their own research agenda. Their documentation of their respective works and efforts will serve as a guide and reference to other researchers, scholars, teachers, students, and theater artists," he says. "We discovered that there is very little documentation available. This is why we stress the 'preparatory' part of our project title?this really is still the beginning stage of what will hopefully become a long-term effort."

Atienza says, "Basically, we're after the articulation of what factors of Filipino theater are distinctively Filipino. What is Philippine theater? What makes Philippine theater theater? What makes Philippine theater Philippine?"

The conference is titled "Tanghalan! National Theater Aesthetics Conference," and will include speakers such as Br. Karl Gaspar from Mindanao; Cecil Nava and Lucien Letaba from Visayas; and Mary Carling and Rica Palis from Luzon; with Manny Pambid (Peta), Dennis Marasigan (formerly of Tanghalang Pilipino and CCP), and Ricky Abad (Ateneo) from NCR.

There is a wide range of topics such as the histories and aesthetics of selected professional, school-based and community-based theater groups; the dynamics of translating foreign scripts into Filipino and indigenizing foreign theater forms; and the perspectives of theater reviewers, among many others.

There are plans to compile the research results into an anthology. Given constraints in time and financial resources, Atienza notes that this pioneering conference has obvious limitations. "As much as we wanted more representatives, it's not feasible at this time. However, we hope that this event will inspire and encourage all Filipino theater artists to join us in future efforts."

For details, call 981-8500 loc. 2262 or 497-4023.

Also published online:
http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/artsandbooks/artsandbooks/view/20100201-250569/Arts-Month-features-campus-theater-groups