Nationalism, Novelty, and Filipino Rap

In 2016, the Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA) staged a musical, 3 Stars and a Sun, featuring the songs of Francis Magalona, popularly known as Francis M. or Kiko. Francis M.’s status in the music industry is staggering. He single-handedly pioneered rap as a commercial art form in the Philippine music industry. His very first…

What is Kilig?

Kilig is a Tagalog word that describes a feeling of being thrilled, excited, or expectant. Kilig is most often associated with romance—a young man and a young woman might find each other attractive and feel a mutual kilig. Kilig is associated with possibility rather than consummation. Although watching the same young man and young woman…

Translating Malasakit

When the Pope came to visit the Philippines in 2015, his visit was accompanied by a tagline: “Pope, Thank You sa Malasakit” or #TYSM. The hashtag ran on the ticker of the daylong broadcasts of his travels on ABS-CBN and affiliate channels.  The word malasakit has long been said to be untranslatable. Its untranslatable quality is visible…

Women Can’t Fight, and Apolinario Mabini’s Body

Since the 150th anniversary of the life of Apolinario Mabini in 2014, cultural productions based on his life and his legacy have proliferated. As part of the celebrations of 2014, the Philippine Ballet performed a dance interpretation of Mabini’s memoirs of the Philippine revolution of independence and the subsequent war against the Americans (La Revolucion…

Manila by Acronym

If you are travelling from Monumento in the North to Makati in the south, you will want to take EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue). Monumento is the name for the statue in the middle of a major city thoroughfate dedicated to the memory of Andres Bonifacio in CAMANAVA (Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela). Andres Bonifacio famously founded the…

Denmark by Manila

Although officially Metro Manila is a region that consists of cities (Manila, Quezon City, Parañaque, Makati City, San Juan, Pasig, Malabon), it is also a city that consists of neighborhoods. Some of these neighborhoods are defined by the smaller government unit of the barangay. But some neighborhoods are lived spaces that have taken shape organically…

The Nightmare of Gay Bashing in “Buy Now, Die Later”

Randolph Longjas’ Buy Now, Die Later (2015)[1] from 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival has been described as a horror film and as a psychological thriller. In the film, Odie (an aspiring photojournalist), Chloe (an aspiring singer), Ato (an aspiring chef), Maita (a woman nostalgic for youth), and Pippa (a gay man who wants to best…

“Because I am very, very rich:” Love and Wealth for All in MMFF 2015

In the 2015 romantic comedy My Bebe Love:#Kiligpamore, the actor AiAi de las Alas in character as Corazon Talatala announces that she has “graduated” from “being poor:” she declares that “sa movies lang po kaya masaya yang pagiging poor “ Her lived experience tells her that “sa totoong buhay mas masaya pa rin ang pagiging…