Tuesday, August 23, 2011



Dr. Feorillo A. Demeterio III

Vice Dean, College of Liberal Arts, De La Salle University

I did not have the privilege of experiencing the Politeismo of Mideo Cruz, as the whole exhibition Kulo was closed the day I thought of going to CCP and see for myself this installation in the context of the whole show. But since the controversy it created is aesthetic, philosophical and cultural, I, as a professor of Philippine studies, am compelled to make sense out of it using the fragmented footages and snapshots that I saw on television and the internet.

I propose that Mideo Cruz’ Politeismo be analyzed using the Dada movement as the overall framework, because his installation is indeed a representative of this genre. But a problem arises here, owing to the fact that even for the classic and traditional arts, the average Filipino tends to have a very low aesthetic literacy. If we cannot expect the average Filipino to be able to plumb the meaning of realistic painting or sculpture, the more that we cannot expect him to make sense out of Dada installation. I believe that this gap between an artist’s expression and the people’s capacity to read such expression is the root of the controversy that we are currently experiencing.

In the context of the Dada movement it is very difficult to talk about what is beautiful and what is ugly, because Dada art is designed to critique social and cultural norms in a shocking way. Just think of one of its most famous exemplary pieces: Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain,” which is just a urinal that is mounted on a pedestal and audaciously signed by the artist. What for us may just be rubbish is actually a powerful artistic criticism of the pretentions of classical and modern aesthetics that deified the names of the great masters.

But why does Dada have to be shocking and “ugly”? According to the German aesthetic theorist Theodor Adorno, a conventionally beautiful art will only make us think that the world and society are truly wonderful, and therefore we should not do anything that might spoil their beauty. But a shockingly unconventional art will make us see what is wrong with our world and society, and therefore goad us to address these shortcomings. Conventional beauty will lull us to sleep, while shocking “ugliness” will wake us up and propel us into action.

In the context of the Dada movement and the avant-garde aesthetics of Adorno, the question “is the installation Politeismo beautiful or ugly” is simply not the right question to raise, because the more appropriate ones should be “what is it that is being critiqued by this installation,” and “is the installation successful in critiquing such thing/s.” We were not able to raise these more appropriate questions because we framed Cruz’ art in the context of classic and traditional aesthetics, and in the context of intolerant Catholic theology.

If you will ask me the question “what is it that is being critiqued by Politeismo,” based on the fragmented footages and snapshots that I saw, I think it is critiquing several aspects of our psyche and culture. Cruz could be making a statement against our cluttered aesthetics that tends to fill up all available spaces with bric-a-brac and kitschy items. He could be making a statement against our more literal polytheism that is manifested in the way we enshrine together several Santo Ninos, Virgins, Angels, Buddhas and other Saints in one altar. He could also be making a statement against our more subtle polytheism that makes us worship God side by side with our other gods and goddesses: the movie stars, the politicians, money, sex, America, consumer goods and others. The bottom line intention of Cruz’ installation is to show us a mirror image of our unhealthy psyche and culture. Persecuting him for showing us such an “ugly” picture, is just like smashing a mirror for reflecting our ugly faces. Just us we remain ugly even after the mirror is reduced into shards, our psyche and culture would remain unhealthy even if we lynch Cruz.

If you will ask me the question “is the installation successful in critiquing such things?” My answer will be more complicated. On one hand, judging on the uproar it created, we can say that Politeismo delivered its potent punch on us Filipinos, and therefore it is successful. But listening to the contents of such an uproar that failed to go beyond the accusations of blasphemy and the prattle on ugliness, we can say the Politeismo failed due to the simple fact that the average Filipino is not ready to deal with Dada installations. Closing the whole exhibit Kulo is not only unfair to Cruz and the other 31 participating artists, it is also missing the opportunity of educating the Filipinos, especially the young ones, on the meaning of Dada and on the problems and ills of our culture and society.

(article is written by a friend and it's copied here verbatim with his permission)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Ring

What's in the ring?

It seems I get a lot of questioning

I find myself answering, saying the same thing

Like a broken record playing

Only to find out different audience asking and listening.

To each one, a ring has its meaning

But mine is momentous and very special ring

Worn half of the years I'm living

My refuge when I'm yearning.

Hey! What’s that ring that you’re wearing?

Well, I’m just thinking

Maybe it’s time for me to be asking

A thing that I don’t really like doing.

I think I’m one of them always flowing

The constant that’s always changing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Conversation about Fear

(excerpt from Defending Your Life film)

Bob Diamond
: Being from earth as you are and using as little of brain as you do, your life has pretty much been devoted to dealing with fear.

Dan Miller: It has?

Bob Diamond: Everybody on earth deals with fear. That's what little brains do.

Bob Diamond: Did you ever have friends whose stomachs hurt?

Dan Miller: Every one of them.

Bob Diamond: It's fear. Fear is like a giant fog. It sits on your brain and blocks everything. Real feeling, true happiness, real joy, they can't go through that fog. But you lift it and buddy, you're in for the ride of your life.

Meaningful & noteworthy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


You may have guessed the meaning of the word, literally! But it's neither the story of big brother that took care of his siblings nor the bully type.

We were in a hurry to go somewhere, but we need to bring the thing that we came for. It's located in the car park so we have to go in. The driver asked my brother to slot in the parking ticket for clearance to exit. I grabbed the ticket to do it coz he's asking for the machine's location. I went out of the car, dashed to the machine, and ran back to where we stopped. Abruptly opening the door...

Manoy! (a shout???)...

I heard him calling but his voice sounded from the distance. At the same time, I was greeted with surprised, wide-eyed and speechless people inside. I slammed the door before anyone says anything, and ran to our car.

The car that was park where we were before was exactly the same size, color and make of what we're using. Who would have thought that there would be another car in that place in just a matter of few seconds! It's in seconds, not a minute!

We exited from the car park. Fast!

I told them what I saw. We all burst into laughter, but a short one! We all seem tense and concentrating to reach our destination the shortest possible time.

But thinking back, I get amused seeing those people got tongue-tied and bewildered! I guess they didn't even know if they wanted to get angry or laugh.. Maybe they're also laughing! But who knows? It makes me smile a little bit...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Oh, mountain I am coming for I am drained

My thoughts is in tons of train

But when I come, will it ever rain?

And I thought of going to the beach

But thinking it seems out of reach

And I'm still sitting on this bridge.

Maybe it's just a dream, a product of being drained

But, is it not everything starts from a dream?

Mountain, I will come

And time can ever tell when I come

For now I will just tell you,

You are dearest to me heart!


Saturday, April 30, 2011

On "Re-Creating Culture Through Peer Pressure"

My two cents. In response to my friend's proposal on re-creating culture.

I'm happy that there are still people who care and think for the good of the community and the nation specially looking at the condition of our nation as a whole. I knew some people that really worked hard and spent so much time helping those in need. But we need more of these people to achieve the goal.

Few of our batchmates, including myself, discussed on how to get involved and contribute to the community. That was a year ago! Though it's understandable that nothing is done coz we're out of the country (not a good reason though), and sometimes we're out of touch. Ouch! And, we're still at that stage, thinking! hmmm...

I'm for re-creating the culture through training and education specially to children or young ones. However, I prefer other alternatives to peer pressure.

Why not peer pressure? This is the same tool and tactic that our politicians used to corrupt the whole country. It created the padrino system, that if you don't have padrino your application (whatever transaction you're trying to get) won't be processed or will be delayed. Or you have to give certain percentage to get the government project coz there's a pressure from department head. This type of corruption is an open secret that almost every one knew, yet no one can exactly point out the people involved!

Corruption is no longer a problem, and it becomes the norm! It's a social disease! I guess it emanated from peer pressure. If you can't beat them join them syndrome?

Why peer pressure works? Most of us wanted approval/acceptance from our peers in things that we do. Once one is against the grain he may become an outcast. So, one has to conform with what others want to do.

Alternative. Teach them by example.
1. Values. Conduct, character, conscience and integrity. These mold the personality of the person.

2. Cause and effect. For every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. Newton's Law! This is learned in physics, but children need not be scientists to learn this law. We can teach them like the campaign ads Basura mo ay Babalik sa Iyo. This example is powerful specially those who really experienced flooding due to garbage mismanagement. Or do unto others as you want others do unto you.

3. To follow the rules & rights/freedom. Going by the rules seems difficult specially nowadays people wanted rights/freedom. There's always a tendency to go against it coz he wants his freedom. We have to teach them that freedom is not absolute! That freedom has to follow the rules. Example: If somebody is inside the theater or movie house, he can't just talk loudly as he likes coz he's violating others' rights to enjoy the show.

On love for country and nationalism. Social studies was taught as a fact through the national heroes' deeds. Unfortunately, it's never emphasized to love the country. Maybe our teachers missed the target. We have to teach the children sense of belonging. That is to the community and country.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Missing Sound

It's cold early in the morning while the gentle breeze is blowing. The climate has changed, I guess. It's not the typical morning temperature.


Plak!... Plak!... Plak!... and it's getting louder..


The distinct sound of Chinese music is floating in the air gently getting louder. I can see two silhouettes as if floating in the air. They are moving flawlessly. One is using a sword, and the other is a fan knife. Plak! ... Plak!.. Plak!... Its sound rhythms with the background music. I'm mesmerized, I guess coz I've slowed down or maybe stopped for a while.

But the sounds and silhouettes were in the past...

Today I came out expecting to hear and see them, however, the place is just empty. So I proceeded with my morning ritual contented with the humming sound of the cars passing by.

I missed the sound that poses as the marching music to sync everyone's movement..

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hear No Evil. See No Evil. Say No Evil.

Picture is worth a thousand words. I guess, it's a good compliment to a picture. However, some people may have nothing much to do! They can only see evil in it.

It's disappointing and sad to learn that people may think and could say bad things out of the picture without knowing the facts.

It's best to keep away from these people once we knew them!

You can find the link in here as stated in my FB. Just figure it out!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Setting the Bar Up or Down?

Walang Iwanan (Leave No one) and helping batchmates, who need help, send their kids to school. Two reasons on embarking our project.

85% maintaining grade to avail the scholarships being sponsored is a good idea! However, I would agree with Yumyum that it's too high.

I would suggest the following criteria:
1. Obviously, financial capability of the parents sending their kids to school.

2. Set maintaining grade for each individual by looking at the average grade for each candidate.

85% or any grade to be set is just a number. What if, most of the candidates are below that bar being set? Either we lower that percentage, or the candidate can't avail the scholarship.

As Yumyum stated, our main purpose is to help these kids get an education.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Theme Song: I Gotta Feeling (Black Eyed Peas)

The beat and lyrics are the usual things that people like about a song. And sometimes, each individual's mood is the factor that some one likes a particular song.

As the time goes by, it will be just a thing in the past, forgotten!

But when the song is associated to a once in a lifetime and memorable celebration, those moments, events and certainly the great feelings would be relived and cherished!

Enjoy the sound of our silver jubilee theme song, I Gotta Feeling.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

AHC Day 5: Going Back to Reality

Mon 6AM: Woke up to pack up and have breakfast! Had some discussion with Tatay before leaving home.

730AM: Tatay sent me to the bus terminal, but we had to detour to visit a good friend to say hello and goodbye. And while waiting for the friend, I informed Aileen and Jinggoy that I was "already" in the terminal waiting for them.

I lost the time and we just chit-chat wherein hello was quite long. Supposedly it's only hello and goodbye. Aileen already called up saying that the van was leaving soon. We went straight to the terminal and within minutes the van left, 830AM!

I left Maasin with a heavy heart! I missed everyone!

1130AM: We reached Ormoc City, and needed to get Jinggoy's ferry ticket at Rommel's office. Then we raced to Gina's place for lunch.

1230PM: On the way to the ferry terminal for Cebu City. And we posed for picture-taking for the farewell group.

0200PM: Supercat left the port.

At around 330PM: The boat stopped/stalled! Propeller had some problems??? I asked DV if we can reach Cebu on time coz I had a flight to catch up.

0430PM: Supercat arrived port. I've asked Jinggoy to send me to Ayala and meet up with May for a coffee.

We arrived at Ayala past 5PM. We ordered some coffee, and talked summarizing long years of not seeing each other the shortest possible time. Posed for a picture, and again time to leave... :(

0600PM: Jinggoy sent me to the international airport, and we arrived around 7PM enough for me to check-in and clear immigration.

Upon reaching the holding area, "The Long and Winding Road" played (piano version) while I was taking picture of the flight number and destination! How appropriate! I'm on the way back to reality!

I reached home almost midnight exhausted and missing everyone back in the home town! But I felt very happy, indeed!

AHC Day 4: Family Day

Sun 1030: Mass was celebrated by Fr. Dennis.

Then we proceeded to Christine's place. Having lunch there, then some parlor games for adults and children.

Though we're at the beach, seems like no one wanted to take a dip. I went for a swim with Alma, Haydee and her children. Manuel also took a dip, and there's another one whose name I forgot. :(

Anyway the games and dance went until dark, then we ate our dinner before going to the next venue.

We brought drinks and food to Joy's place and had a party!

But everybody knew that all good things has to last!

Past midnight, Manila group had to leave first going straight to the bus terminal to catch up with their early flight in Tacloban City. They were sent by our batchmates. But when they left, tears somehow fell! The group grew so quite that you can noticed that's it's already wee hours of the morning!

Those left behind went back in, and became quite for a while trying to recover that odd feeling. Then we continue dancing and singing, storytelling a little bit until past 2AM!

We took a picture for the night owl party-goers to wrap up the celebration! Then off we went!

I reached home around 3AM!

As usual, coffee before sleeping and chit-chat a little bit!