Saturday, September 23, 2017


Social visions

Melvin Culaba’s paintings often challenge the audience to take a second look at social problems. Photo by PAUL ALLYSON R. QUIAMBAO IT TAKES insight and imagination for one to see art in the grime and austerity of everyday life.

All too often, art is seen as an escape into a world crafted by the artist’s imagination. Reality is sometimes too harsh, after all. Yet for Melvin Culaba, it is this harshness that brings vitality to his work.

Dubbed by critics as one of the Philippine art world’s best-kept secrets, the UST alumnus has had eight one-man shows and more than 30 group shows in the past 15 years, not to mention entering the finals in such prestigious national art contests as the Art Association of the Philippines Annual Competition and winning an art fellowship grant from the Vermont Studio Center in the United States.

Divine fellowship of voices

In unison. Four Thomasian choral groups gather for a night dedicated to timeless songs of praise and worship. Photo by JOSE MARGO S. FLORESFOUR UST singing groups teamed up and with their angelic voices, gave auidiences the sound and taste of heaven.

The Liturgikon Vocal Ensemble, together with the Coro Tomasino, the UST Chorus of Arts and Letters, and the AMV Accountancy Chorale presented “In Communion,” a concert of sacred music, last April 12 at the Philam Life Auditorium.

“Communion means the possession of something in common,” said Cynthia Sy, a senior member of Liturgikon said. “We are choir groups who share the same beliefs and faith.”

Substance and glamour shine in UST’s own filmfest

PICACHIEBRINGING the life back to the dying Philippine film industry plagued by mediocre and very commercial movies was the dream of the second CineVita Campus Film Festival, which ran March 5 to 7 at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex.

Sponsored by the Varsitarian, the three-day festival showcased 22 local and international films with themes relating to life and death, strengthening the family, and urban sociology.

The festival also provided a venue for discussions on the state and the future of Philippine cinema.

Critic urges support for movies with meaning

TORREFILM director and writer, critic, and Philippine Daily Inquirer entertainment columnist Nestor Torre opened the 2008 CineVita festival with a stirring keynote speech.

For Torre, CineVita is different from other film festivals since it screens life affirming, positive-minded, and inspiring films, which, he noted, are a “distinct minority” in the film industry because they lack contentious characters, trendy action, and special effects, which producers insist audience crave.

“Good characters and inspiring themes are supposed to be poison at the box-office because they are bland, predictable, and boring,” Torre said. “Yet they are the ones who would always bring meaningful stories that bear the true taste of life.”

13 Thomasians nominated for National Artist Awards

ALWAYS shining beacons of the arts and letters, Thomasians have again proven they’re the country’s foremost humanists as many of them have again been nominated for the National Artist Awards.

At least 13 alumni have been nominated for the award as of press time, the Varsitarian has learned from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

Leading the race for the National Artist Award for Literature is Cirilo F. Bautista, who was finalist in the 2006 edition of the awards (which are given out every two years). At that time, Bautista lost out to another Thomasian, the more senior Bienvenido Lumbera.

Both Bautista and Lumbera were former literary editors of the Varsitarian.

Giant Dominican cross dwarfs poverty

EVER since Jesus’ crucifixion 2,000 years ago, the cross has always been associated with salvation. And for the poverty-stricken residents of Dagat-dagatan in Navotas, only one gigantic cross has lifted their spirits living as they are in times juxtaposed with utter misery.

“I observed that the cross has inspired a lot of people; it’s as if their faith were invigorated,” said Fr. Allan Lopez, O.P., the parish priest of the San Lorenzo Ruiz and Companion Martyrs Church, whose roof the cross is now perched atop.

The cross was patterned closely after St. Dominic’s staff, but with mammoth proportions. The 12-feet-wide and 18-feet-tall cross is already believed to be the biggest Dominican cross not only in the country, but in the entire Eastern hemisphere.

Gutter reality, Gutter television

RINGING the curtain down on its second season last December, Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Celebrity Edition seemed to have improved the reality-TV franchise, but only on the surface. Reality TV essentially remains problematic.

The most apparent change was the airing period. Instead of prime- and late-night viewings in the previous edition, PBB Celebrity Edition 2 was shown twice on ABS-CBN daily, one in the afternoon (Pinoy Big Brother Über, hosted by Bianca Gonzales) and the other in the evening (the main prime-time edition, hosted by Toni Gonzaga). It also had a live feed on Studio 23.

Another innovation was the “two-in one housemate,” represented by the pairs of Marylaine Viernes and Jen Da Silva, and Baron and Donald Geisler III. The improvement added a new dimension to the game’s voting mechanics since each pair would share the same vote.

Thomasians exchange gift ideas

What gift would you give your terror professor this Christmas?

“Rosary and prayers.”
– Vince Muñoz, Pharmacy senior, Faculty of Pharmacy

“Calming and age-defying pills.”
– Faye Enriquez, Nutrition and Dietetics junior, College of Education

“My drawing of his face with horns!”
– Caroline Jayne del Rosario, Advertising sophomore, College of Fine Arts and Design

“A book on anger management.”
– Edric Frey Cruz, Financial Management junior, College of Commerce

“An eraser, so he could erase and change my grades.”
– Paulo Pasiona, AMV College of Accountancy sophomore

“Five boxes of his favorite pizza.”
– Edree Estaura, Journalism junior, Faculty of Arts and Letters

Rediscovering traditional arts

INTERWEAVING aesthetics and cultural identity, the College of Fine Arts and Design’s (CFAD) led by Professor Cynthia Loza launched the exhibit, Likhaan Bayan: An Exploration of Traditional Filipino Art, which depicted the intricate and colorful mesh of Philippine history and heritage as reflected in the nearly forgotten folk arts tradition of Bulacan and Laguna.

Held last month at the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences, the exhibit included folk art demonstrations.

Loza said the exhibit served to draw public attention to the neglected traditional arts and the need to include their study in the CFAD curriculum. The new module, she explained, would develop a sense of national identity among students while encouraging them to apply folk art motifs and techniques to their designs.

Offemaria’s offertory to the visual arts

SUCCESS is a hodgepodge of hard work and fervor for painter Wilfredo Offemaria as he reaps the fruits of his ingenuity for 13 years now after graduating from the College of Architecture and Fine Arts.

“I wanted to prove others that success is not just about the course you take up but on how you deal with it,” Offemaria said.

Offemaria started scribbling lines and colors at the age of three, which led him to become conscious of his veiled talent.

“It is already my interest when I was young, I was like any other child who would draw on walls and before I get home from school, I have already exhausted all the pages of my pad,” Offemaria said.