Sunday, August 22, 2010

West African Music & Dance: College of Music Abelardo Hall: Free Event

Last August 20, 2010, the UP Kekeli Ensemble presented a West African Music & Dance in Abelardo Hall. The event was provided for free and comprised of two parts. The first one is a workshop starting at 4pm and the second one is a concert starting at 7 pm.

When I arrived at the Abelardo hall about a quarter to 6 pm, the hall was already filled with students who just came from the workshop. The concert started at 7:30 pm and the UP Kekeli Ensemble together with Royal Hartigan made an entrance starting from the back of the hall performing Asaadua, a processional music of the Asante people of Ghana. The opening number was truly enchanting.

According to the Programme provided for this event:

The UP Kekeli African Drum and Dance Ensemble performs the traditional music, dance and songs of West Africa including the traditions of the Asante, Ewe, Dagbamba, Dagara and Ga peoples. Members of the group visited Ghana to studey and perform Asante Kete an were invited to perform to the Asantehe's (paramount chief of the Asante people) palace near Kumasi last June 2010. The group usually only performs when led by a master drummer from the culture but have been given permission to share this great tradition in their performance last August 20, 2010. The group is also believed to be the first Ghanaian ensemble of its kind in Asia.

Members of the Kekeli African Drumming and Dancing Ensemble are Tusa Mantes, Jenny de Vera, Toni Bernardo, Jinggoy Balane, Rodel Celestial, Patricia Rodriguez, Catherine Cheng, Catherine Grace de Leon, Frederick Ruiz, Gideon Amaca, Roan Opiso, Isobelle Primero, Valerie Vibar, Ralph Jalbuena, Alyssa Dioquino, and Thristan Mendoza.

For this concert, the UP Kekeli Ensemble performed with Royal Hartigan who is a professor at UMass Dartmouth. He is the student of the late freeman Kwadzo Donkar, Kobena Adzenyah, Helen Mensah, and Kwabena Boateng and has performed with Talking Drums, Fred Ho's Afro-Asian Music Ensemble, Hafez Modirzadeh's Paradox and his own group. Royal lives in Ghana every summer to learn drumming and dance styles, to share as part of the UMass Dartmouth Music Department's African Drum and Dance Ensemble.

For this concert, the programme consisted of:
1. Asaadua - a professional music of the Asante people of Ghana, referring to the many diverse branches of the human tree.
2. Gahu - a recreational dance of the Ewe people of Ghana. Lead drum rhythms call dance movements
3. Anlo Kete - a social music of the Ewe people
4. Bawa - a harvest dance drumming of the Dagara people of northern Ghana. Drum rhythms reflect the dance.
5. Misagodzi-Sovu-Adavu - these pieces commemorate the Ewe escape from Notsie in present day Togo
6. Sikyi - a social music of the Asante focusing in courtship
7. Agbeko - a warrior dance drumming of the Ewe people, dance movements depict ancient strategies, heroism and codes of honor
8. Kpanlogo - a recreational music of the Ga people of Ghana.

There are other upcoming similar events:

August 25, 2010 - Wednesday
A Concert of Music in the African American Jazz Tradition featuring Diwa Ensemble and John Coltrane's A Love Supreme Suite

4pm: Workshop
7pm: Concert

August 27, 2010 - Friday - 7pm
A concert of Music in the Maguindanaoan Kulintang and African American Jazz traditions

For a sample clip of the concert you can check it out:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Keep Your Kids Safe Online by Web Safety For Parents Philippines (A Review)

Last August 14, 2010 at the Victory Center, Upper Level Promenade Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center, the members of Web Safety for Parents Philippines held its second free seminar regarding "Keeping Your Kids Safe Online". The speakers were Sonnie Santos, Carlo Ople and Chay Mondejar Saputil. The seminar covered the following topics:
•Malicious application on the loose at Facebook
•Kids Chat/Net Lingo
•Setting up open dns account to block harmful sites.

Sonnie Santos is a social web and human resource strategist, a micro entrepreneur and lecturer but most of all he is a father and a loving husband to his wife. He is also a future pastor.

Chay Mondejar-Saputil is Principal Consultant of Chimes Consulting focusing on the Digital Strategy Practice. Most importantly, she is the doting mother of her three children (two girls and one boy).

Last but not the least, Carlo Ople is currently an executive in the leading online gaming publisher in the Philippines - Level Up Inc. He also started his own consultancy company, Evident Inc., which specializes in New Media and Digital Marketing. He recently got married to his now beautiful wife, Mrs. Michelle Orosa-Ople.

I attended the seminar with the idea that this is something I have to learn soon especially that my son is already very familiar in using several electronic gadgets that have built-in internet access. Fortunately, my son would still prefer to read a book than surf in the computer; nonetheless, one cannot dismiss the fact that at this age and time computer literacy is a must for our kids and future generations.

So what I can do as a parent to help my son become a responsible computer user? That is the main question I looked for in this seminar.

In a nutshell, what I understood was that there are several parental restrictions and privacy settings we can set-up for children to prevent them from being exposed in certain material and people in the Internet that is not suitable for their age. I think the concept can be compared to watching a PG or R-rated movie. For example, for those who have watched the movie "Avatar" would say that it's a great movie especially with the amazing CG effects. However, as a teacher and a parent will you let your toddler watch this movie? It's not just because of the violent scenes but do you really think he can understand the story? In my opinion, I think this child wouldn't. To be honest, I didn't even allow my 9-year-old son to watch it yet although most of his classmates (according to my son) claimed they watched it with their parents. Don't get me wrong. It's a great movie but I'll save it for another few years. For now, I'll let him enjoy movies such as Fantasia and Ghibli movies like Totoro and Ponyo.

Honestly, the parental restrictions Chay discussed caused me to nosebleed. I do update my anti-virus every week as per my husband's advice but I have no idea how to protect my child or myself from spywares, phishers and other malicious programs in the computer. I left that sole responsibility to my husband. So when I went home to discuss the things I learned from the seminar using my favorite terms such as "You know hun those "thingies" and "watchamacallits". I was somehow not surprised when he got the correct names of those programs more than I will ever do.

I guess the most powerful talk from me at that time is Mr. Ople's personal recount of how he overcame his addiction in on-line gaming. I have seen the same issues from my personal relations and also in my students which caused a lot of concerns both in the school and at home.

Hence, I left the seminar hopeful and inspired that in my own way I can help spread the word of these advocates to the academe where I belong. We need more people thinking that there is an abundance rather than scarcity. This country needs more people who will divert from the crab-mentality that has suppressed just too many could-have-been successes in life because we were afraid nothing will be left for us. This people gave out information some people would have charged you an amount. They give access to their materials how to apply the web safety precautions they discussed for free. They give prizes to the attendees who won in their raffle and we have an overflowing coffee and a very comfortable seminar room. All because this people believe in the notion that if you believe in something and you act on it, it will happen.

I highly suggest that you attend their upcoming seminars. Let's be realistic something like this will not remain free for a long time unless I guess if they have benefactors who will subsidize the fees for the attendees all the time. So again act, now sign-up for the seminar and educate yourself how can you offer web safety protection to your child.

For more information about this organization and for upcoming schedule of free seminars, visit

Below is the list of seminar updates as of August 15, 2010:


July 10, 2010

Microsoft Auditorium
6750 Ayala Ave. Makati, City

August 14, 2010

Victory Center
Upper Level, Promenade Mall, Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan City

August 28, 2010

Philippine Alliance Christian School
Pasay City

August 31, 2010

WWCF Auditorium
ACCM Bldg., 102 Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City

September 14, 2010

WWCF Auditorium
ACCM Bldg., 102 Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City

September 25, 2010

CCF Auditorium
St. Francis Square, Julia Vargas Ave., Mandaluyong City

You can also contact them in the following sites:
1. e-mail Sonnie at
2. Our website:
3. Facebook:
4. Twitter:
5. Youtube:
6. Groups:

I hope there are more seminars and people like this group featured in this blog. If your goal is to add value to people's lives to make this world a better place to live in then welcome aboard, you are in the right crowd.

Have a marvelous day!

Sounds of August: A Concert Series in University of the Philippines Diliman (Free)

I was lucky to be part of the UP-D College of Music's mailing list when I reserved my seats for the Viva Espana show. I showed my support because a previous student of mine is performing, Adrik Cristobal, and I am very proud that he is pursuing his dreams.

After that show, I received an invitation from the UPD's College of Music about a series of free concert shows. This series of concert is named Sounds of August. Unfortunately, I missed the first one already as I read the e-mail late and I have made plans on that day. Still, there are two more shows you just haveto check out. I also received information from a friend who is a mother of a home-schooled boy about these concerts and from what I heard it is something the kids or students should not miss.

Here are the schedule of performances:
August 12, 2010 - Baroque Overdose (A night of Baroque Music)

August 19, 2010 - Dichter Liebe (Poet of Love- In celebration of Robert Schumann's Bicentennial Year)

August 26, 2010 - Tugtog at Indayog (Dance to the beat of Tango, Jazz, Contemporary and Afro Latin Music)

All concerts will be held at Abelardo Hall Auditorium 7 pm UP Diliman. The show is free admission.

Why should you go:
1. Concerts such as this performed by talented people for FREE!!! - really? Do you need to be convinced more?
2. I am a big advocate of building schema and music appreciation. There is no better way to expose and teach our kids and students about different kinds of music besides pop but to expose them.
3. Because it is brought to you by none other than the Student Council of the College of Music.

For the list of performances, please refer to the photo attached and for more information you may contact them at

Sea Lions at Manila Ocean Park: What to Expect as a Field Trip

I was privileged to watch Manila Ocean Park's first sea lion show. When I arrived in the area it was already packed with students, chaperons and teachers. As a teacher myself, I was wondering how the students will react watching the sea lions perform tricks and dances. Basically as a SPED teacher, I was wondering if the sea lion show would be able to sustain the student's attention.

When I arrived, there is a group of students having a field trip. They were looking over the viewing area (which is about chest level for me) and below them is the stage for the show. I noticed a couple of boys running around already and not minding the show that much. However, most of the students were just enjoying to watch the sea lions or to take their pictures and videos.

If the students were in preschool and relatively small, they can still watch the sea lions because the wall of the viewing deck is transparent.

When the announcement was made about who threw the water bottle in the pool, I thought did somebody from the audience do that or was that part of the performance? I saw the trainers throw water bottles on the floor and asked the sea lions to pick it up but the one floating in the water I did not see the trainers throw it. When that announcement was made, it seemed the audience became quiet and there were whispers "Sinong nagtapon nun? Nakita mo?" (Who threw that? Did you see what happen?) The trainer asked one of the seals to swim and get the bottle and of course it was done successfully.

Finally, the captivating voice of the announcer informed the audience that the sea lions will perform a dance. Once the music started, the kids who were playing behind me pushed themselves to the viewing area to see the performance. So I guess, kids really want to see these mammals dance. After the dance, attention started to dwindle again. Reminders were provided to practice the three R's (reduce, reuse and recycle). The kids were waving at the sea lions. I guess they were hoping that sea lions will wave back at them and you know what they did! Of course, after a cue and a treat from their trainers. Nonetheless, the kids were thrilled.

So if your school is planning for a field trip, here are some unsolicited advice I could give:
1. Make sure the kids are the ones in front of the viewing area. I know the adults want to take pictures and they are excited as well but let's not stray from the purpose of the field trip which is exposure to these animals that our students don't normally see everyday.
2. Again I cannot ascertain if the water bottle thrown in the pool was part of the performance or not but advise our kids to not throw their trash in the pool even if it was just a candy wrapper.
3. Advisers please keep an eye on your students. I understand they are with their chaperons but still this is a school activity; hence, the adviser/teacher is the person-in-charge in making sure the students get the point of the field trip. Maybe you can enjoy the show more when you visit with your families.
4. For chaperons, please help the advisers. They might be the head of the class but two hands are still better than one.
5. Keep the students in their section or group. Don't let them stray around. Remember this is still a public place. The staff from Manila Ocean Park will be there to assist you but still an ounce of prevention is still better than a pound of cure.

If your students need special attention, here are some pointers:
1. I heard the show can run from 30 and even up to 45 minutes. I was able to watch only 15 minutes of the show. There is a big tendency the students' attention will be lost and there will be issues on asking them to stay standing on the viewing deck for that period. Hence, prepare how will you manage behavior given that period of time.
2. The viewing deck is wide so there is lots of space. Be wary of tendencies to push.
3. The area behind you is a perfect place to play and run around. You can opt to give kids who need to move a break if they are tired of watching the show but like I said once the sea lions dance they might want to go back and watch them.

So far, in my limited time to watch the show those are the most obvious things I observed as a teacher. I have not seen the show wherein the audience are just walk-in visitors so the dynamics may be different. Nonetheless, the show is different and I hope your kids will appreciate sea lions more.