Tag Archives: cebuano arts

Top 4 Notable Cebuano Films of All Time

This is a guest post by fellow blogger Nadia Jones.  Do you have a great article or story about Cebu?  See our Guest Posting guidelines here.

The film culture of the Philippines has been on the ascendancy for a generation, with auteurs like Lino Brocka, Mike de Leon, and later Lav Diaz both pushing the boundaries of artistic exploration and rediscovering the simple joys of mainstream genre movies as well. This healthy tension between arthouse aspirations and commercial entertainment continued to lend vitality to the scene. Now, in the 21st century, after many false starts, Cebuano film culture is truly blossoming, creating a counterforce to the dominance of Tagalog productions. Here are five of the most notable Cebuano films:

1. Bertoldo Ug Balodoy (dir. Piux Kabahar, 1938)

First, we must pay tribute to the one that started it all. The first film to be shot in Cebu in Visayan was this 1938 talkie, which starred among others Ben Zubiri, Iyo Karpo himself. Unfortunately, the fledgling regional industry was put on hold after only two completed films with the oubtreak of World War II. My web sources don’t indicate whether Bertoldo Ug Balodoy is still extant or if it’s a lost film — but a revival would be a project of great historical interest, should any Bisdak film buffs take it upon themselves to restore it.

Articles Mentioning this film:


2. Badlis sa kinabuhi (dir. Leroy Salvador, 1969)

Photo Credit: PelikulaATBP

After a successful decade in the 1950s, with over 80 films produced in Visayan, Cebuano cinema was dormant for much of the 1960s, until interest in local productions was revived by this film featuring Gloria Sevilla and Mat Ranillo Jr. Though director Leroy Salvador made most of his movies in Tagalog, this foray into Cebu is rightly credited with breathing life back into the local industry. Here you can watch a clip from the film — as you can see, it could use some audio and video restoration as well, but at least it’s in circulation. Badlis sa kinabuhi won Best Black and White Film at the 16th Asian Film Festival in Jakarta, and won FAMAS Awards for Best Actress and Best Child Actor, besides being nominated for three more.

3. Confessional (dir. Ruel Dahis Antipuesto and Jerrold Tarog, 2007)

Photo Credit: PsychedelicCirkus

This part-Cebuano film boldly delves into the internal conflicts of culture and politics in the Philippines, following a Manila documentary filmmaker’s fictionalized journey to Cebu to film the Sinulog Festival. He becomes sidetracked into a more sinister story when veteran politican Lito Caliso (played by Publio Briones III) begins to open up to him about his past, unearthing some of the skeletons in society’s closet. This hard-hitting mockumentary practically swept the Cinema One Originals awards as well as the PMPC Star Awards, also picking up prizes at the Cinemanila International Film Festival and the Osian Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema in New Delhi.



4. Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria (dir. Remton Siega Zuasola, 2010)

Photo Credit: CebuLive

As he did in his acclaimed short film To Siomai Love, director Zuasola tells his story in real time using only one long take, a technical challenge that has been taken up by many filmmakers lately, most successfully in Alexander Sokurov’s Russian Ark. It can easily become a gimmick, but in Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria it suits the story, which is about a young lady deciding whether or not to leave her family to become a mail-order bride for a German man. Though sometimes, inevitably, the pace drags, this entry reaffirms the artistic ferment taking place in the Cebuano film world, and won Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, and Music at the Gawad Urian Awards, as well as the Jury Prize at the Cinema One Originals Film Festival and at Korea’s Junjeu Film Festival.





There are many more fantastic Cebuano films being produced that I didn’t have space for here. I know there are many fans out there of Isang Tanong, Isang Sagot…or maybe Panaghóy sa subâ: The Call of the River was more your style? What are your favorites?

About the Guest Blogger

Nadia Jones is a freelance blogger who is passionate about Arts & Culture.  She’s also a strong supporter of online learning by encouraging those ones who cannot study through traditional means by enrolling in accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at nadia.jones5@gmail.com.

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PR: RAFI opens tribute exhibit for Bisaya artists

In celebration of Arts Month in February, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI) launched the exhibit, entitled “Visayan Verve: A Tribute to Bisaya Artists”, which will run from Feb. 17 to March 15 at the Casa Gorordo Museum.

The exhibit is initiated in partnership with the University of San Carlos-Cebuano Studies Center; Halad Museum; Alternative Contemporary Arts Studio; and the assistance of Cebuano artist Marvin Natural and the family of the late Martino Abellana.

It pays homage to exemplary Bisaya artists in six fields of art: Martino Abellana for painting; Napoleon Abueva for sculpture; Fernando Buyser for poetry; Pio Cabajar for cinema; Estelita Diola for dance; and Vicente Rubi for music.

“These artists represent innovation and faithfulness to tradition in the art forms they engaged in. Some of them were selected by virtue of their statuses as ‘masters’ of their crafts while the rest, for their substantial achievements which remain largely unrecognized. All of them have contributed not only to Bisaya but Filipino arts in general,” Dr. Jocelyn Gerra, executive director of the Culture and Heritage unit of RAFI, said.

The aim of the exhibit is not to proclaim the featured artists as the greatest or the most influential, but to present examples of what Bisaya artists have accomplished.

Florencio Moreño, curator of Casa Gorordo Museum, pointed out that it is one way of giving the public an opportunity to re-examine and appreciate the roots of their creativity, thereby, widen their perspectives on the potentials of contemporary Visayan-Filipino arts.

Visayan Verve is meant to kick off a series of exhibits on Bisaya arts that will be held every February in the next seven years. Each of the following exhibits will focus on one of the seven fields of art—architecture, cinema, dance, music, painting, literature, and sculpture.

Culture & Heritage is a focus area of RAFI, believing that a confident community begins with a strong sense of identity. Its other focus areas are Integrated Development, Micro-finance & Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Citizenship, and Education.

For more information on Contemporary Cebu, please contact 418-7234 loc. 703 and look for Florencio A. Moreño II, or visit www.rafi.org.ph or www.facebook.com/rafi.org.ph.

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PR: Contemporary art exhibit showcases Cebuano talents

The Contemporary Cebu art exhibit was formally opened last Jan. 4. The ribbon cutting was led by (L-R, foreground) Amaya Aboitiz, executive director of the Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.; Cebu City Councilor Margarita Osmeña, vice-chair of the Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission of Cebu City; Massimo La Magna, over-all supervisor of Pizzeria Michelangelo; and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama. (Inset) The exhibit’s curator, JV Castro (far left), introduced to the public the participating contemporary artists: (second from L-R) Marvin Chito Natural, Karl Roque Jr., Sio Montera, Tito Cuevas, Palmy Pe-Tudtud, and Ritchie Quijano. Not in the photo (inset) are Kidlat of the Junks Collective, Vidal Alcoseba, and Russ Ligtas who will give Butoh performances on Jan. 12 and 13.

Paintings and sculptures of contemporary Cebuano artists were featured in the art exhibit, dubbed Contemporary Cebu, which opened last Jan. 4 at the Cebu City Museum.

The exhibit, which is curated by JV Castro, is designed to bring national attention to contemporary Cebuano artists and their works. It is open to the public until Jan. 31.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, during the opening ceremonies, lauded the initiative undertaken to make the exhibit possible, saying it is a way to recognize Cebuano talents in visual arts as well as to promote the Cebu City Museum.

The Alternative Contemporary Art Studio, Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), and The Grove by Rockwell, partnered together to launch this annual exhibit. The first exhibit was held in June 2011 in Manila at the Ateneo de Manila University and Picasso Boutique Hotel.

This year’s Contemporary Cebu art exhibit features the works of Palmy Pe-Tudtud, Marvin Natural, Kidlat of the Junks Collective, Karl Roque, Sio Montera, Ritchie Quijano, Vidal Alcoseba, and Tito Cuevas. Russ Ligtas will give Butoh performances on Jan. 12 and 13.

“It is an exhibition that features some of the finest artists we have in Cebu. All the works in the exhibit are done by Cebuano artists who specialize in contemporary works, meaning the portrayal of subjects are different. In a way, we want to promote Cebu in a different light,” Castro said.

Dennis “Sio” Montera, one of the participating artists shared the inspiration and stories behind his paintings.
“My art is more on expression of the things that have been relevant in my life—happiness, sadness, loss of loved one, any life experience. For me, the best way I can communicate or deal with my emotions is to paint. It is more likely the reflection of a current situation of my life. It’s like a diary, mirroring what is happening around me,” he said.
Alternative Contemporary Art Studio and RAFI have been partners since Contemporary Cebu’s inception in 2011. This year, they took in The Grove by Rockwell as a major partner. The other sponsors of the exhibit are the Cebu City Government, Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission of Cebu City, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Blue Shield Risk Management, Gothong Southern, Michelangelo Pizzeria, and Hola España.

“Contemporary Cebu is a good opportunity for introducing the Cebuano audience to contemporary arts and for them to be familiar who the Cebuano contemporary visual artists are,” said Dr. Jocelyn Gerra, executive director of Culture and Heritage of RAFI. (Hannah Reoma/Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. intern)

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Tudruk and Sakra – The Animist Cebuanos

Cebuanos are brave and intelligent people gifted with good looks and awesome COOLNESS!  These traits have been with us even before the Spanish era.  Before the Spaniards have shamelessly claimed our land, we already have our own culture, business, politics, and even unique and cool traditions.


The early Cebuanos are Animists (people who believe in Nature & Spirits) which I think is way cooler than the arrogant European explorers who forced their belief and traditions to us.  It’s very unfortunate that in our country’s history, our early Filipinos were labeled as idiots and ignoramus by disrespectful colonizers.  Even before the reign of the Spanish regime, we Cebuanos, are already traders, warriors, craftsmen, and politicians.

The Animist Cebuanos who pray to the spirits of the forest and the dead are not Pagans as what the colonizers forced everyone to believe.  Animism is not the same as Paganism.  Animists believe everything to be spiritual in nature while Pagans believe in the worship of many gods/goddesses.

The Tudruk and Sakra

Believe it or not, I am really amused with the Tudruk or Tugbuk (Penis Pin) and Sakra (Penis Ring)  used by the early Cebuanos to add spice and excitement to their sexual lifestyle.  Unfortunately, this practice of putting tudruk and sakra on male penises were prohibited when the Catholic Spanish missionaries came to the island.  One of the missionaries had even conducted a tedious individual penis inspection to get rid of these things that they called satanic and barbaric.  The European missionaries were dumbfounded when they found out that the natives were practicing such “malevolent deed”.

The picture above is the only image I found online that nearly resemble how a tudruk & a sakra looks like.  The penis pins used by the native Cebuanos are usually made of gold and are used as an anchor for the sakra (penis rings).  These rings were designed for a woman’s pleasure.  Of course, as I mentioned above, the European missionaries were scandalized and described the women natives as sex crazed and lack proper civilization.

Another thing that makes this tugruk and sakra thing more interesting is the tradition that requires a slave to deflower a virgin.  During that time, slaves are not allowed to wear tugruk and sakra, thus, it was very convenient for them to deflower virgins without hurting them after.  A virgin female before her marriage is required to be deflowered by a slave so that she won’t suffer severe pain when she and her husband will consummate their marriage. (Now, who don’t want to become slave? LOL!)

Photo Credit: SSPLPrints.com (Penis Pins)

Reference: Gabii sa Kabilin 2011 Quick Tour with Ka Bino Guerero

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Gabii sa Kabillin 2011 Features Cebu’s Alternative Contemporary Art Studio

Gabii sa Kabilin 2011 features an interesting facade of Cebu’s arts and culture as it includes the Sacred Heart Parish Alternative Contemporary Art Studio as one of its participating attractions for this year’s night of heritage – May 27, 2011, 6PM to 12MN.  See full list of Museums and Galleries here.

Sacred Heart Parish Alternative Contemporary Art Studio is the only  place in the City wherein you can have a glimpse of a gallery that features beyond the norms masterpieces that reflect the Cebuano artists expressions of non-conformity wherein beauty is portrayed in various odd ways.

The Sacred Heart Alternative Gallery features an Art fair (including pieces by Cebu Artists Inc., Tente Pusod, Tuslob Buwa, Cebu Art Association, Academy Artists, Nueves Artists, Pintal Group. The gallery also features the other side of architects and photography and art pieces by independent artists.

The photo above is one of the featured artworks curated by JV Castro as part of the Garden Grotesque gallery presentation that will conclude on May 28, 2011. Click here for more Alternative Art Contemporary Studio Photos.  If you need more information about this studio, kindly contact Fr. Jason K. Dy, S. J. at +63 915 591 4217. E-mail inquiries can be sent to dyjask@yahoo.com.

Gabii sa Kabilin 2011 other featured Museums

Aside from the Sacred Heart Parish Alternative Contemporary Art Studio, Gabii sa Kabilin also featured a lot of Cebu cultural museums that you should not miss to visit.

This photo is the bust of Dr. Ramon Abellana’s granddaughter.  Dr. Ramon Abellana is an award-winning sculptor.  A few of his works are displayed in the Cebu Normal University Museum.  Check this link for more photos.

For a complete list of Gabii sa Kabilin 2011 featured museums and attractions, kindly visit this link.

About Gabii sa Kabilin

“Gabii sa Kabilin” is Cebuano for Night of Heritage, and patterned after the long night of museums in Germany and other European countries. The event is designed to daw foreign and local tourists, but most especially Cebuanos, to visit the museums. It aims to reinforce the belief that local museums are venues for the understanding and appreciation of Cebuano history and culture. But beyond that it also discounts the stereotype of museums as mere repositories of “dead objects”; rather, as venues for live cultural activities. Read more here.

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WILA Partners with RAFI to promote Cebuano literature

Do you know that that very first written Cebuano literature is Maming?  It is written by Vicente Sotto, the father of Cebuano literature.

(L-R) Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu, chair of the Women in Literary Arts, and Dr. Jocelyn B. Gerra, executive director of the Culture & Heritage unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. signed last Sept. 6 a memorandum of agreement that will promote Cebuano literature.

The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) and Women in Literary Arts (WILA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a collaboration that seeks to “involve WILA in RAFI’s cultural program.”

The MOU was signed by Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu, WILA chair, and Dr. Jocelyn B. Gerra, executive director of RAFI Culture & Heritage unit, last Sept. 6 during the 19th anniversary of WILA held at the Casa Gorordo Museum.

WILA, the only women creative writers group in the Philippines, has committed to participate in literary readings organized by RAFI. It also pledged to conduct story-telling sessions and literary workshops for children and youth.

For its part, RAFI will provide the venue for WILA-initiated literary readings and creative writing workshops for WILA members.

This new partnership under the Culture & Heritage focus area of RAFI manifests the collaborative attribute of the Foundation.

Culture & Heritage is one of the five focus areas of RAFI’s comprehensive approach to elevating lives and communities, believing that a confident community begins with a strong sense of identity. Its other focus areas are Integrated Development, Micro-finance & Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Citizenship, and Education.

Yu considers the new partnership a “sharing of talents.” She added that WILA’s involvement in the Culture & Heritage programs of RAFI aims to “stimulate interest in the spoken or written art.”

The collaboration with WILA “enhances the literature part of our advocacy especially to children,” Gerra said.

“We want children to appreciate early on literature and the arts, and the museum is a good background for this,” she added.

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Artist Ko, The Resurrection of Cebuano Artists

Artist Ko! Artists & Musicians Marketing Cooperative, held a press conference last 8th of May, 2010 at VIP Room, Teatro Casino, Water Front Hotel, Cebu City.  During the event, the people behind the group were introduced to the local media.  They also announced the group’s upcoming project, VISPOP, the newest Cebuano songwriting competition.  Miss Raki Vega’s newest single, “We Will Rise Again”, was also launched.

What is Artist Ko?

Artist Ko is a duly registered association of artists, musicians and entrepreneurs with a common bond of interest who voluntarily joined together to achieve a lawful, social and economic end by making equitable contributions and accepting the fair share of the risks and benefits in all undertakings.

Artist Ko is a marketing cooperative and is a profit entity.  The group is serious in supporting each member’s endeavors through profit-oriented projects.

The group is headed by Cebu’s finest artists and musicians like Mr. Ian Zafra, Cattski Espina, Jude Gitamondoc, and Insoy Ninal.


This is a joint project initiated by Artist Ko and Tsinelas Inc. which bears the tagline “Bisayaa Uy!“.  The project aims to alleviate the current state of Cebuano music on radio by introducing a more professional and competitive playlist of new Cebuano songs. All songwriting enthusiast are invited to join.  Visit VISPOP’s multiply account for more details.

Raki Vega’s We Will Rise Again

Miss Raki Vega’s interpretation of her latest single, “We Will Rise Again”, gained positive feedback from the local media.  The song is written and composed by the award-winning songwriter, Jude Gitamondoc.  The song has a nationalistic streak on it which inspires hope and optimism among Filipinos.  Mr. Jude Gitamondoc said that the song conveys all Filipino people that we should not depend our future to a person only, people should work and strive together to shape and build a better future.

My Personal Take

During the press conference, one of the media people mentioned about Bisrock, which is now referred to by Artist Ko as a phenomenon, not a genre or whatsoever.  I was a bit sad hearing about it.  It’s because I am one of those people who love bisrock music, and in my heart of hearts, I really, really feel its essence.  I’ve been a bisrock supporter since 2006.  I I even created this blog to show my support to Cebu’s local rock music scene.  I will never forget those bisrock bands like Missing Filemon, Aggressive Audio, Leon Kilat, Smooth Friction and the likes.  It’s just sad to see that the good apples were being spoiled by the rotten ones.

Still, with the creation of Artist Ko, I expect another phenomenon that would lead to a worldwide recognition of  Cebuano’s arts and music.  I’m quite confident that Cebuano people are far more talented than any other artists from around the Philippines.  Together, we can make this happen!  Jia you, CEBU!

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Bisrock blogsite mentioned in FHM…

A friend told me that my bisrock blogsite is mentioned in FHM’s June issue. I immediately get my copy of the said issue and scan the pages. And here it is…

The write up is a part of the “Rock n Roll Joyride” article sponsored by Red Horse. It’s subtitle is “BISROCK, CEBU’S BEST PRODUCT SINCE YOYOY VILLAME”. This is what the article said:

On the surface, Cebu bands dabble in pretty much the same sounds as their Manila counterparts. But the crucial difference is how they reproduce their sound in an album. In that part of the game Cebuanos trample the competition. Case in point, Urbandub. “When we went to the studio where Urbandub recorded their albums, the equipment were antiquated,” enthused Sandwich guitarist Diego Castillo. “It’s amazing how they got their amazing sound.”

You can credit that to their reps as a musical town courtesy of their guitar-makers, or heck just Yoyoy being there, but it is quite obvious the sound of Cebu is globally competent.

At the end of the article my bisrock blogsite is mentioned…

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