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COMMUP Week 2024 celebrates communication, creativity, collaboration

In a whirlwind of color and creativity, COMMUP Week 2024 unfolded in an explosion of talent and enthusiasm last April 15-19, 2024. 

With the theme “COMM-LEIDOSCOPE: Creating Connections, Cultivating Craft, Catalyzing Change,” the week-long event proved to be a kaleidoscopic journey for communicators.

Kicking off with the opening program at UP Cebu’s Lawak Sinehan on April 15th, students were immediately immersed in a spectrum of activities designed to inspire and engage. The launching of the exhibit showcasing students’ work from photography and multimedia classes set the tone for a week filled with exploration and expression.

Dominic Yasay, COMMUP Adviser, echoed the importance of communication in addressing social issues, setting the stage for an event that went beyond mere entertainment. 

“As communicators, we have a vital role to amplify social issues,” he said.

The spirit of collaboration and camaraderie was also noticeable as students participated in a thrilling yet exciting Amazing Race, showcasing their teamwork and determination.

From April 16th to 18th, the wit and intelligence of communicators took center stage in contests ranging from spelling bees to extemporaneous speaking and debates. 

Meanwhile, a two-day film showing at UP Cebu’s Lawak Sinehan on April 16 and 18 highlighted the creative prowess of students, offering a glimpse into their diverse production classes. 

Alumni from the BA Communication program took the spotlight on April 17th, sharing their experiences and insights at the Performing Arts Hall. Their stories provided invaluable guidance for current students navigating their future paths in the field of communication.

The excitement peaked on April 19th with the highly anticipated COMM vs The World: Drag Supreme 2024 event at UP Cebu’s AS Hall. Here, students dazzled with their talents, showcasing the vibrant spirit of UP Cebu and celebrating individuality and expression.

As the week drew to a close, a culmination program honored the achievements of participants, marking the end of a truly unforgettable journey. 
COMMUP Week 2024 not only fostered connections and honed skills but also sparked meaningful change, making it a resounding success and a testament to the dynamism of the Communicators of UP Cebu. (Erna Josette Bonsukan/BA Communication II)

Bioscapes exhibit opens at Joya Gallery

UP Cebu College of Communication, Art, and Design (CCAD) faculty and students come together for Bioscapes: Regions of Architecture to showcase video creations, textile installation, paper sculpture, and other artworks from April 15 to 30, 2024 at the Jose T. Joya Gallery.

The exhibit, curated by Nomar Bayog Miano, features his works as well as those of CCAD Faculty Grace Marie Lopez and Ivy Marie Apa. Invited to join are selected students, Allyca Zoe Villaflor, Kent Michael Montana, Stacey Momongan, Neive Hisanan, and Mike Acaso.

The works in this exhibition engage architecture in its most liberal sense — as the organization of spaces and times.

Here, architecture not only pertains to the built environment – the roads and highways, the urban landscape, the informal settlements, the vending contraptions, the metropolitan centers and the countryside, the malls, the cities and towns, but also alludes to intangible environments that govern movements of bodies in physical and virtual spaces, in institutional and pedagogical fields, in the ecologies of art.

Whereas, classical mechanics see space and time as non-subjective, material, components of the world, contemporary thought teaches us otherwise that they are more than just that.

They are manifestations and expressions of certain worlds, ripe with contestations, mediations, meanings, and values. In the first place, the organization of spaces and times, i.e. architecture, revolves around certain conceptions and notions of the body, which is to say that architecture is in fact juridical of the body by default.

It articulates as much as it entraps, it enlivens as much as it entombs, it regulates as much as it frees, and sometimes it empowers as much as it subjects the body to social control.

Architecture, in other words, shows us that the body is a space-time for and of mediations and contestations. Architecture compels us to resist.

Bioscapes is organized by Regional Art Forum + Community Art Archive and the Joya Gallery. It is open to the public.

CCAD faculty writes chapter in new book on indigenous media and popular culture

Dr. Belinda Espiritu, UP Cebu College of Communication, Art, and Design (CCAD) Faculty, contributes a chapter on “Lumad Indigenous Values and Voices in Citizen and Alternative Media Narratives” in the book “Indigenous Media and Popular Culture in the Philippines.”

It’s the first book that features the roles and significance of indigenous media and pop culture in the Philippines and contributes new approaches in examining products by/for indigenous peoples in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

Dr. Espiritu’s chapter explores Lumad Indigenous values and their struggle for their ancestral domains and cultural integrity as depicted in selected citizens’ and alternative media narratives. The concept of cultural integrity encompasses various fundamental human rights, including the rights to culture, subsistence, livelihood, religion, and heritage.

Her study scrutinizes the representation of Lumad voices in relation to their Indigenous values, juxtaposed against the capitalist and corporate values prevalent in contemporary Philippine society.

These contrasting values include the commodification of nature, individualism, material accumulation, and the consumerist culture fostered by economic globalization. In alternative media narratives, Lumads, alongside cultural researchers, articulate specific Indigenous values that include reverential and spiritual perspectives on nature, the interconnectedness of the land with Lumad life, culture, and religion, communal land ownership, labor for the betterment of the community’s needs, education aimed at understanding and cherishing cultural identity and heritage, as well as the pursuit of inner peace and the defense of ancestral domains.

Her chapter also highlights the pressing need to reassess capitalist and consumerist values while embracing select Lumad Indigenous values, particularly those featuring a more respectful, if not spiritual, outlook on nature. It advocates for cultivating empathy toward the Lumads and the environment, thereby fostering the restoration of peace within Lumad communities and the preservation of Philippine cultural heritage.

CCAD joins global celebration of LGBTQIA+ cinema

Equality, diversity, and inclusion. These were the themes of the short films screened at the opening of the Five Films for Freedom, the world’s largest online celebration of LGBTQIA+ cinema, yesterday, March 13, at the UP Cebu Lawak Sinehan.

Mr. Mike Cabigon, a representative of the British Council, talked about how the initiative is only one of the many ways to uphold the rights to gender identity, expression, and sex characteristics. He added that LGBTQIA+ rights are human rights, and grant individuals the freedom to live and love without fear of prejudice.

Filling the venue with a river of emotions, students, faculty, and guests gather at Lawak Sinehan on March 13 to watch five captivating films: “Compton’s 22,” “Cursive,” “Halfway,” “The First Kiss,” and “Little One.”

Sharing their messages virtually with the audience before each film was shown were the filmmakers and directors that included Drew De Pinto (USA), Isabel Steuble-Johnson (UK), Kumar Chheda (India), Miguel Lafuente (Spain), and John Clister Santos (Philippines).

After the showing, guests and chosen representatives of the LGBT community provided insightful reactions. They included College of Communication, Art, and Design Faculty Dominic Yasay, Pride Acting Chair John Ryan Jacot, Cebu Normal University (CNU) Student Godfrey Petallar of CiNe-U, and ELIZAH.

“The event is a safe space for nurturing perspectives,” said Cabigon, who encouraged the audience to share the films with their network.

The Five Films for Freedom, now in its 10th year, is free to watch on the YouTube channel of the British Council for 12 days starting on March 13-24. (Report and photos by Communication Program First Year Student Athena Romulo)

Avenido talks literature with CCAD creative writing community

A regular meeting room at the University of Philippines Cebu transformed into a hub of literary exploration that captivated literature enthusiasts, with poet and author Manu Avenido right in the center of the discussion, last March 6, 2024.

“The Manu Script: A Talk on Ikigai and Other Writings with Manu Avenido” held at the UP Cebu Audio Visual Room united a diverse community of readers, writers, and scholars, delving into the rich tapestry of Cebuano literature and beyond. Opened to the public, the event was also attended by student writers from other universities.

Organized by the UP Cebu Creative Writing Program in collaboration with the College of Communication, Art, and Design (CCAD), Communication Program, LIT 4 courses, and TINTA, the event underscored the vibrant literary culture thriving within the university.

The event started with opening remarks by Dr. Crina Tañongon, followed by Assistant Professor Ton Daposala’s introduction of the speaker, paving the way for Avenido’s talk titled “A Reason for Being: A Purpose for Writing and Translation.”

The presence of Avenido, a poet, writer, and literature enthusiast, made the gathering more memorable as he shared insights from his latest book, “Ikigai Ug Ubang Piniling Mga Sugilanon.” His discourse on the imperative for writers to embrace change and explore new artistic frontiers resonated deeply with his audience. Avenido’s journey from traditional to non-traditional literature, driven by a commitment to enriching the Cebuano literary landscape, served as both inspiration and enlightenment.

Following Avenido’s discourse, John Dante’s insightful book review of “Ikigai Ug Ubang Piniling Mga Sugilanon” mentioned the author’s vivid portrayal of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and Bisaya culture. Dante lauded Avenido’s adept storytelling, particularly in narratives like “Walay Bilin sa Takna nga Nas Mas Bugat,” which artfully weave memories into compelling tales. He also commended Avenido’s authentic representation of OFWs and exploration of diverse genres and themes, as this contributes to the preservation and appreciation of Bisaya fiction among broader audiences.

Excerpts from the book, spanning reflections on love, social issues, and the human condition to tales of resilience and the quest for meaning, were shared during the event. These showcased Avenido’s prowess as a storyteller, deftly intertwining complex emotions into narratives that left a profound impact on attendees.

The event further provided an opportunity for attendees to share their own favorite or self-made writings, fostering an atmosphere of creative exchange and camaraderie. Host Shaila played a pivotal role in ensuring the event’s success, while Dean Shane L. Carreon’s closing remarks beautifully encapsulated the essence of the day. Tokens of appreciation were distributed, culminating in a session of photo and video-taking. (Story and Photos by UP Cebu Communication Program First Year Student Belha Puso)

Mindworks 38: Examining the absurd through performance, experimental art

The UP Cebu community donned absurd get-ups for Crazy Day, watched live performances that tackled social issues, and marveled at the immersive art installations and murals around campus as Mindworks makes a triumphant return for its 38th year taking on the theme “Boang Boangon Ang Boang.”

Art talks, an art history quiz, merch and garage sales, zine exhibition, and a performance night were among the activities held throughout the celebration of Mindworks 38 from Feb. 26 to March 2, 2024.

Organized by the Fine Arts Student Organization (FASO) led by the 4th year Studio Arts majors, the annual performance and experimental art show was timed to coincide with the celebration of the National Arts Month and the UP Cebu Art and Culture Festival.

Explaining the theme, organizers said the seemingly nonsensical phrase “Boang Boangon Ang Boang” is actually a call to introspect and unpack the concept of boang. Here, the word “boang” does not denote a figure but points rather to the absurd, to that senseless experience or situation beyond rationality. 

“Our present world is oversaturated with so much absurdity; we have created a bizarre culture that evades truth, glorifies violence, and amplifies discord. We have become so accustomed to the ridiculous that we mistake it for normalcy. The theme, then, urges people to interrogate this deceptive facade, unveil the boang for what it is, and break free from it,” they added.

Gathering of young creatives

Mindworks, this year, also gathered young creatives from across Cebu to mingle and fraternize during the Cebu Art Students Meet-up on the last day of the week-long event. The activities for the day included printmaking workshop sessions, hand-build pottery sessions, and live nude drawing sessions.

On March 1 and 2, local artists showcased and sold artworks and artistic wares during the art garage and merch sales. They displayed stickers, pins, accessories, art prints, and other merchandise from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the Joya Gallery.

The “Boang Boangon ang Boang Zine Exhibition” at the Joya Gallery featuring UP Cebu and guest artists was also opened on on March 1 and will run up to March 12. 

Recognizing the role of art in national progress, FASO said the vision behind Mindworks is to provide a safe space for creative minds to explore new ideas and engage in free intellectual exchange. 

Organizers capped the event with a series of thought-providing art performances during the Performance Art Night on March 2, which was followed by the Mindworks Diskoral: Boang-boangon na Bayle starting at 9 p.m. Students danced the night away to a medley of retro classics. (Photos provided by Mindworks 2024 documentation team: Isabella Salas, Margarette Alquiza, Keir Lorenz, Zhamia Meca, Nilette Pabuaya, Beah Singh, Java Jove, Erwyn Yu Jr.)

Award-winning author shares joys, challenges of literary publication

Cebuano author, poet, and editor Cecilia Manguerra Brainard captivated the audience with her insights into the intricate journey of literary publication during her talk titled “On Fiction and Other Writings” held at the UP Cebu Performing Arts Hall (PAH) on February 14, 2024.

Brainard, celebrated for her literary achievements, emphasized the importance of authenticity and following one’s heart rather than chasing trends. “You don’t have to follow what you think will hit. You have to follow your heart,” she advised aspiring literary writers.

She delved into her remarkable experiences as a Filipino-American writer, shedding light on the realities and challenges of literary publication, with a particular focus on the various editions of her acclaimed novel “When the Rainbow Goddess Wept.”

Members of UP Cebu’s TINTA group, including Eulla Cinco, Natalie Joyce Senaca, and CJ Pingal, mesmerized the audience with captivating renditions of Brainard’s renowned literary pieces. They performed excerpts from her works, including two poignant poems, “My Mother’s Skirt” and “Do You Remember?” along with a compelling chapter excerpt titled “Rumblings of War” from her novel “When the Rainbow Goddess Wept.”

In a gesture of generosity, Brainard also donated copies of her books to the UP Cebu Library, enriching the literary collection and fostering a deeper appreciation for Filipino and Cebuano art, history, and literature.

Her lecture was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the UP Cebu Creative Program, along with the College of Communication, Art, and Design, the Communication Program, Sugbuanon Literature (LIT 4) Course, and UP Cebu TINTA, reflecting a commitment to nurturing and celebrating literary talent in the community.

Comm Program backs Asian Center for Journalists-Ateneo de Manila University and STET forum on safe spaces for women journalists

Creating safe spaces that allow women journalists to do their jobs without fear has become a pressing necessity amid workplace adversities and political instabilities.

Media workers from Bacolod, Capiz, Cebu, Dumaguete, and Tacloban shared experiences where they were subjected to threats, harassment, intimidation, and bullying while carrying out their duties during the multisectoral forum “Lifelines: Creating Safe Spaces for Women Journalists” at the UP Cebu Lawak Sinehan on February 3, 2024.

Initiated by the STET-Women in Cebu Media and Asian Center for Journalism in partnership with the Communication Program of the College of Communication, Art and Design (CCAD), the event aims to start the conversation towards creating an environment where women journalists can thrive without fear.

Dr. Mira Ofreneo, Director of the Ateneo de Manila University Gender Hub, said a WGSS or Women Girl Safe Space can take many forms and its creation should be determined by the community’s needs.

Citing examples of safe spaces in other areas, she added that they can be gender hubs that serve to receive reports of sexual violence or centers that provide wellness, information, and other services.

According to Dr. Ofreneo, who facilitated the forum, the WGSS approach is about empowerment and women claiming control over their own lives and spaces.

Lifelines was in preparation for the “We-Move National Conference,” which will be held in Cebu next month. The objective of the project is to create a support system for women journalists on gender-sensitive issues, including psychological support.

Culture bearers, CCAD highlight role of living traditions in biocultural preservation during Arts Month opening event

As dusk fell on the Sunset Garden in the University of the Phillippines Cebu, wisdom keepers from different indigenous tribes led a solemn ceremony with the College of Communication, Art, and Design (CCAD) community to deepen connections with ancestral and biocultural heritage.

Photo by College of Communication, Art, and Design student publication Lanog.

Culture bearers from the Talaandig Tribe of Bukidnon, Ifugao Mumbaki, and Palawan Babaylan performed ritual practices using dances and chants and shared insights into traditional knowledge that believes in the sacredness of all things and a person’s role as custodian rather than owner of the land.

The last bright glow of the setting sun served as the ideal backdrop for “Busilak sa Kilomkilom,” which was timed for the opening of Arts Month, held last February 3, 2024. 

Talaandig Tribe Chieftain Datu Vic Saway said the community must understand its role in helping safeguard ethnic identities and responsibility for preserving ecological heritage.

Academic communities like UP Cebu can help transmit cultural knowledge of environmental preservation that translates to mindful and sustainable living, added Ifugao Mumbaki Mamerto Tindongan. He demonstrated ritualistic practices that highlighted the interconnectedness of people and nature.

This collective wisdom forms the backbone of indigenous beliefs, said Bai Liza Saway, as she expounded on their pivotal role in passing them to the younger generation. Reflecting on the matriarchal influence within tribal communities, she underscored the maternal duty of nurturing children with the living traditions and rituals of their heritage.

The imperative to pass down cultural heritage, now affected by a disconnect between the old and young generations, was a recurrent theme among the cultural guardians.

Bai Liza Saway emphasized, “We are duty-bound to pass on our traditions and spirituality to the next generation.” She lamented the dire consequences of failing to impart these living traditions, equating it to a heinous offense that would deprive the youth of their cultural inheritance.

Jay Nathan Jore, Coordinator for the Office for Initiatives in Cultures and the Arts (OICA), opened the ceremony with his welcome remarks while Sarah Queblatin, Founder of Living Story Landscapes and Green Leaf, presented the rationale for the activity. 

Queblatin emphasized the imperative of preserving and revitalizing cultural heritage, highlighting its indispensable connection to the natural world. “It’s about fostering relationships, not asserting ownership. The land we steward demands our profound connection,” she pointed out.

The ceremony culminated in a captivating performance by members of the UP Students’ Theater Arts Guild for Education (UPSTAGE). Aside from UPSTAGE, students who joined the event included representatives from the University Student Council, Fine Arts Student Organization (FASO), and UP Lanog.

“Busilak sa Kilomkilom” was organized by Green Releaf Initiative and Living Story Landscapes in collaboration with the Philippine Commission on Culture and the Arts (PCCA), UP Cebu College of Communication, Art, and Design (CCAD), OICA, UP Cebu University Student Council, Fine Arts Students Organization, Communicators of UP, Lanog, UP Students’ Theater Arts Guild for Education. (Report by Communication Program student Elianah Ursal.)

UP Cebu hosts talk, ceremony on nature restoration with indigenous culture bearers

Culture bearers from Bukidnon, Ifugao, Palawan, and Cebu will gather together this Saturday, February 3, at the Jose Joya Gallery in the University of the Philippines Cebu to lead the sharing of experiences and collaborative exploration of Kapwa values for ecosystem restoration and regeneration in an afternoon session titled “Pamati sa Kalikopan (Listening to Nature).”

Datu Migketay “Vic” Saway, who will represent the Talaandig people of Bukidnon as their chieftain, will be joined by Palawan Babaylan Janet Dolera, Ifugao Mumbaki Mamerto Tindongan, Pagdiwata Farmers of Cebu, and Living Story Landscapes and Green Releaf Sarah Queblatin.

These revered wisdom bearers from indigenous and tribal communitiess will afterwards officiate Busilak sa Kilomkilom, a solemn ceremony starting at 6 p.m. in UP Cebu’s Sunset Garden that aims to deepen the community’s connections with its ancestral and bio-cultural heritage.

The sundown ceremony aims to highlight smart and sustainable living inspired by indigenous wisdom and traditional ecological knowledge. The activity is organized by Green Releaf Initiative and Living Story Landscapes in collaboration with the Philippine Commission on Culture and the Arts (PCCA), UP Cebu College of Communication, Art, and Design (CCAD), Office for Initiatives in Culture and the Arts, UP Cebu University Student Council, Fine Arts Students Organization, Communicators of UP, Lanog, UP Students’ Theater Arts Guild for Education.

Pamati sa Kalikopan, on the other hand, is the first in a series of events under the umbrella of Kapwa Story Circles, described as reflective strategy retreats for ecosystem restoration and regeneration leaders. It aims to tackle ancestral earth wisdom and sacred ecology. Attendance is by invitation only.

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