Tanduay and Rock n’ Roll

Davao isn’t really a favorite destination for Manila based bands.  Logistics and economics dictate that the only way a promoter can recoup expenses is that the public would be willing to pay a premium for a concert and I am not sure if people are willing to do so, what with limited disposable income and all.

But thanks to Tanduay Rum Rockfest 2012, we get to see premium bands with an ex-deal.  Buy your rum and get tickets.  Getting drunk and watching a concert is always a good deal in my book.

Getting to Crocodile Park was a pain.  It was a snail’s pace at Circumferential Road and bumper to bumper upon reaching Diversion Road to the venue.  Walking to the gate, I could hear 6 Cyclemind playing.  No big loss missing them as I don’t really think much about their music.

And just in time as I went in, Dong Abay took the stage.  He greeted the audience and started to play.  In between songs, he was cajoling the crowd to let loose.  As usual, the Davao crowd was insipid.  Yes, they sing but not much motion comes out.  I don’t know if people just don’t know how to behave in a rock concert because of the lack of it, or that they know that it’s ok to wave  hands in the air to show love or bobbing heads or hopping or dancing is completely normal in a concert.  But as always, I suspect that we’re always too cool to do silly things for performers.  Going back to Mr. Abay, he sang with his usual ferocity and antics.  He was backed by drummer extra-ordinaire, Mark Escueta and Imago’s guitarist and Gaijin’s singer-guitarist, Tim and Jessie respectively.  For the life of me, I couldn’t remember who the bassist was.  Going through traffic for Dong Abay’s performance was completely worth it.  I will forever admire this guy for his songwriting and performance.

After the set, the Dawn played which I didn’t bother to see because it’s not the same without Francis Reyes.  My friend arrived, got some drinks and was just chilling as Wency Cornejo and band played.  Nostalgia effect for Next In Line.  It still is a good song.  More drinks as Urban Dub was playing.  Again, the crowd in front was too cool to show love.  Sorry Urban Dub.  Damn, I remember seeing them at Saguijo a few years ago, the whole venue shook like a motherpunker while they played First of Summer.

I think Rico Blanco played next.  He has gone theatric and electronic.  Cool versions of Yugto and some old song I couldn’t remember.  He is another performer I really admire.   Always with much energy and gusto even with a stale crowd who somehow managed to show a bit of love.

I don’t know who played next but I remember Franco with a new backing band.  He played new and unfamiliar songs.  Sounded rockin’ but crowd again was lethargic.  He played Song for the Suspect last and somewhat managed to liven the crowd up a bit.  I think Gloc 9 played next, I didn’t really pay attention as more drinking ensued.

Then Wolfgang, oh lord, they bust balls completely.  Sanctified was like a wash of rock n’ roll energy to the crowd.  Maybe we’re just too picky eh?  Silly dancing and head banging reserved only for choice bands.  I couldn’t remember the other songs, I think Mata ng Diyos and Halik ni Hudas were also played or could it be a memory from other Wolfgang concerts I’ve seen?

Let me jump to Parokya ni Edgar.  These guys have re-earned my respect for them.  The crowd was now ecstatic while they played.  Chito masterfully played the crowd.  And he might  be the only person who can convince Basti to sing “Boys Do Fall In Love?” with them.

By the time Chicosci played, we were too tired to stand or watch.  We then decided to leave the venue but got stuck.  Vehicles were parked on the road and there was no way to go out.  Ended up sitting at some curb till Kamikazee finished playing.  Dang, I was dreaming of ice cold beer to cap off the night at Saless Diner, where a burgeoning Davao rock scene is being nurtured and where Dong Abay incidentally turned up after the Rockfest.

Now I begin to think that people’s interest in music is not as diverse as I would have thought. Judging from the crowd reaction, people came to see Wolfgang, Parokya and Kamikazee. Some dug Urban Dub and Rico Blanco.  But acts who don’t get mainstream “I-memorize ba yan” radio airplay like Dong Abay and Franco who in my opinion are just as talented in another genre of rock barely got any love.  That was my perspective from the Press/Sponsors crowd though.  Who knows what mayhem happened at the back.  Still, I know there were fans in front, but the too cool to show love won over.

Anyhow, it was fun.  I so missed rock n’ roll.  The rock scene is the only thing I miss about Manila.  I hope more concerts can be done here.

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Urban Dub at Abreeza

One really has to wonder why seats are placed in a rock gig.  I don’t understand why organizers don’t get that rock gigs are supposed to be watched while standing.  Rock music should move people.  And standing is the best position to rock out!  Bands love it when people react to their music.  How dull would it be the head-bang sitting?

Case in point was the show by Urban Dub a few hours ago.  The band gave their everything and delivered an intense show despite the awkwardness of having a sitting crowd.  Gabby, the singer asked the crowd to engage with the music and come closer during the 1st song.   Much to the delight of the elated kids, they stood up and went near the stage.  But here came the overacting event security and  cock blocked kids half their size.  I mean, what the fuck? What the hell could they do to ruin the show?  Kids were just dancing.  Last time I checked it wasn’t a crime. Then the overbearing event security ordered them to sit down after the 1st song.  To Urban Dub’s credit, they were forthright that they weren’t used to their crowd sitting down while they played but respected the venue’s stand on keeping the crowd to sit still.

Security was a bunch of killjoys.  I think they need to learn some tips about proper crowd control.  There are accepted norms of enjoying a show and if you invite a rock band, let them and their fans rock.  I don’t think anybody has died of dancing yet.

SM Lanang Premier

So I was able to finally  go to SM Lanang Premier last Saturday.  It looked impressive and the mall was massive.  People were everywhere which never fails to prove the point that SM really appeal to the masses.  There were still a lot of restaurants that hasn’t opened yet so there was really not much of a choice to choose from where to eat.  Forever 21 has opened already so I bet all the women are happy now. I checked out the shoe section of the department store and there were some interesting dress shoes that don’t cost an arm and a leg to buy and Nike’s field trainer was available there too.  I then headed to the tech area.  Samsung tabs looked awesome and I may want to get one.  After sometime, I got bored after walking around within an hour and opted to wait for my sister’s family to meet me at Green Coffee before Taken 2 starts showing.  Taken 2 was good.  It set a steady pace of action and thrilling sequences. Liam Neeson was still deadly and killed everyone.  I also got some pics of SM.  Not much to look at though because I just took it with my crap fone cam.

Boracay, Rain, Booze and Clubs

Ok, so Boracay was going to be my vacation beach destination for the year.  Taking advantage of Cebu Pacific’s promo flights and following a friend’s booked flight schedule, the rest of us booked a trip to Boracay the 1st week of September.

We left on a Saturday bound for Iloilo and touched down around 9am.  Upon arrival at the airport, we took a map from their tourist information desk and rode a van to take us to SM. There was a Ted’s near SM so we ate Batchoy, Iloilo’s specialty for breakfast and took some pictures of the sights outside the restaurant.  I took a shot of an old tower from afar which was infront of a church because I was too lazy to go any nearer under the heat of the sun.  Once everyone was done with the short sightseeing, we took a jeep going to the bus terminal.  It was a long 5 hour bus ride to Caticlan.  I felt a little nauseous so I slept almost the entire trip.  We arrived the jetty port terminal around 4pm and it was bustling with local and foreign tourists.  We were also surprised that the Terminal Fee has become 100 pesos already and since it looked cloudy and was windy, we took the Fastcraft to allay our fears of riding a smaller banca with strong currents.  The Fastcraft was big, airconditioned and clean which made the ride comfortable and worth its 50 peso fare.

Upon arriving at the Boracay port, we took a tricycle to Station 1 and headed to Bans Beach Resort.   They have a big compound with an open space in the middle of the resort houses which made it relaxing and soothing in the eyes.  Their rooms were clean, well-maintained and spacious which made me very happy and satisfied.

We spent all our nights in Boracay drinking which drained my pocket at 70-80 pesos per bottle.  Whew.  But what fun we had!  My favorite haunt were Epic and Summer Place.  They’re not too far, nor too big, just enough for one to get around and spot people to dance with.  They were full of local and foreign tourists looking to party, which I think mostly was Koreans as when Gungam Style was played, they all sang, bobbed their heads and headed to the dance floor.  This song can really stick to your head!

Days were spent sleeping until lunch time as we always went home before sunrise.  Late afternoons was spent swimming and lazing around the beach.  Ole is a restaurant worth mentioning.  Their Fajitas was darn good!  Red Coconut coffee was good too.  The sweetness of coconut complemented the bitterness of coffee.  We were also offered a free buffet at Astoria, but be warned, you need to sit down with them after and listen to their sales talk for around 90 minutes.  Well I guess it was worth it, considering it was free and we had nothing better to do early in the evening.

I can’t talk about other water activities as our money were all spent on booze and food.  And when in your late 30’s,  you can’t party all night and wake up early to do more activities.  We need our sleep!

It was a fun trip, it was my birthday, we got wet in the rain a couple of times, partied, ate like kings and enjoyed the water and the beach.  What more can you ask for?

I bleed for you like a new tattoo

Local rock fans can certainly recognize the line “I bleed for you like a new tattoo”   which was made popular by a then unknown Cebu indie band Urban Dub which has already made it big because of this album.  The song came to mind when I got inked with my 2nd tattoo which was borne out of wanting something that would remind me of what I usually lack when I feel lost in this game called life.

I got acquainted with the tattoo artist because of my sibling who got her 1st tattoo recently.  With some prodding to add a new one, I finally chose the Kanji script for Faith/Believe,  thinking that as it would be a part of my body for the rest of my life, I should choose something relevant for myself that should be applicable until I’m in my death bed.

I kind of forgot how it hurt the 1st time I got inked and was kind of biting my lip as the tattoo artist started outlining the script.  Then after a few minutes, my body  adjusted to the pain.  20 minutes later he was done.  I got the usual inflammation which was a reminder for me that I couldn’t get a half-sleeve inked on my arm as that would be one painful recovery phase for me because I have this hyper-sensitivity in my skin that traumatizes easily.

It’s been a week now and as I write this at home in Davao Imperial Hotel, my small tattoo has been steadily healing.  I can see the scabs fall off and by next week I could hit the beach again!

Sigabuy camping

It’s hard to turn down an invitation to go the beach.  Much more so if you’re going to a remote spot where the water is pristine, the sand is white, the fish is fresh from the water, there’s no cellphone signal to bother you and you have the beach for yourself.  As soon as I was told the destination was Sigabuy, I was good to go!

It was around a 4 hour drive from Davao City with one breakfast stop of around 20 minutes at Jollibee Tagum.  The road to Davao Oriental was a mixture of concrete, asphalt, and paved dirt roads.  To sum it up, it was a good ride despite the road development, in a year or so, the road to Sigabuy would all be concrete.

The scenery was breath taking when we arrived.   The clear blue water you could see and gentle waves rushing you could hear is heaven.  We then pitched our tents in a spot under a tree and set up the cooler and foldable chairs and table.  As soon as the chores were done, we were swimming in the water.  The fine white sand in the beach is also what you can step on in the water.  No aqua shoes, slippers or sandals needed to enjoy your swim.

There’s only so much you can do in the beach if you’re not going to go under water diving or snorkeling.  So naturally, what we did was to eat grilled fish and drink alcohol.  Before the sunset, we dipped in the water again because it’s hard to swim when it’s pitch dark and inebriated.  After dinner, we dozed off.  There was rain, but the tent kept us dry.

The next morning, we had a simple breakfast, dipped in the water some more as our last goodbye and freshened up.  Time to go back to the real world folks.  The ride to Davao City was smooth as well.  I must have reached Davao Imperial Hotel around 4pm.  There was little traffic in the city because of a motorcade.  It must be part of the Kadayawan festivities.  I also felt a bit sad for our fellowmen in Manila when I checked the latest news.  They are literally underwater.  This is a constant reminder not to mess with Mother Nature.  Going green, reduce, reuse and recycling, effective urban planning and whole lot more needs to be done in this country.  Sigh.  Anyway, hope everyone is having a happy Kadayawan!

Kadayawan 2012 – Street Pic

 I decided to take a walk yesterday for my cardio exercise and ended up in San Pedro Street where I couldn’t help but notice the buntings that hung over the street.  They looked good and certainly helped bring in the vibe of the Kadayawan festival this month.

San Pedro Street is a good 10 minute walk from Davao Imperial Hotel.  This part of the city is where trading of various kinds of goods abound.  From ukay-ukay to general merchandise to DVD’s to tailoring to eye glasses and anything you can imagine of, it’s there.  My cardio work-out for the day turned out to be an impromptu sight-seeing as I don’t usually wander in these streets because work doesn’t bring me here often.  I also saw a place to buy and eat durian at the corner of JP Rizal and Inigo Street and was reminded that durian is in season.  I’d love to eat one again one of these days.  I came home at the Davao Imperial Hotel around 45 minutes of walking and sight seeing.  It was a good afternoon.  Thank God for simple pleasures.