Art in Baguio, from the back rows

this was published In the Baguio Chronicle, Issue 6, No. 32, July 4-10 2015

Baguio has always been considered as a haven for artists. But the word ‘haven’ cannot possibly describe a place in a state of perpetual flux featuring a lot of colourful personalities. Today, the advent of the internet has allowed us to look beyond the usual personalities in the society pages. Art in Baguio today, like life, is happening not only in one or two particular cliques, but everywhere, simultaneously, aggressively.

For instance, just look at how vibrant the local comics scene has become. Last February, the third year of the Baguio Komikon, taglined “Pag-ibig Sa Bukang Liwayway,” gathered comics artists and enthusiasts from Baguio, La Trinidad, and even from the lowlands such as Pangasinan. What is more astounding that the sheer number of attendants is the aura of openness, collaboration and productivity that permeated the event.

Better Living Through Xeroxography or BLTX came to Baguio last April, with the aim of developing local independent publishing and writing. The activity, held at Cafe Yagam, was co-organized by writer Adam David and Baguio-based art group Pedantic Pedestrians, and was attended by local writers, zine makers, artists and students. The event was a counterpoint to local publishing and literary practices more inclined towards the mainstream literary market and its affiliated institutions.

Let’s go to music. Apart from the local radio stations, some local independent musicians are pushing the local boundaries of their craft. ListenBaguio is currently launching the first all-original all-Baguio internet radio show featuring local musical talents. This is not only a sign of life, but a portent of something about to burst, especially given that local artists are often swayed towards the metropolitan, Manila-oriented music scene. ListenBaguio showcases Baguio not only as a ‘well’ of talents waiting to be ‘discovered’ but a vibrant community of prolific and driven groups and individuals.

Long-time cultural group Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kultura will be holding a reunion concert on July 18, 5:30 PM at the University of the Cordilleras Theater and July 19 , 2:00 PM, at Baguio City National High School Auditorium .

Poet and activist Ericson Acosta will also be launching his book on July 17, at the Mt. Cloud Bookshop, 5:00 PM. A short talk with Acosta will be also held at the University of the Philippines Baguio Lobby on the same day, 1:00 PM.

Everyone is invited to participate in these community events. There is so much more than what was listed here. These are really exciting times to be in the City of Pines.


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