ASUL: Reviving the Blue in Pasig River Through Music

To make Pasig River blue again, waters clear enough to reflect the blue skies above it—this is the vision that led NCCA, PRRC, and PETA to come together and create Taga-Alog 2019, a campaign that aims to voice awareness on environmental issues through the use of the arts. Taga-Alog, literally shakers, is inspired by the old Tagalog term for “people from the ford.” With this, the campaign wants to build a community of River Warriors—ambassadors who share the campaign’s values of environmental awareness and responsibility for the rehabilitation of the Pasig River.

After a series of efforts and activities throughout the year, Taga-Alog concludes with ASUL: The Taga-Alog 2019 Grand Concert held on November 9, 2019 at Rizal High School, Pasig City. Together with 4000 passionate people who gathered to support the event, the culminating concert hosted by Pepe Herrera and Yesh Burce celebrated the fruits of its cause through a night of music and commitment.

ASUL: The Taga-Alog 2019 Grand Concert was made possible through the support of the local government of Pasig City. “Hindi lang ito tungkol sa kasiyahan, kung hindi sa pag-raise ng awareness sa Ilog Pasig,” Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said in his opening remarks.

Advocating through the arts

Among the main highlights of the event was the awarding of the winning entries from the various capacity-building activities for different artistic channels that Taga-Alog and its stakeholders had hosted.

ASUL The 2019 Taga-Alog Grand Concert

Wisik Short Film Making Workshop awarded the first place to “Kung Hindi Ikaw” by Royce Divine Oficial, Jessie Stephen Guevara, and Misty Shane Eneria for Public Service Announcement Category. Coming in on second place was “Hatol” by Kristel Joyce Micael and Marjorie Marciano, and on third place was “Eco Basura” by Jhon Rheymel Lunes, Queenie Valdoz, Sandra Aguzar, Joseph Aquino, and Shiela Marie Salas.

“Himlayan” by Godwin Emmanuel and Benj L. Solania tops the competition’s Creative Category. “Obra” by Mary Franz D.R. Salazar, Emman Olasiman, Janaya Danielle Parungao, Ervin Miranda, and Sofia Chantal Perez won 2nd place while Geoffrey Jules N. Solidum and Christine Jane B. Almira’s “Tinig Ni Pasig” placed third.

Gian Lorenz M. Violago’s “Pinta” won the Audience Choice Award.

TampisAwit PhilPop Song Writing Competition 1st placer Suzanne Q. Samson showcased her musical masterpiece “Ilog Pasig Laban” live on stage with a powerful performance that was arranged by veteran songwriter Jungee Marcelo.

“Bangon, Ilog” written by Gaerard Allen de Leon and Rica Jane U. Francisco and “Kayang Kaya” by Randy Quisora Pusing won 2nd and  3rd place respectively.

The piece “Patuloy” by Paul Arcega was hailed Maynilad Audience Choice Winner.

For the literary arts, Khamille Anne Linsag of Davao City bagged the first place for Lagaslas Children Story Writing Workshop Competition with her story “Budi.”

The winners received special Ipo trophies from Maynilad.

United with Music

True to the campaign’s advocacy of utilizing arts as platform of promoting environmental awareness, everyone’s commitment and oneness was strengthened as different performers light up the night with their melodies.

ASUL The 2019 Taga-Alog Grand Concert

ASUL The 2019 Taga-Alog Grand Concert

ASUL The 2019 Taga-Alog Grand Concert

Taga-Alog ambassadors Noel Cabangon, Aicelle Santos, and Ben&Ben shared their talents through songs that went right through the hearts of the listeners. Other performers who supported the cause, including Gloc-9, KE, Talahib People’s Band, Pasig City Band, and singers and dancers from PETA, also made the musical moment special.

Everyone is a River Warrior

Everyone stood up and raised their right hand as Taga-Alog’s Project Director Mr. Raul Alfonso lead the oath taking of the River Warriors. Within the commitment setting is the enumeration of Taga-Alog’s signature campaign—the 6Rs of caring for the environment: refuse, reuse, reduce, recycle, respect the environment, and rehabilitation through the arts.

Ambassadors Noel Cabangon and Aicelle Santos also shared some ways everyone can do to help on the Pasig River’s rehabilitation. One of which is minimizing the consumption of single-use plastics by bringing one’s own utensils and tumblers especially when going out. The ambassadors also encouraged everyone to speak up and step forward if they witness activities that can harm the environment.

“Dapat lahat tayo, maging ambassador. Lahat tayo magpamulat sa bawat isa at magtulung-tulong para sa rehabilitasyon ng Pasig River at kapaligiran natin sa kabuuan,” Taga-Alog’s ambassadress Aicelle Santos said.

ASUL The 2019 Taga-Alog Grand Concert

Taga-Alog believes that the Pasig River is very alive, and with the 6Rs, it will someday be that same old beautiful river across the metro where children can swim and fish can live in.

“May ningning na, mayroon nang sigla, may mga parte na na malinis, at tuluy-tuloy naman ang rehabilitasyon. Bilang isang ambassador, nais ko pong ipamahagi sa mga tao na mayroon po talagang pag-asa ang Ilog Pasig,” Noel Cabangon assures everyone.

ASUL The 2019 Taga-Alog Grand Concert

With timeless platforms such as the arts, Taga-Alog’s advocacy not only breathes life to the revival of the Pasig River, but also inspires many Filipinos to stand as one in conserving the beauty of our natural resources.

For more information, visit the Taga-alog official Facebook page or email nccatagaalog@gmail.com.

Event details and images provided in a recent press release.

A Valentine celebration of love, food and music at Chef Jessie’s Place

Having said goodbye to the Christmas holidays, many of the metro’s denizens have rolled up their sleeves and gotten back to their daily grind.

However, this recent Valentine’s Day, many braved the traffic jams and packed malls to spend time with their special someones.

As for me, I was thrice-lucky: I was able to have a special Valentine’s Day celebration with three of my loves: food, music and friends.

I was among the bloggers of #WeLoveToEatPH invited to attend a benefit dinner held at Chef Jessie’s Place in Makati.

The venue is a newly built building located at the corner of Pililla, Tanay and Obrero Streets in Barangay Olympia in Makati. The building is the culmination of world-renowned Chef Jessie Sincioco‘s dream to have her own place, hence the name. It is set to open to the public in early March.

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

The benefit dinner, at Php3,500 net for two people (the proceeds of which will be donated to Caritas Manila), features a sumptuous international buffet selection, personally designed and overseen by Chef Jessie, along with her brother Chef Reo Sincioco.

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

The event is highlighted by musical performances by Madonna Decena and Renz Fernando. Madonna is the Filipina finalist in Britain’s Got Talent and a multi-medalist in the World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA). Renz, on the other hand, is a four-time WCOPA medalist hailing from Tawi-Tawi. Together, they serenaded the diners with love songs and ballads.

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

The dinner’s international buffet selection includes dishes from various cuisines such as:

An assortment of exotic appetizers. I loved the slightly spicy Fusili with Crab Sticks best of these.

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Beef Cheeks Bourguignonne. Also known as Beef Burgundy, this hearty dish is highlighted by tender morsels of beef cheeks, stewed in red wine and meat stock, accompanied by root carrots and aromatics.

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Chestnut Pork Barbecue. I was excited to find out that the pork used in these skewers were actually flown in from Spain because Chef Jessie wanted her pork barbecue to be so tender that the meat falls off the stick with every bite.

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Grilled Assorted Seafood in Berlinoise Sauce. Succulent salmon, prawns and other seafood are bathed in a rich creamy sauce.

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Penne in Creamy Tomato Sauce. Al dente penne tossed in a rich creamy tomato sauce and sprinkled with cheese.

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Brown Rice Vegetable and Mushroom Risotto. A flavorful rice dish which aptly complemented the other viands.

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Decadent Desserts. Sweets for the sweet which include Crepe Samurai, Chocolate Fudge Slice with Salted Caramel, various panna cotta, Hazelnut Chocolate Tranche and Chilled Strawberry Cheesecake.

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

Spirits from Titania Wine Cellar are also available by the bottle.

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

I couldn’t help but fill my plate with these tasty selections (and return for seconds and thirds, hehehe!). And it certainly seemed like I had the whole world on my plate!

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

This Valentine’s Day celebration at Chef Jessie’s Place was a memorable night spend with great music, great food and great friends!

Chef Jessie’s Place, Olympia Makati

I’m looking forward to coming back when it officially opens to the public.

Check out my previous blog post on Chef Jessie’s Place.

Disclosure: Together with my other food bloggers from #WeLoveToEatPH, I was invited to a Valentine’s Day benefit dinner held at Chef Jessie’s Place. Food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.