With much consistency as a good pancake batter, I always find myself writing here especially during Christmas. I believe it’s got a lot to do with looking forward to the new year.
And like every year, I like counting my blessings, the things I’ve lost and the things I’ve learned. This year I’ve met some really interesting people, have gone through rather “interesting” situations, a couple of disappointing predicaments but all in all if you realize that at the end of the year you can always try to be the better version of yourself, you’ll feel much better.
I’d like to thank everybody for being part of this journey the past year and even before that. It remains that the people who indeed prefer to stay as part of our lives (no matter how lousy you think it is and it’s genuinely affecting how it really is), just remain part of it because they want to.
No declarations, no strong goals, except to open up to what’s already there, explore greater heights and not find limits within rules that won’t hurt anyone anyway. Life is too short for regrets, that I can say. Being aware of the frailty of human character will always help determine how far we’ve come learning some things that took others never to learn.
Lets all be grateful and let’s live freely. Never let anybody tell you you will never fit in a certain social circle, and what not. If your emotional makeup and genetic code is toxic to others then don’t squeeze yourself in. Sometimes good company diffuses that. This dictation of where you best belong is not for anybody to judge. You leave where you’re not wanted and that is that. There are more forgiving people as well as people who will take advantage of you. There will always be 2 sides of the coin and it’s up to you to choose which one is more appealing to look at. For as long as your conscience is clear and you’re not hurting anyone, go right ahead.
No time to be self-righteous. I’m not perfect, none of us are. I’ve done a bunch of things I should regret, but I’ve realized how hard it is to move forward and it affects those who want to be part of my life. It’s not an easy exercise, mind you, but it’s doable.
I wish everyone all that they need. As well as the things they want.
Back in mid-2004 when the band started out, we had very low expectations of stirring the mainstream crowd’s interest. Record label executives turned us down and suggested that we needed to change the way we sound to get the attention that we want.
That wasn’t the best thing to tell a group who couldn’t do anything else. It also told us how hard it would be to even break in the business, but we tried anyway. At the time we had just met our manager, Toti Dalmacion and got signed under Terno Recordings, also with zero expectations. Come one day after the boys had passed on the newly recorded first single, “Maybe” to Kiko and Zach, we heard our first airplay. Something every band/artist will never forget.
This gave us a place to share our music. It told us that it was OK to be different, and that there is a frequency that people will tune into, no matter what. If you get played on that station, chances are one or two heads will bop to your tunes. People will listen because its a station that does what it’s set out to do and focus on the music, no matter how strange or obtuse you are. People started doubling during gigs when there used to be 3 slow golf-clappers with eyebrows raised, to more than I can count with the band’s fingers and toes combined.
NU remained our official radio station. It was the only station that played our songs for 2 years until others started picking up our music. Since I’ve heard of the news of it closing down, I couldn’t help but think to myself how things would’ve been if they hadn’t pressed Play. Enough to even include us in the Rock Awards from 2005 (thanks to the people behind that program In The Raw). The station just had so much to do with the growth of the band, if not most of the band’s growth depended on this radio station.
Coming from a place where it’s not easy to breakthrough, we’ve had our doubts as the industry got weaker after the big wave of bands in 2006 happened. You know how frail the entertainment industry is. Trends, they come and go. And the kiss of death is usually attached to a tad of recognition. So we thought we were going to plummet into oblivion until last year 2009 when NU gave us the 3 awards we never thought we’d ever win in this lifetime.
It gave us so much hope, and it gave us the stamp of approval that we never thought would see the light of day. This is why we’ll be forever grateful to the people behind NU. Because it really filled our low expectations with a lot of surprises and affirmation. Perhaps others don’t necessarily agree, but to most of us musicians, it still counts that a pillar in the music industry like NU recognizes you enough to even just play your songs.
Other than it being the constant source of music (circa 1994) as I ride with my brothers to school, it just says how big a role an institution like NU played in this generation. It might even take another hundred words to discuss, so I won’t go there. And besides, we ARE that generation still.
We will miss you and thank you SO much for the support, NU. To all the DJ’s and officials, in behalf of Up Dharma Down, we wish you the best.
If you don’t own a piano, practice on cardboard By Armi Millare
The Philippine Star Updated October 01, 2010 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – As a student, I remember coming to class, and I also remember why I didn’t want to come to class. My love for learning varied. The last time I checked, I wasn’t — to use the politically correct term — mentally incapacitated to learn, but my interest in things would wane every now and then, like many other students.
Day one at the UP College of Music: I thought it was a dream come true. I had never wanted anything so badly, enough to defy my parents’ wish to have a doctor in the family. The band had just gotten signed under an independent label, resulting in my decision to move out because of both my burgeoning career and school of choice. Enter Miss Luci Magalit, whose piano class I had apparently signed up for. It was almost midterms, and I was having trouble memorizing my Bartok piece. Miss Luci pulled me aside and told me, “Let me teach you how to memorize this…” She took out a pencil and wrote over my photocopied piece and said, “This is how I do it and it really works. Try it out.” Her eyes stayed focused on that piece of paper. Surprised at her dedication to get me to learn the damn thing, I kept staring at them, those eyes. She really wanted me to learn — I could see that.
(If only Mrs. Munoz was like her, I would’ve enjoyed my algebra in sixth grade. I even wrote her a poem and read it to class on her birthday thinking she’d be nicer to me. But she was an Aquarian and her heart was made of utter concrete. I then began to hate mathematics and never got past calculus. I also hated chemistry, but Mr. Roa was such a decent man, I think I’d try to learn it again if I were given the chance; but I digress, I don’t think Fe would be as useful as Fa.)
Miss Luci wanted me to learn so badly but I just couldn’t focus on reading and getting my fingers to play the appropriate keys. She then said, “Okay, I’ll get you a slice of cake if you do a good job.” Now she got me listening. I’m not sure if Bartok would’ve approved of my playing, but I do remember getting the cake. Why did she have to resort to bribing me with a slice of chiffon cake with lots of icing? Was it just to get my attention? Maybe. But it was really because she really wanted me to learn that piece.
There are just people who truly love what they do, and know how to do it from the heart. But it takes another kind to be able to teach that love to another person. Luci Magalit had that talent. She was the kind of teacher that you’d want to be a part of your schedule — the kind that a student would give stuff to just out of gratitude for coming to class. (ln my case, that took the form of chocolate filled pillows aptly called Pillows.) Which wasn’t easy for someone who had other seemingly more fun engagements to do, like being sent to compete at prestigious competitions all over the world. And even if there were only six of you in class, she still gave it her best. She was never cranky — and she didn’t mind if you made noise, so long as you made sense. She would also never say, “Somebody else should’ve made it here instead of you, what a waste of space in this university,” even if she thought you needed to shift to Dance.
Recently, I composed my readmission request after being on leave for so long. It was because I remember her telling me how much easier life would be if I went back to school this June. And I believe her. Her advice shows the integrity of someone who truly wants to see another person succeed. When I asked her if I could be like her, she told me no and probably thought I was being silly. I appreciated that. She was right: I couldn’t possibly be her but I could be somewhat like her. That’s a thought that still keeps me going. There are two things guaranteed to make you memorable. First, be the worst version of what you’re supposed to be; or second, be the best even when you’re confronted with the worst. Either of the two will surely leave a mark. I’m happy to say that Luci Magalit managed, despite the odds, to leave an indelible one on me. One written in icing and sweet to the ears.