Monday, August 2, 2010


IT’S ALL QUIET in the Asheville front… but that doesn’t mean, the fire has subsided or snuffed out. Upon my return to the mountains following a two-year respite in Southern California, I didn’t realize that “all things must change” (to rephrase George Harrison). But that doesn’t mean—I am packin’ up again and all set to head nowhere.
I am staying.
Meantime, the Philippine wing of The Bonfires is the exact opposite. Under the leadership of my daughter Donna—and her able associate Lorna Campilan—our Manila bureau has been rockin’ with four or five upcoming productions and events.

TRAVELING BONFIRES-Philippines kicks off its second half/2010 calendar of productions with a benefit concert for breast cancer victims, entitled “ALAB NG DIBDIB: A Traveling Bonfires Benefit for Breast Cancer Prevention,” set on Aug 21—coinciding with “Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park” on the same day, US time. That event, featuring Touch Samadhi’s DJs—could be our last for the year in Asheville.
A nude sketching fundraiser introduces “Alab…” on Aug 14. Seems to me, my colleagues in Manila—most of them in their past 50s and 60s—have become so smitten with “nude paintings.” Interesting…
The concert segment, which will be held at the Conspiracy Bar and Garden Café in Quezon City, will feature TBonfires’ core acts: Anak ni Aling Juana, BERSUS, Kalayag, and NukLus. Such an awesome development since these bands are fronted by mostly my Manila buddies—poets and artists (Abet Umil, Boyd Dominguez, Jhake Nebreja). By the way, Conspiracy Café, located in Visayas Avenue in Quezon City—a major suburb of Manila—was actually the other half of my childhood neighborhood (the other is Baguio City, located far north).
Needless to say, I had a full, active 20+ years writers’ life back in the islands—before I decided to sail away to New York City, for good, in 1998. (Again, that should be another long chapter in my life—and a lengthier subject to blog about, although that “life” remains as the springboard of my working novel, “Waiting for Winter.”)
On September (to October), The Bonfires heads farther up north—in Ilocandia—to help promote the Ilocos region as a major cultural center and destination in the country. In line are a series of events that include: arts and photography exhibitions, poetry readings, and musical performances. (Add info: My family or clan are Ilocanos—those who emanated from the Ilocos Region of the
Philippines. It is located in the northwestern region portion of Luzon, the Philippines’ main island.)

SOMETIME in September, The Bonfires mounts what could be it its most ambitious concert production project in the Philippines, to date. Pending final negotiations, the organization—with the Ubbog Cordillera Young Writers Association—will bring back a legendary
Pinoy rock and folk rock band through a free concert in Baguio City.
The Bonfires goes global in October with, “Kesher: Bonfires for Peace" (a concert for holocaust victims), a collaborative project with the YsraPhil Philippines Network Development Organization. Set on Oct 9th at Conspiracy, it will feature iconic singer-songwriter Joey Ayala plus Hebrew performers.
In between these programs and projects, The Bonfires continues to heed its commitment to fundraise and launch program assistance and training for at-risk youths, via the Association Compassion Asian Youth (ACAY), a non-profit, humanitarian service organization catering to youth at risk, based in Balanga town in Bataan province in the Philippines. ACAY, under the aegis of the Missionaries of Mary, an international Catholic movement (main office in France), is a perennial beneficiary of the Traveling Bonfires’ fundraise events.
[For details of these projects, you may email Donna at]

Updated: Pasckie Pascua

1:13 AM. 3 August 2010
Candler NC

[Photo: The band, Anak ni Aling Juana, in a Traveling Bonfires fundraiser for families of victims of involuntary disappearances, held at Conspiracy Garden & Cafe in Quezon City, Philippines, in July 2009.]

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