Thursday, November 26, 2009


For those great men and women who champion noble causes, it is not unusual to hear stories of that one defining moment in their lives of how they got involved in their advocacy in the first place. Some claim that their epiphany came in form of a man or a woman who enlightened them and showed them to their path, some claim that it came after a long meditation while some claim it came in form of a dream, a song, a TV show or a film. For social worker and teacher by profession Efren PeƱaflorida, his epiphany came in form of rocks.

Growing up in a poverty-stricken part of Cavite City, Efren’s life was full of struggles even at an early age. He lived near the city dump site, his parents (his dad a tricycle driver and his mom a vendor) worked hard to make ends meet. The young Efren knew back then that it was education which will be instrumental to alleviate their destitute status. Thus, he made sure to always do his best at school. However, Efren often encountered neighborhood kids who would hang out outside his school who either bullied him or enticed him to join gangs, some even resorting to the violent actof beating him up. When Efren was in fourth year high school at the Cavite National High School, the bullying reached a new low: the bullies started to throw rocks at them.

This experience eventually drove Efren and three of his high school classmates to form Dynamic Teen Company in 1997, which aims to divert kids from joining gangs and notorious fraternities and involving themselves in petty crimes. Through Dynamic Teen Company, the group came across Club 8586, Inc., a non-profit, non-sectarian and non-denominational organization helping the less fortunate in Cavite City. Club 8586 already had a good reputation at that time.

"It was here where I met my mentor who changed my perspective," Efren says, pointing out that the mentor prefers to remain nameless. "We joined in their volunteer work and jail outreach programs. Our eyes were opened to reality, how kids who aren’t properly guided grow up to be criminals rotting in jail cells or ending up at the cemetery."

Dynamic Teen Company started as a friendship club of around 20 members and their major platform at the time was to provide youth awareness projects, talent and self-development activities and community services. Now, the group, which now has 125 volunteers in Cavite City alone, holds different activities to address these issues.

In 1999, Dynamic Teen Company led by Efren began to reach out to slum kids by conducting outreach classes, bringing them plastic bags with food and goodies to lure them. Four years later, Club 8586’s office burned down and the group got the idea of utilizing the unused push carts from Club 8586. A volunteer, Michael Advincula, took charge of conceptualizing the design of the carts. Michael was a former Akyat Bahay gang member and Spaghetti gang member, stealing cable wires and selling them, before being taken in as a volunteer by Dynamic Teen Company.

"It was Michael who thought of the concept," Efren recalls. "He was the one who did the shelves, the built-in blackboard." They stocked the pushcarts with books, pens, tables and chairs and this gave birth to the "pushcart classroom," where they replicate a school setting every Saturday in the most unlikely places like the cemetery and the municipal trash dump.

This year, the pushcart classroom has a total of 350 enrollees in four sites, with kids with ages ranging from 2 to 14 learning the basics of counting, reading and writing. The group hopes to bring the "pushcart classroom" into the roads of Manila soon. However, their good deeds are constantly met with challenges.

Dynamic Teen Company"We came to a point where we almost gave up," Efren shares, adding that it was his mentor from Club 8586 who kept encouraging them. "He said,’Why would you be ashamed of doing something you know is right?’"

So Efren and his team pursued their cause more passionately. Efren’s determination was further cemented when he met Cris Valdez, a six-year-old orphan boy whose arms and back got badly burnt when he accidentally fell into burning tires during a scavenging hunt at the city dump site.

Now 10 years old and in Grade 4, Cris volunteers as a hygiene and first aid demonstrator. From January to November, Efren relates how Cris earns money, selling candies at his school, and saves the money to buy slippers for streetkids come Christmas time. Cris has even formed his own group, Aklat Para sa Lahat, with 15 kids of the same age. For this, he got recognized as well and was featured recently in Jessica Soho, Kapuso Mo, together with the Dynamic Teen Company. This certainly gave the group good publicity.

However, exposure and spreading awareness to their noble cause and not publicity were the two things in Efren’s mentor’s mind when he filmed the group’s "pushcart classroom" activities one Saturday and uploaded the video in Efren’s mentor believed that the Internet was a good way to let others know of their cause so they can reach out to even more kids in need. It didn’t take long for the video to catch attention worldwide. Eventually a staff member from Oprah’s Angel Network, a website inspired by respected daytime TV host Oprah Winfrey, found out about it. As a result, Efren’s story was featured on the site. In December 2008, someone from CNN got wind of Efren and his group’s efforts and got in touch with them, suggesting that they submit Efren’s story for CNN Hero of the Year.

Efren was reluctant at first because he believed that the good work that they they were doing was a team effort. Ultimately he was convinced to agree to be the organization’s representative since he is one of the founders. So in January 2009, the CNN staff flew in from New York to interview Efren personally and to shoot footages of their actitivities. The segment was shown worldwide in the first week of March the same year, giving Efren, who celebrates his birthday on March 5, a great birthday gift.

"We were very happy of course because it was a big step for us, especially because CNN is a network accessible worldwide," Efren says. The final 10 nominees for CNN Hero of the Year will be announced on October 1 and awarding ceremonies of the winner will be in November. Efren never expected something as big of a deal like this.

"The concept [of the pushcart classroom] is not entirely ours. There are many around the country whom I’m sure are doing the same. We don’t like to claim the idea is our own. The nomination is a representation not only for our organization but for the whole country as well and everyone else who are doing the same thing."

It looks like that Efren is doing a good job of representation. He has recently been featured in the Ako Mismo advocacy campaign with heavyweight personalities Ely Buendia, Angel Locsin and Charice Pempengco. Efren was also chosen as one of the Bayaning Pilipino given by the Gawad Geny Lopez annually to honor Filipino heroes for their unconditional sacrifices for the country and for the welfare of others.

Efren considers it a great honor to be regarded as a modern-day hero but believes that no one is too ordinary to be heroes.

"We should all start the change from within," he says. "All of us, we should open our minds and hearts to accommodate to the needs of the less fortunate and release the hero within. We are all capable of contributing to our community and to our country."



Many Filipinos are pointing to the massacre of 46 unarmed people in the southern Philippines province of Maguindanao Monday as evidence of the deadly influence of a dynastic clan that has been nurtured by the central government for almost 20 years. Nothing is yet proven, but survivors of the attack, national politicians, and police officials all say the likely perpetrators were loyalists of Andal Ampatuan, a former provincial governor who has used his private army to control politics in the province for a decade. Mr. Ampatuan was term-limited out of the governorship this year. In his three election campaigns, no local politician dared to run against him.

His son, Andal Jr., was gearing up for a similarly unopposed run to replace his father. But Ismael Mangudadatu, a former ally of the Ampatuans, had other ideas. On Monday morning, he dispatched a convoy of cars (mostly women and journalists, on the theory that would afford some protection against attack) to file papers in the provincial capital Shariff Aguak to run against the younger Ampatuan. Mr. Mangudadatu remained at home.

The people in the convoy never made it. Instead, they were waylaid when they came to Ampatuan (the clan’s stronghold), dragged from their cars, and summarily executed. Survivors alleged to reporters in the Philippines that Andal Jr. led the gunmen.

Many of the victims were buried in mass graves that survivors said appeared to have been dug before the assault. Among the dead were Mangudadatu’s wife, Genalyn, and two of his sisters. At least 12 of the victims were Filipino journalists. The provincial police chief was sacked and a government spokesman said local police officers also appeared to be present during the murders.

The murders led Philippines president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to declare a state of emergency in the province. Her government is now dealing with a looming scandal, with opposition politicians asking how the murders could have happened in broad daylight and on a major road regularly patrolled by soldiers and police. The attacks appear to show the problem with her government’s tolerance of warlords.

Warlordism has been endemic for generations in the Philippines, from the main northern island of Luzon to Mindanao, the largely Muslim island that hosts at least three armed separatist groups. Mindanao also has freelance kidnap-for-ransom gangs and protection rackets tied to the large army and police presence.

The US got its first extended taste of counterinsurgency on Mindanao, where Moro fighters centered in the powerful local clans tied up US forces for 14 years as America sought to colonize the country (the Moro rebellion ended in 1913). The island’s Muslim population has had an uneasy relationship with the central government ever since, and two major separatist groups – the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – were born there.

In 1990, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was created for the Muslim provinces of the island, ostensibly to give the local population more power over their own affairs and suck the life out of Mindanao’s various insurgencies. But in the 1990s, the Armed Forces of the Philippines continued to aggressively hunt down local militants using the paramilitary loyalists, much as similar civilian forces were created by Colombia’s military in the 1960s. One paramilitary leader who worked with the Army’s 6th Infantry Division was Andal Ampatuan.

With his close military ties, Ampatuan’s rise has been meteoric. He has served in the Philippines Congress and as the governor of Maguindanao. His family’s rise to political dominance has closely tracked that of Arroyo, who became president in 2001. Since Ampatuan first became governor in 2000, five of the province’s towns have been renamed for his relatives, including the provincial capital now known as Shariff Aguak, after his father.

In a long 2008 report on the Ampatuan clan’s influence and strength, reporter Jaileen Jimeno wrote that “only one family wields real power in Maguindanao: the Ampatuans, led by… acknowledged patriarch, Governor Andal Ampatuan.” She quotes Michael Mastura, a former congressman from Maguindanao, as saying of Ampatuan’s local power, “the word ‘impunity’ does not even suit it.”

He has cultivated the relationship with the presidential palace by running a reliable election machine in his area. Ampatuan was widely alleged to have rigged the local vote in the 2004 election, which saw ARMM vote overwhelmingly for Arroyo. In 2005, his son Zaldy became ARMM governor. In Zaldy’s last reelection, in 2008, he received 90 percent of the vote. In 2007, all 12 candidates whom Arroyo had backed for senator in Maguindanao won. After that election, local school administrator Musa Dimasidsing told a national commission on electoral fraud that he’d personally witnessed ballot stuffing. He was murdered with a shot to the head soon after. Mr. Dimasidsing’s murder remains unsolved.

In 2006, Arroyo issued Executive Order 546, which legalized the then-informal, and technically illegal, paramilitary groups of men like Ampatuan. “The (Philippines National Police) is hereby authorized to deputize the [paramilitaries] as force multipliers in the implementation of the peace and order plan,” Arroyo’s order reads. The order’s effect was to institutionalize paramilitary groups like Ampatuan’s across the country.

At least four of Ampatuan’s sons are also town mayors and most of them have gunmen of their own. Estimates of the size of his own personal militia range from 200-500. He often travels in a convoy with “technicals,” pickup trucks with 50-caliber machine guns mounted on the load bed, armed by loyalists and family members.

“Arroyo returns the favors by letting (The Ampatuans’) rule Maguindanao like a fiefdom,” Jarius Bondoc wrote in The Philippine Star. “All economic initiatives need the Ampatuans’ assent; state funds are released through them. Even the posting of police and military generals are cleared with them.”

Ampatuan has been a target of violence himself. In 2006, he survived an ambush that he said was laid by the MILF. The group denied trying to kill Ampatuan, but the former governor’s personal gunmen have often fought with the MILF. The group said it had killed 20 of Ampatuan’s militiamen in a firefight in 2006.

More violence could be in the offing. Though the government is hoping that the state of emergency will tamp down the situation, the Mangudadatus are powerful in their own right. Blood feuds in Mindanao traditionally run long, and hot.

By Dan Murphy

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Last Saturday was a superb night starting off with the open stage night audition for bands. We tested bands from Angeles City, Pampanga down to Bulacan City and Novaliches. Bands that auditioned that night included Local SP, Tartarz and More Than Linda.

Then at around 9 in the evening things starts to fall into place. Out come the weekend offenders Marlon along with the Mandalondon Crew arrived, Rex along with the Paco Skinheads, the foreign Students from Berkeley that supported GABRIELA came in along with Odel of the political activist band Tolonguez Death Squad. Mae of Shuffle Union who lost weight, Marika of Trash Radio Manila who also lost a lot of weight, Glen Mod, Rhanny Torres of The Lost Boys and Ethnic Faces, Brownbeat All Stars fame graced the show, (Bing and I had a little chit chat with him and we urged Rhanny to regroup his band The Lost Boys because its about time to give the new generation a lesson on real music, which he politely considered our plea, Lets all hope that The Lost Boys and Skalawags will resurface soon keep your fingers crossed! These bands are the first ones who played ska here in Manila before Put3ska). The Kapangpangans - The Marcos Cronies Conspiracy arrived, The tandem of Kit and Dennis of Steady Movin' Beat came in, Big 5 Ben arrived drunk, Paulo Tae of PinkCow came in. The Young Instigators brought along the trusted agua de pataranta and a bottle of Sprite for good measure, Glen along with Rocket Punch arrived with their lovely ladies in tow. Albert along with Middle Finger Records head honcho Jon Fishbone came in and did an ambush set. Sy and axeman Rod doing the Tango Surf, Barrio Morning Glory of Paranaque City finished the event that day, and the unknown civilians who came in to drink, dine and dance with us all enjoyed the November edition of The Bing Austria Show.

Here are some of the pictures taken by Mr. Michael Alvin Gianan. My sincere apologies to Tsunami, Tsunami, I forgot that they are scheduled to play last Saturday night but i failed to line them up and put them on the bill.

From Top to Bottom: Waiting for the weekend offenders, The crowd, Skanking to the beat of the Cronies, Bing Austria with Kim joining The Young Instigators, Beers and Cheers from Paco Skinheads, Mae with Rocket Punch, Bing and Marlon duet, Rod twang and reverb! From left to right Anton of Rocket Punch, Photographer Michael, Skinhead, Ywren of The Marcos Cronies Conspiracy, Bing and A Boy Named Hil, The Mandalondon Crew with Bing Austria, Glen of Rocket Punch, Marlon of Usual Suspects (this photo courtesy of Marlon)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Everybody has heard many songs performed by the Funk Brothers. The vocalists may have changed, but whether it be Martha Reeves or Marvin Gaye, the band that was the true force of the Motown sound was the Funk Brothers. They are responsible for more number one hits than Elvis, the Beatles and the Beach Boys combined and Many of us grew up listening to the Funk Brothers and never even knew their name.

In 1959, Berry Gordy gathered the best musicians from Detroit's thriving jazz and blues scene to begin cutting songs for his new record company. Over a fourteen year period they were the heartbeat on "My Girl," "Bernadette," I Was Made to Love Her," and every other hit from Motown's Detroit era. With the tumultuous sixties as a backdrop, Motown's unsung heroes take the viewer on a compelling journey in time as they trace the evolution of "The Motown Sound" from its origins in Detroit to its demise in Los Angeles during the seventies. Through the eyes of the riveting characters who ruled Hitsville's studio by day and the club scene of Detroit by night, we enter a world of unparalleled soul and emotion as the Funk Brothers revisit the sites of their musical roots, triumphs, and eventual heartbreak.

For more than four decades, from the dance floors of the world, to the Detroit riots of 1967, to the war in Vietnam, the music the Funk Brothers created has played a major role in the cultural fabric of all of our lives. STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN finally puts some faces on that music and introduces these heroic musical figures to the world.


RESPECT YOURSELF: THE STAX RECORDS STORY chronicles the birth of Stax Records, soul music, and the “Memphis sound.” During a time when the United States was segregated and the struggle to end racial discrimination and extend civil rights to African Americans was raging, Stax was racially integrated and eventually became one of the most successful black-owned companies in the nation.

Started by a white banker and his sister, Estelle Axton, Stax. Founded in 1957 as Satellite Records, renamed in 1961 by blending the surnames of brother-sister co-founders Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton, Stax was Motown's funky Deep South counterpart. From its loose atmosphere came giants, including Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas and daughter Carla, Booker T and the MGs, Eddie Floyd, Sam & Dave, Albert King, Isaac Hayes, and the Bar-Kays. Recording in a converted movie theater, the earthy results were often as stunning and transcendent as anything from the equally loose Sun Records across town or Motown itself.

Monday, November 9, 2009


This coming Saturday Bisikleta Productions will be bringing back again THE BING AUSTRIA SHOW!. This month we will be showcasing a bunch of great bands from Ska, Mod, Punk, Skinhead Reggae, Soul and Surf Music. For a measly sum of 60 bucks you will get 1 ice cold beer and an earful of delights so be there! 12 bands 60 pesos. what more can you ask for? The show starts at 8 PM.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


On November 14, before The Bing Austria starts show proper, we are hosting auditions for bands to be part of the Bisikleta Productions roster. I had received sms messages for quite sometime and some emails asking me if they can play at Sazi's Bar. Sad to say most of the sampled emailed mp3s that i had received are not up to the standard of what this production is all about.

I am guessing some of the bands that emailed me did not quite understood the poster that i had posted here or is lazy to read that article. Anyway i will be setting up the guidelines , terms and definitions of the music that we wanted and what bands we are really looking for in this audition and here they are, PLEASE READ CAREFULLY AND UNDERSTAND WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO SAY HERE!


is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s,Ska combined elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. It is characterized by a walking bass line accented with rhythms on the upbeat.

What we are looking for:
2tone (The Specials, Madness, The Selecter) and Third Wave (Operation Ivy, Hepcat, Slackers)

ROCKSTEADY: A successor to Jamaican ska, and a precursor to reggae. rocksteady differs from ska musically as the tempo is slower and more relaxed. The bass is heavier and more prominent in the mix and in addition, the bass lines abandon the earlier "walking" style of the ska period in favor of more broken, syncopated figures. The ska-style back beat and the emphasis on the offbeat carried over into rocksteady.

What we are looking for:
Bands who are heavily influenced by Justin Hinds, Phyllis Dillon, Ken Boothe

REGGAE: The term reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that originated following on the development of ska and rocksteady. Reggae is based on a rhythmic style characterized by accents on the off-beat, known as the skank.

What we are looking for:
Skinhead Reggae (Toots and The Maytals, Symarip, Harry J All Stars) Dub (King Tubby, Lee "Scratch" Perry) Lovers Rock (Louisa Marks, Dennis Brown) Dancehall (Yellow Man, Saxon Sound System)

PUNK ROCK: is a rock genre with deliberately offensive lyrics expressing anger and social alienation that developed between 1974 and 1976. exemplified by the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, The Damned, and The Clash.

What we are looking for:
UK '77/'82 Style Punk (The Briefs, Clorox Girls, The Exploding Hearts) Streetpunk (Angelic Upstarts, Cock Sparrer, Sham 69) Hardcore (Bad Brains, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Dead Kennedys)

ROCKABILLY: A fusion of black music and country music that was popular in the 1950s; sometimes described as blues with a country beat the simplest way may be to describe it as picturing an exciting blend of the blues, country and gospel sounds of American music that were prevalent, up to the mid 1950's. Mix that in with the heavier beat that was becoming more and more a part of pop music of the day and the result was "rock 'n' roll."

What we are looking for:
Neo Rockabilly: (Boneville Barons, Carlos and The Bandidos) Psychobilly (Thee Exit Wounds, Batmobile)

MOD REVIVAL: Is a music that was influenced by 60' soul (stax and motown records) rhythm and blues mixed with the energy of punk rock.

What we are looking for:
Bands who are into The Fixations, Merton Parkas, The Lost 45's, The Jam.

POWER POP: A musical genre that draws its inspiration from 1960s British and American pop and rock music. It typically incorporates a combination of musical devices such as strong melodies, crisp vocal harmonies, economical arrangements, and prominent guitar riffs. Instrumental solos are usually kept to a minimum, and blues elements are largely downplayed. Recordings tend to display production values that lean toward compression and a forceful drum beat.

What we are looking for:
Bands who are into The Incredible Kidda Band, Paul Collins Beat,

SOUL: Soul music is a mixture of gospel, rhythm and blues and doo-wop merged resulting in a catchy rhythms, stressed by handclaps and extemporaneous body moves and powerful bass lines.

Soul music was, fundamentally, a consequence of rock music. The leadership went from the blacks (rhythm'n'blues) to the whites (rock'n'roll) back to the blacks (soul). Soul music was everything that rock music was: dance music, personal expression, teenage angst, political rebellion. Rock'n'roll had stolen the body (the sound) of rhythm'n'blues, and soul music stole the soul (the spirit) of rock'n'roll.

What we are looking for:
Bands who are heavily influenced by the sound of Motown, Stax and Northern Soul.

So there it is i already gave you some pointers to hold onto this is spoon feeding people! Use your head and do some research of your own and exercise the D.I.Y. ethic of punk rock.. And one more thing we do not accept bands who are on the bandwagon trend, because this is not a trend this is a lifestyle. See ya all on the 14th of November 6 in the evening sharp!

Please do email for screening and reservations. Send all the details to him (Band Profile Demo, Influences, Contact Numbers Etc.). We do not accept walk-in bands during the show proper.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


What is Rocksteady

Rocksteady is the direct predecessor of Jamaican Reggae. Rocksteady has sparse rhythmic accompaniment and a relaxed feel allowing the vocalist more expressive musical phrasing and greater lyrical freedom. All these elements were retained in Reggae.

What came before reggae music? Full points if you answered rocksteady.

Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae is a new documentary about Jamaican music in the 1960s. The film covers a brief period in that country's music, a period that became the platform upon which reggae was built and upon which careers like Bob Marley's were founded.

For various reasons (and they're not just musical) rocksteady is referred to as Jamaica's "Golden Age" of music. It was actually a golden age of sorts for the island itself.

The stars of the era, such as Dawn Penn and Stranger Cole, are reunited to create an album of their hit songs, and many of the musicians who gather talk about not having seen one another in 40 years. Cole narrates a portion of the movie, talking about the musicians' reunion in Kingston and about the past, describing the transition from ska to rocksteady music.

Along the way, the movie catches up with Hopeton Lewis, who recorded Take It Easy when he was 16; it's considered the first rocksteady song.

Then there's Marcia Griffiths, who still tours and who had a hit with The Tide Is High; Ken Boothe (Shanty Town); Leroy Sibbles, who had rocksteady hits with the Heptones; Judy Mowatt, one of Bob Marley's I-Threes (with Rita Marley and Marcia Griffiths), who sings Silent River Runs Deep; Dawn Penn, singing You Don't Love Me Anymore, No No No; and U-Roy, who describes himself as a "toaster" for his spoken vocals on Stop That Train. And he talks about toasters influencing American rap music.

These are among the many artists who gathered in Kingston to celebrate rocksteady music, who take part in the film and record their hits for the reunion album.

Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae uses archival footage from the 1960s and offers a brief recent history of the island. Jamaica gained independence from Great Britain in 1962, and according to the musicians in the movie, the early '60s were a peaceful and optimistic time, with plenty of economic opportunity. If rocksteady music is remembered with great fondness, it may be in part because the island was peaceful and fairly prosperous at the time, and, according to the movie, the sort of violence for which Kingston became infamous had not yet begun.

The musicians talk about the 1966 visit to Jamaica by Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia, about the outdoor theatres where they performed, about "Peter, Bunny and Bob," (Tosh; Wailer; Marley) and about the rude boys who eventually brought guns into Kingston.

Rita Marley remembers going into the garbage in Trenchtown as a child, hoping to find food or bubble gum. By the time she appears near the end of this documentary, Bob Marley has become the elephant in the room. Your ear is longing to hear his music, but that's the reggae that came later, circa 1970.

And this is a story about what came before.