Monday, February 10, 2014

EDII - Bamboo Purlins - Week 21

Only six weeks left until graduation.  We're shaping up and have made a lot of progress shrinking the gap in our construction schedule; from four weeks behind, to two weeks.  The biggest tasks on site are finalizing the bamboo truss and roof framing and securing all the joints.  The bamboo purlins are almost fully installed.  The structure is getting fastened with bamboo pegs, nylon, and non-slip epoxy at all the joints.  After this work is complete, we'll tie all the joints with ratan for additional strength and for aesthetics.  Other work include filling in the grout at the brick wall and welding and painting steel doors frames for the folding doors.

The shape of the building is taking form now that the bamboo purlins are getting installed over the roof trusses and beams.  It is common to see the kids at Core Shelter playing around the job site.  Some of the kids even mimic the workers like cutting up bamboo scraps with their dull knives or pretend knives made of sticks.

Four workers fitting and pegging the network of bamboo structure.  It's a bit dizzying to look at from this angle.... but once it's all in place and the temporary poles and scaffold are removed, it will have a more orderly appearance.

Joseph fills the joints with non-slip epoxy.  This will be covered with ratan.  Last week, Joseph was rushed to the Emergency Room when the electric hand saw slipped and cut through his left shoulder.  He is now recovering and doing light work while his shoulder heals.  We've been fortunate to only have one accident on our job.

Bamboo pegs marching up the roof purlins.

A worker dedicates his morning to making the bamboo pegs.

A close up photo of stripping and shaping the bamboo pegs.

Student leaders, Rhea and Leigh, stay behind the scenes and out from under the overhead bamboo work, to finish the ongoing grout work at the brick wall.

Daryl spends his day at the North Campus shop welding, cutting, and putting the first coats of primer paint on the steel folding door frames.  There are 18 total door frames on the project. - photos courtesy Hersley-Ven Casero

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Having Fun Fundraising

Over the course of the year, fundraising for Estudio Damgo program has been a large part of my role as a Project Manager.  Looking at our cost estimate last August 2013, it was evident that we needed to think seriously about securing funds for the construction which was fast approaching.  We had little roll over funds from the first project, which would be used up by permitting and site mobilization costs.  I took the initiative to get the local community involved by organizing an art walk and a benefit concert to bring more awareness and local support to our program.

ARTWalk: Art for a Cause: November 14, 2013

Teaming up with the Fine Arts Department, Hersley Casero and I (as the HA experiment) organized a 7 venue exhibit in Dumaguate City featuring 34 artists and over 120 artworks.  This was the largest show of its kind in the city.  The show launched on November 14, 2013 at Captain Ribbers.  The art walk, was organized similar to other artist communities, like Seattle's "First Thursday's" and Minneapolis's "Art Crawl".  The ARTWalk: Art for a Cause was a great success!  For those who participated, many wanted to know when the next art walk was going to take place.  Over fifty people attended the launch party and walked to several of the venues to view the works.  The exhibit was up for two months at most venues.  We raised over P30,000 altogether and a portion of those funds were donated to Estudio Damgo construction costs. But most of all, we raised the bar in Dumaguete's local arts scene and the awareness for the Estudio Damgo program.  

Thanks to all the supporting venues, contributing artists, supporting patrons, and art enthusiasts!

Participating Venues: The Bean Connection (two locations), Cafe Memento, Captain Ribbers, Cafe Mamia, Kri Restaurant, and SG Bank.

Special thanks to Mark Reygan Garcia and Captain Ribbers for hosting the launch party, and for the positive encouragement at the conception of this ambitious show.

Thank you Ian Rosales Casocot for the blog review, entitled "A Map for an Art Tour

Read a student's reaction, called "An Artwalker's Perspective".  I share in his vision of "Dumaguete as the Artwalking city of the Philippines"! (for those who don't have facebook)

An Artwalker's Perspective - by Basilianesk Sisneros (November 18, 2013 | 8:07pm)

Throughout My life I've never wanted anything more than scribbling doodles on worn-out paper and putting colors on anything white, Ive always been an artist from the very beginning, hell I might have been making art long before I was born (shocker!) anyway I've recently joined a "revolution" and an innovation at the same time here in my hometown, Dumaguete and its called "ARTWALK" it's an art exhibit for a cause to raise awareness that having art around is COOL and helping others at the same time through having a charity event as well... and frankly I freakin' love it, I mean there's so much too see! a myriad of artists, majority of which I've never even know em' in person...

As a budding artist this is a great achievement! not only I can help people of those in need, I also get to showcase my artworks to people of my hometown. It's amazing to see other works as well just like this one.

Put yourself as the paintbrush, and color the world.

I wanted to see more of this the future, and hopefully when it does Dumaguete will be known as the city of "artwalking".

Watch this video interview with Hersley Casero and myself discussing the art walk. Artwalk for a Cause
Launch Party at Captain Ribbers, one of 7 venues hosting the ARTWalk exhibit.

ARTWalk participants and artists going between art venues. Pictured:  Anna Koosmann, Benzi Florendo, Anna Lacson, Hans deBarres, Emmy Lou (Empalz), and David Teves.

Chao Bacong receives a Balloon series painting from Anna Koosmann for being the first local donor for Estudio Damgo Multipurpose Hall.

Anna Koosmann and Hersley-Ven Casero pictured with Australian patrons.  For the first ten people to buy artwork at the ARTWalk, they receive a Balloon series painting by me.

 Crowding KRI restaurant to view the House Project paintings organized by Hersley-Ven Casero.

I sold my first artwork, the House Project - Pagka-Pinay series, to a couple in Manila. The painting is a scene of a father and daughter in a window of one of the homes at Core Shelter site where the new Multipurpose Hall is built.  Pictured: Arlene Delloso-Uypitching, Anna Koosmann, Luna and Sir Inocian. - Photo by Hersley-Ven Casero

At Captain Ribbers, Hersley and I of the HA experiment sell two abstract artworks from our collaboration Stay series.

A Benefit Concert on the Green: December 14, 2013

Estudio Damgo's Benefit Concert was one of the largest shows put on by Foundation University in many years.  The concert featured 7 local musicians, with HOPIA Band as the headliner.  The concert served as an opportunity for HOPIA to launch their first self-titled album while also raising funds for the Multipurpose Hall.  Among the musicians were four dance troupes that performed between bands.  It was a night of continuous entertainment from all types of music genres, dance numbers, fire dancing, and fireworks display, all in the spirit of giving back to community.  During the show, we collectively held a one-minute-of silence to reflect on recent calamities from Bohol's earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan.  We were able to raise about 1/3 of our construction costs from the benefit concert.  As the saying goes, "it's more fun in the Philippines"!

Thanks to all the organizers to make this remarkable show happen, as smoothly as possible.
To the student body and the FU Deans making it possible to meet our funding goals!

Thanks to contributing, local musicians: HOPIA Band, Ground Zero, Xaris, Jay Squad, the Transformers, Nicky Dumapit and Company, and Sir Babbu.

If there's one thing I've learned about putting on a concert in the Philippines, there must be dance troupes and token prizes!  And if possible fireworks! - We made it all happen that night.

Nicky Dumapit and Company open the concert with a 1 minute of silence to send collective prayers to those suffering or at loss from the recent calamities.

All girl band, Xaris, sent chills through the crowd with their all girl power punk sound.

Many raffles were offered during the concert, including venues supporting the ARTWalk: coupons from Cafe' Memento, Kri, and the Bean Connection.  Also prizes from an outdoor store called Habagat, and to trump it all, an IPad mini from Foundation University's president.

 A surprise performance by Prime Machine primed the crowd for the remarkable fireworks display.

   It's more fun in the Philippines!  FU students and concert goers cheer on the performers.

 Using an IPad, a fan shows their support for the HOPIA band.

 HOPIA launching their first self-titled album at the Benefit Concert on the Green.

FU's own faculty member of the Fine Arts Department, Sir Babbu, performs.

A fire dancer completes the experience; a night full of great local music and performers giving back to community in so many ways!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

When Disaster Strikes

The Philippines took some hard hits last year, starting with an abrupt earthquake that ripped through Bohol's fishing villages and historic cities.  Bohol Island is famous for the Chocolate Hills. Tarsier monkeys (the smallest primate on the planet), and some of the oldest cathedrals in the Philippines.  Several old, stone churches (dating back to the 16 c.) couldn't withstand the tremendous forces, were left to a pile of rubble after the quake.  Also, Cebu Island, just west of Bohol, was affected by the tremors.  Several buildings were shaken to the ground including; two hospitals and the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino.   Serious damages incurred on the Central Vasayan Islands will take years to rebuild.   Currently, the Philippines government and national cultural agencies are prioritizing the reconstruction and restoration for these national treasures.  Also, Habitat for Humanity has partnered with local organizations to build 4,000 homes in Bohol fishing villages and surrounding areas that were deeply affected by the earthquake.

Church of San Pedro Apostle in Loboc, Bohol badly damaged facade.  Photo courtesy Robert Michael Poole on

Church of San Pedro Apostle in Loboc, Bohol bell tower is now just a stump among the rubble.  Photo courtesy Robert Michael Poole on

Bohol Earthquake - October 15, 2013


This is what I felt:

I woke up to a train sound rumbling through the house. I quickly realized it was an earthquake. I immediately jumped out'a bed, woke up Hersley exclaiming 'earthquake, earthquake!', and ran outside in my pj's to safely greet my neighbors.  Learning later that day, a 7.2 Earthquake hit an island north of Dumaguete and sent rippling shocks to my bed that AM, registering at a 5.  There were aftershocks felt throughout the day coupled with a brown out.  Thankfully, no one I knew was hurt and Dumaguete City was standing strong and little damage to speak of.

Aftershocks continued weeks after the initial quake, keeping us all alert and on our toes.  The one thing I noticed throughout the whole ordeal, was how tired and disoriented I felt.  When mother earth's plates slip under your feet, it's an unsteady feeling, at the very least.  I imagine so much excess energy being released from the molten earth below and wonder what kind of deeper affect that has on my mind, body, and spirit.  It takes a while to settle back into feeling grounded and trust that the earth is solid under my feet.  Now, when I hear that distinct sound of rumbling like a train, my senses perk.  I wait to see if what I heard, or if the slight shake of a table or chair, is a beginning tremor to another serious quake.

Typhoon Yolanda - November 12, 2013

Not a month had passed and another national disaster made international headlines as the strongest typhoon to occur on the earth ever recorded.  High speed winds over 250 mph categorized this storm as Super Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda), struck the Central Vasayan Philippine Islands mid-day on November 12, 2013.  National weather alerts were announced days before, preparing everyone about the intensity and pathway of the storm.  Dumaguete City was part of the storm pathway, so we made sure that we had enough food, water, candles, and other necessities for three days as we didn't know what to expect.

When the storm finally did strike; the sky turned dark, the winds gathered and blew the bamboo flat to the ground, in large gusts, for the entire day.  It was the strongest windstorm in my life.  Having been raised in the Midwest, and a witness to a number of tornado and straight-line wind damages, I felt the Super Typhoon storm to be more intense.  Winds sounded like heavy trucks on the roof like a super highway.  There was so much debris, vegetation and scrap material both, flying about and crashing into other inanimate objects, which made it unsafe to be outside.  Unknowing if the roof was going to stay fastened, we just hunkered down in one room for the duration of the storm. But with all that uncertainty, Dumaguete City was spared unlike the tragedies on the islands Northeast of Negros.

Leyte, Tacloban City, and the surrounding areas were completely flattened from the high winds and flooded from the large waves brought by the storm.  It was reported that over 6,000 people lost their lives from Super Typhoon Haiyan.  I suspect fatalities, over the last months, have risen due to hunger, dehydration, infection and disease, and lack of shelter. Relief operations and immediate responders like, Red Cross and United Nations Humanitarian Aid, continue to stabilize, construct temporary bunkhouses, and clear the debris.  Although, due to the recent 'tropical depression', there has been much flooding and 1,400 temporary shelters have been damaged, leaving evacuation centers at risk, requiring relocation of displaced survivors and impairing progress (Sunstar News - February 1, 2014).  The Department of Social Welfare has reported around 26,000 displaced evacuees come from 'no-build' zones, which means the areas are prone to flooding.  The humanitarian agencies are partnering with local authorities to develop standards, shelter design, and beneficiary selection (Sunstar News - January 22, 2014).

This is a lot to chew for the people of the Philippines.  After the storm, Foundation University's Broadcasting crew and video/photo journalists lead a team of four to report the aftermath from Typhoon Haiyan.  You can view their ten minute video here: Yolanda Aftermath.  Below, are photos from their trip (courtesy of Markymark Besario).  Several times I have heard, from those returning from the disaster areas, that Filipinos still manage to find humor and smile through it all.