John Sayles' AMIGO and A Moment in the Sun out at last.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Our Talisay Family

You have met Sophia. This is her mother Clarissa. Clarissa and her mother Tessie are the caretakers of the Post House, and we are spoiled by their care.
Clarissa and I are shopping together. The fruits that look like big olives are ciruelas, like a kind of plum when they are a ripe maroon.
The yellow balls behind are lanzones and they are divine. The season for them is long:we've been eating them by the kilo since March, during the shoot. Like lychees, maybe. You break open  the peel and eat little perfumed sections that are almost clear. Avoid the bitter pit.
It's fun to shop with Clarissa. She's in charge.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Who says print isn't dead? Dave Eggers, of course

From all appearances, he’s out to push the boundaries of publishing, but “I’m actually quite a traditionalist,” he says. At McSweeney’s, the self-declared offbeat independent press Eggers founded, “We’re trying to make the business model rational, scalable, reasonable,” he says with a shrug.

By adopting a "how-hard-can-it-be" attitude, McSweeney’s has tackled projects that other publishers won't touch, like its acquisition of John Sayles' most recent (rather hefty) novel. “Thirteen hundred pages of Sayles! Can you imagine!” said Eggers, burrowing his fists into his temples, googly-eyed at the prospect of so much quality writing. 

It’s this undiminished excitement that makes Eggers innovative. At a time when most major publishers are enveloped in doom and gloom, Eggers’ faith in the power of the printed word sets him apart.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Our playmate

This is Sophia. She is the granddaughter of Tessie and the daughter of Clarissa, our wonderful maids at Talisay House. Sophia keeps us all entertained, and she will miss Plummy so much when she heads back to New York tomorrow after three weeks with us here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Good Friday procession

Driving home in Dieter's multi-cab from our trip to Mag-Aso Falls, we were stopped many times by processions like this one, here in Maribojoc.  "When you find yourself in the place just right..."

And we saw BARYO/AMIGO friends, JP Jagnos (ELOY) outside the church in Antequera where throngs awaited the start of mass (and me in my wet bathing suit hiding in the back of the multi-cab) and Mimi Ventures in her BARYO T-shirt, watching the procession from Alaguay.
Every church and every neighborhood organizes a procession and we drove through them till dark, watching people along the way light candles in their windows and doors to welcome the processions as they came by.
Thanks for an unforgettable ride, Dieter.

Good Friday preparations, continued

As we wandered around Bohol that day, Galia and Alan and I saw more and more of these images, in churches and even in people's gardens and driveways. Here is Veronica without her wig at the Tagbilaran cathedral, and wigged in Dauis. The sad Christ is from Tagbilaran too.

Good Friday preparations

How lucky we were to be here in the Philippines for Holy Week. I have been looking for the sort of creative popular expression I admired in Mexico for the celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and finally I found it. These statues are thoughtfully dressed and all the flowers are real. These are from the Dauis church on Panglao, readied for the Good Friday procession.

The tarsier

Bohol is one of the few remaining habitats of the tarsier, the tiny, tiny primate. It looks like Yoda and George Lucas must have known about it when he made STAR WARS II. If you are lucky enough to come to Bohol, visit them in the Tarsier Sanctuary and NOT in the roadside cage. They are impossibly cute and very quiet. And hard to photograph, so google "Tarsier" for a better picture.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Two spots not to be missed

While Gags and Mario went to the helot (traditional healer) in Dauis, Als and I went with Dieter and Bee and some dogs to play in beautiful water. Here is Bee, a true water baby, at Mag-Aso Falls, with Als up to his neck in admiration. There is a great drop of falls but my photos were bad, so you'll have to see for yourself.

Below is Inambacan Falls, which gushes from the ground. The water there has the freshness of a New England cold springs, but NOT AS COLD. It isn't that everything is better in the Philippines, but it's darn good. Why don't more Americans travel here?

We came, we snorkelled, we shopped

Below are two of the women from the Cabilao weavers cooperative. We found it by chance, on a tip from one of the caretakers at La Estrella where we stayed.
We shopped. Here's Plummy with Gags and our loot.

Visitors from our side of the world

These two characters are known to many of you followers, Gags and Als from Australia. They came to us for 10 great days. Lots of cards (I "gave the party"), lots of massages (one every 3 days, I think) and fun in the sun. Here we are on Cabilao Island, a great place for snorkelling and being with dear friends.

El mundo es un panuelo

That's what they say in Mexico and it's true here too: the world is the size of a handkerchief. It's no surprise, I guess, that our landlord Ben Udtohan knows Mario's Dad. Of course. Mario has family from Panglao, and Ben went with one of them to visit relations in Siquijor, where of course they hung out with Mario's Dad, who is from Siquijor.
We are happy in Sir Ben's house.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Catching up

I am SO back on line. I finally got in touch with our fantastic UPM Rolly Palmes the other day, and that reminded me I had this photo of mostly men in Black. I love to think of those T-shirts spreading out around the Philippines. Rolly is second from the left. You know the big white guy in back.

Talisay Beach

Talisay Beach is where we live and this is a Talisay, its leaves changing color and dropping during the Dry. The Dry was very dry this year, with only two days of rain during our six weeks of shooting, and it was made more severe with El Nino. The weather changed about a week ago and now we have a heavy shower at least once a day. Most of the time we get a good breeze from the water and then sometimes it's very still and we feel the heat. The humidity is not as bad as I have experienced at, say, the Jersey shore, or even during July at home in New York State.

Home Improvement

The ref is important. A beach house has to have ice. But no advance has been more satisfying than this one, a king-size mosquito net to cover our king-size bad. Our local seamstress Timmy made it for me from two smaller ones. It fits the bed perfectly and the celing is 5 feet high. It's like a club house. NO BUGS ALLOWED. I'm bringing the net home.

The Ref

Everywhere else I have been the ref is a referee and the fridge is the refrigerator is a fridge. Here fridge is ref and we are on our third one. What is the history of a ref that can only be opened by Authorized Persons? The first one never got cold. The second one was worse. This one didn't make ice and dripped into pans to catch the streams. Open the door:full of metal pans.
Two repair guys came and expanded the door seal and now we have ice and no drip pans.
Our life here is now perfect. M

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Novel News

Fantastic news: John Sayles' new novel A MOMENT IN THE SUN, has found a home. Dave Eggers cool publishing house, McSweeney's, and Eggers will be John's editor. Anthony Arnove is John's happy, hardworking agent, and many thanks go to him.

This is the big book John wrote when we were on the road promoting Honeydripper. The novel is set around 1900 in the US, Cuba, and the Philippines. Formerly called SOME TIME IN THE SUN,  John retitled it from a quote from W.E.B. Dubois which goes something like, "After the Civil War the Negro spent a moment in the sun, but then was dragged back into slavery". There is a parallel to the Filipino fight for independence, and that is what John explores in his new movie BARYO/AMIGO.The characters and story of the film are not part of the book, but they come from the copious research John did for the book.

Read below, please, to see it in print! 

"Film director John Sayles finally has book deal for long historical novel about Philippines," Los Angeles Times, April 13, 2010,0,1717080.story

Which is a follow-up to this article last year:
"John Sayles, novelist, seeks a binding agreement," Los Angeles Times, May 26, 2009

Some things are worth waiting for. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Some Reading Links

Follow the links to film articles:

"Sayles Pitch for RP," Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 7, 2010

"Filming for Baryo Movie in Bohol Done," The Bohol Chronicle, March 14, 2010

And here are some interesting historic photos and references to the Philippine-American War and the island of Bohol:

George Percival Scriven: An American in Bohol, The Philippines, 1899-1901
An Online Archival Collection, Special Collections Library, Duke University

Saturday, April 10, 2010

This IS My Beautiful House

At least till the end of May, this is the Post House. Mario, John and I live here while they edit the movie. We have lots of company and room for many to sleep. The bamboo furniture inside and outside the house is from the set. The house is breezy and the mosquitoes are under control. We feel lucky to have landed here in a quiet neighborhood, an easy tricycle or multi-cab ride into Tagbilaran, and a short swim to our own houseboat.
Beats workin'.

A Room with a view...

-and internet. Location, location, location- and wireless internet. We have been in Post Production for one month exactly, in a wonderful house in Bohol. WITHOUT INTERNET. Now we are hooked up, I'm back on skype, back on email, back on the blog.
This photo is taken from the verandah outside our second floor bedroom. That is the big island of Cebu in the distance.