Tag Archives: Aiza Seguerra

Isang Lahi: A docu-drama that defines happiness

By NICKIE WANG/ Manila Standard Today

palawan-hopping-01As if the popularity and influence of the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne is not enough to draw positive vive, a group of young documentarians made an effort to create a moving documentary-drama that would bring hope to the country and to its people who feel desperate to find the meaning of true happiness.

“What makes you happy?” was the last question directed to the cast and makers of the film Isang Lahi: Pearls from the Orient, during its recent press conference held at MyCinema, Greenbelt 3.

What the press got were generic answers like: love makes me happy; the balance of the four elements (love, success, health, and wealth) makes me happy; beautiful things make me happy; family makes me happy; and the oh-so-usual answer: “Knowing that people around me are happy and contended. That makes me happy.”

Isang Lahi: Pearls from the Orient is a digital feature that espouses the principle of “law of attraction” or the theory that posits “like attracts like,” or just like what Byrne’s book says: “The law uses people, circumstances and events to magnetize what you want to you, and magnetize you to it.”

The docu-drama cum travelogue is about a group of five documentarists (Ruel Ruiz, JP Tanchanco, Ayee Domingo, Zoilo Barrel and Naethan Lucero) backpacking all over the Philippines seeking the answer to happiness. Their journey is recapitulated   into four different real stories they found from different regions. The four mini-movies are highlighted by the infectious acting flair of veteran actors Joel Torre, Mark Gil, Juan Rodrigo, and Aiza Seguerra.

The feature is divided into three parts. The first part is an upbeat MTV-style take on tourism showcasing Filipinos and the authentically beautiful places they live. The second part unravels inspiring stories Tanchanco, the video’s director and producer, and the team gathered through their six-moth journey throughout the country. Finally, the last part of the documentary features renowned Filipino experts who have empowered by their research, advocacy, embodiment, and endorsement in the fields of love, health, wealth, and success. These Filipino “icons” share their wisdom and insights attesting the power of the principles the film supports. The icons are as follows:

Olympic medalist Bea Lucero, chef and restaurateur Gene Gonzalez, sociologist Josephine Aguilar-Placido, motivational speakers Jhet Torcelino Van Ruyven, Lourdes Elardo-Gant, Severino Reyes and Alex Lacson, television personalities Cory Quirino and Boy Abunda, psychologist Margarita Holmes, parapsychologist Jaime Licauco,  environmentalist and empowerment coach Josef Franklin Regis, homeopathic physician Corazon Ibarra, entrepreneurs Claire Villanueva, Edelwina Lema Beech and Elias delos Santos,   prosperity guru George Sison, spiritual caregiver Mary Fidelis Estrada, and psychic and fortune teller Madam Rosa.

Budding video director JP Tanchanco

Budding video director JP Tanchanco

“We are students of empowerment principles; we decided to do the [sic] film as a way of practicing the principles and to know paano siya naisasabuhay ng mga Pilipino all around the Philippines,” budding video director Tanchanco explained.

The six-month jaunt of the team challenged their patience and passion as they travel in the most rural places in the Philippines just to find real stories from real people. Whether rich or impoverished, the team inquired and examined their conditions, concepts and mental attitudes on the four elements the movie promotes.

“The challenge there is that we only had two to three days to find at least four stories in each region. Apparently, that’s the only time we would ask tricycle drivers and other people from different walks of life. For the drama, we are talking four different places in the Philippines, from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao,” Tanchanco furthered.

As to the originality of the feature, the promising director asserted that it’s completely different from the The Secret that became an overnight phenomenon in the US. Though undeniably that Isang Lahi is delivered just like the Hollywood produced film (most particularly the third part of the film where the team interviewed local ‘icon’ experts), Tanchanco assured that it (the movie) is original on its part.

“Are we ready to face criticism that it is not original? Yes,” raved Tanchanco. “It is original on its part but the law of attraction, the principle is as old as time. What we are doing here is seeing how it applies on the lives of the Filipinos. It is a different way of presenting it [the principle] and applying it most especially that we have really good icon experts. It is very different from the way it’s explained in The Secret; very simple and maiintindihan ng masang Pilipino. Ginawa namin ito para sa mga Pinoy.”

The video features contemporized ethnical Filipino ditties like Naglalakbay by Bayang Barrios. Also part of the soundtrack is Dodjie Simon classic Isang Dugo, Isang Lahi, Isang Musika, covered by balladeer Bimbo Cerudo.

Isang Lahi is supported by the National Commission for Culture and Arts and will be screened for various organizations and institutions in different parts of the country. It is set to go on international showing on Jan. 15, being an official submission to the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

Transformation and musical journeys

By Nickie Wang

We always think that a new album coming from artists who had produced exceptional records and anthemic tracks would always equal their previous works. The pressure to maintain or at least live up to the expectations of the public is a tough task for Aiza Seguerra and Yeng Constantino. Smash hits “Pagdating ng Panahon” and “Hawak Kamay,” by Seguerra and Constantino, respectively, both paved the way for the artists who make guitar-oriented musical compositions. We can still recall how these records created an LSS (last song syndrome) among young people.

Inspired melody

Aiza Seguerra is no longer the child star we know. Her appeal as a child sensation lost its sheen during the latter part of the ’90s. But in 2001, she made a phenomenal comeback via “Pagdating ng Panahon.” This album etched an indelible mark on the local music scene, and for some reason, became her ticket to openly discuss her sexuality.

The unprecedented success of Aiza’s now quintuple platinum- selling album, gave her a new-found fame, but was she able to maintain the popularity?

With “Para Lang Sa ‘Yo,” her album inspired by Judy Ann Santos’ series Ysabella where she also starred in, the listening public was again moved by her angelic voice that never tries hard to impress. Even the most discriminating ears will agree that less voice is more conducive to listening than those records of artists that screech with vocal gymnastics.

“Para Lang Sa ’Yo,” which is also the title of the promotional track, has a romantic theme that both men and women could relate to. “Sana Di Puro Lang Sana” furthers the emotion conveyed by the previous track, but what really serves as an extension of the first song in the album is “Sa ’Yo Lamang.” Whether intentionally or not, this has the same story conveyed in “Para Lang Sa ’Yo.”

“Walang Sayang” is the irony of the track title, this is one of the songs that will bore the listeners, the other one is “Kasama.” The first doesn’t offer something special aside from the fact that it looks like it was taken from a karaoke’s more than a decade-old playlist.

“Kasama” is lyrically poor, high school students can write better lyric.

For first-time listeners who would play the whole album from start to finish, “Persistent Rain” will not disappoint them. The timing is right for the rainy season but whether the rain pours or not, this track will appeal to anyone who is on the verge of letting go and in the first phase of moving on.

“Mahagkan Kang Muli” and “Huwag Mong Iiwan Ang Puso” are the best tracks in the album not because Nyoy Volante and Ogie Alcasid are the respective brilliant composers who shared their talents to complete this project. “Mahagkan…” is a love note written with very simple words yet expresses a deeper meaning. Ogie’s “Huwag Mong…” is a song with a stronger impact as it communicates the emotion of an honest heart.

Aiza made two revivals in the album. Her rendition of “I’ll Be There” is actually better than the original. The message of the song is more felt with easy and soft vocal. That is actually the effect when the attention of the listeners is focused on the message of the song and not to the vocal dynamics. The other cover that is really worth mentioning is “Bakit Ako Mahihiya.” Reliving this Didith Reyes’ classic is Aiza’s affirmation of her sexuality. She gave it a new flavor, a contemporary touch that didn’t fail to give the song a new life.

The album tells a story, a love story everyone could relate. However, the sales of “Para Lang Sa ’Yo” can tell that Aiza failed to equal the success of her previous project. With a new album underway, we can say that she matures only enough to keep her audience from listening to her music.

The big dreamer

Young and sensational! Yeng Constantino made waves with her anthemic “Hawak Kamay,” the single that became more popular than her name. It’s part of her debut album released in 2006 after winning the ABS-CBN reality show Pinoy Dream Academy.

She is touted as one of the most poetic artists in the field of music writing. Considering her age, she was able to write songs that stirred the emotions of her contemporaries and even the older ones. With Journey, her latest offering, Big Dreamer Yeng tries to prove that she is becoming a mature artist.

“Di Na Ganun” opens the 12-track album that hinges on the definition of local pop-rock genre. With this track, Yeng initially shows her authentic talent. She establishes her sound then attracts the listeners with her writing flair. She will entertain you with her playful yet assuring “Ikaw Lang Talaga” before she slows down with a friendship song. “Promise” is different from the other tracks in the album. It is slow-paced and different from the usual sound we hear from Yeng.

Infectious with its positive outlook, “Pili Ka Lang” will affect the emotion of the listeners of the next song with strong conviction “Tao Lang Ako.”

What is noticeable about Yeng with her compositions is that she doesn’t try hard to sound perfect for the pop-rock genre. There are people who would argue that she doesn’t have a perfect voice to be a diva but she utilizes her talent in creating materials that soothe her vocal style. “What About Us,” “If You Go” and “Why Can’t You” are perfect examples for that. But it is not all praises for her. “Tala” and “Bakit Nga” should have been excluded in the album. She could rearrange them, add new flavor, and include them to the next album that she will have. Not that they don’t sound good but while listening to them, the only move the listeners would want to do is to skip and move on to the next track. Same thing goes with her cover of Asin’s “Himig Ng Pag-ibig.” One of the risks in doing revivals, most especially if the song is a big classic, the artist must equal what the song did before; otherwise, it will only sound like an ugly distortion.

The last track in the album is “Habambuhay.” This one is so outstanding that people wouldn’t mind hearing it over and over again (sad to say, Yeng didn’t write this song).

Generally, most of the songs made good impressions. The guitar is so polished that people would really think Yeng is a genius, but actually she plays with the help of her band Morning Glory.

She may have evolved as a mature artist but examining her sound and image, she just looks and sounds like a foreign lady rocker. Wonder who she is? Visit Youtube and check out the most viewed video of all time.