PechaKucha Manila (and other stories)

My adventures of a loner are back!

The first time I read about Pecha Kucha, I was like, “Pecha what?” So I did some research and found out some interesting facts about this gathering.

PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. The presentation format was devised by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham architecture. The first PechaKucha Night was held in Tokyo in their gallery/lounge/bar/club/creative kitchen, SuperDeluxe, in February, 2003. Klein Dytham architecture still organize and support the global PechaKucha Night network and organize PechaKucha Night Tokyo. With PechaKucha Nights now happening in over 900 cities around the world, we have discovered that most cities — not just Tokyo — have virtually no public spaces where people can show and share their work in a relaxed way. If you have just graduated from college and finished your first project in the real world, where can you show it? It probably won’t get into a magazine, and you don’t have enough photos for a gallery show or a lecture, but PechaKucha is the perfect platform to show and share your work. (via www.PechaKucha.org)

I went to the 6th run of Pecha Kucha in Manila at A Space last May 5 and despite being alone with strangers, I had a really good time. It was fun and insightful to listen to the diverse stories of different folks with varied backgrounds.

Commercial: I’ve been craving for kebab for about two weeks and that night, before proceeding to A Space, I had a quick dinner at Persia Grill which was conveniently located about two minutes away from A Space. The kebab was much yummier in my mind, but my meal wasn’t bad. I guess it was just a classic case of expectations vs. reality. Hehe.

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Reading Richard Russo’s Empire Falls while waiting for my order
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Chelo Kebab! Ugh the craving has returned.

Okay, back to Pecha Kucha!

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Fun fact: Pecha Kucha is actually Japanese for chit-chat. So basically the whole concept of the event is just the speakers sharing bits and pieces of themselves and their work. In hindsight, I realized the format doesn’t allow for a two-way chit-chat because the audience don’t get to ask questions until after all the speakers are done. I left right after but there was some kind of socials where everyone gathered round and talked with each other, including the speakers.

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Official event poster

I was in full “student mode” that night so I brought out my notebook and jotted down notes while listening to the speakers. I’m glad I did because then now I can share them with all of you (even though only about 3 people read this blog). Hahaha. Half-kidding.

The 20×20 format took about 6 and half minutes per speaker and I think it was just the ideal amount of time because, coupled with the dynamic images, you really get to keep the audience’s attention span.

Opening the night was Basti Artadi of the rock band Wolfgang.

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“With bitter struggle is sweeter reward.”

Basti presented images of his musical influences and recited a short poem he wrote about them and their role in his life and art.

And then came Engr. Aisa Mijano.

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“It’s not a product, it’s a social movement.”

Engr. Mijano, together with her brother (who was too shy to come up on stage hehe), invented SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting) Lamp with the primary goal of helping underprivileged students in far-flung provinces. She showed photos of their journey up north in her presentation.

Russell Vergara of VG Graphics

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“Di kailangan lagi mag-make sense. Gumawa ka lang nang gumawa.”

His intro was my favorite: “Paki-lower lang yung expectations.” Haha. But in fairness to him, he delivered an engaging, if somewhat irreverent, presentation. He shared his journey from being a dropout student from several universities here and abroad, to establishing his own multimedia company.

Cristina Grisar

Cristina Grisar

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“Abandoning myself to my work was the way to find myself.”

She was sitting next to me and I didn’t even know until she stood up that she was one of the speakers. Nahiya ako nang slight. Hehe. Her boyfriend/husband was super supportive and I loved seeing the proud look he had on his face the whole time Cristina was talking about her creative pursuits starting with when she was a “lost child” until now that she has found herself through art.

JP Deloso

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I just have to say, I think his “description” is vague and too pa-cool for my taste. Haha.
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“Be proactive. Don’t wait for life to happen to you.”

JP’s Lucky 13 presentation featured the 13 people that made the biggest impact in his life and helped him shape him into the man he is now. I also liked the point he shared about how creation happens twice: First is in the mind, and second is when what used to be an idea is already a manifestation.

After JP, there was a 10-minute “beer break.” I wasn’t in the mood to drink beer that night so I just had coffee. Hehe.

Celina Le Neindre

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“The people that feed you should be earning more.”

Celine is a staunch advocate of farmers’ welfare, organic food, and healthy eating. She said she is deeply saddened by the fact that instant noodles cost much cheaper than organic carrots, which is way healthier, symbolizing the discrepancy between accessibility and nutrition when it comes to food. Oh, and she gave away free organic carrots to the audience! “Feel free to grab one, I washed them myself.” By the end of her presentation, lots of people were munching on carrots and a bunch of kids had to hide their Lays chips but not without attracting the attention of the host. Haha. Also, how cute is A Carrot Epiphany as a title, right? Her closing words: “Choose carrots, not ramen.”

Jen Horn

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“Living more by making room for less.”

There’s something liberating about purging – whether emotionally or physically. Luckily for Jen, she was able to do both after her 10-month bakcpacking trip across Asia. “It all seems very ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, I know.”

Henry Muños

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“The holy grail: The Philippines where every child, regardless of background, gets an education.”

Filipino-French Henry’s battle cry is simple yet true: Education is the solution. Edukasyon.ph is like a hub of all college and university brochures where one can choose a school and have Edukasyon.ph help them with finding a scholarship. I dare say it’s like a matchmaking website for learning.

After Pecha Kucha, I went straight to Ayala Triangle and caught a bit of the spoken poetry event organized by The Book Stop Project. I didn’t stay to finish all the performances but of those I caught, some were okay, some had unique metaphors, and some were a chuckle-inducing.

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The Book Stop Project stayed for 2 weeks at Ayala Triangle and I was able to visit once with my friend Red. My only regret was not being able to donate some books. Its next stop will be at Intramuros starting May 14 and though it may be a long shot, I hope I can pass by and donate some of my books.

What a night Pecha Kucha has been. Definitely a recharging experience for me and my yuppie self. Hehe. Until the next adventures of a loner!

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