No wishful thinking needed

Bel Certeza invited me to a blog cycle marking the third anniversary of the death of Alexis and Nica. The topic of “wishful thinking for Philippine music” is what was proposed.

However, I decided to go a little bit beyond the assigned topic for tonight. I am also not too fond of naming names. So here is what I have to offer for today.


I wish that writing about the arts would not just be a public relations exercise, in the pejorative sense of the term.

I wish that the upcoming Manila Review would have a comprehensive arts section.

I wish more people had an idea of what our public cultural institutions are and what they are meant to do.

I wish the government spoke quite a bit more about the arts outside of National Arts Month.

I wish that the State would be honest enough to say that they won’t support the arts in whatever form.

I mourn that people are celebrating fluctuating auction prices more than they should.

I wish the public cultural institutions in this country would move on from the “glory days” of Seventies and the Nineties, respectively.

I wish public cultural institutions would get their act together and set an example for all of us.

I wish that the private sector really cared about the creative industries and gave them room to transform ossified fields like advertising.

I wish that private owners of visual art understand that art is ultimately public.

I wish private patrons of the arts draw less attention to themselves than to the arts they support.

I wish people in the arts would re-read the Social Realist Manifesto of 1976 (drafted by Pablo Baen Santos and others) and understand that in some way it still speaks prophetically.

I mourn a government that does not educate our children to create and think for themselves.

I mourn a society that silences its prophets.

I wish faith communities discourage philistinism by being patrons of creative and artistic excellence–like they used to do. (Think AMDG.)

I wish that we accept our cosmopolitan past and present, and see it as a way of keeping nationalism in check.

While we’re at it, I wish we had more nationalists and less ideologues.

I wish we really understood both our indigenous and non-indigenous myths and stories so we could understand where we are going.

I wish we had a public media which aimed to challenge everyone’s assumptions about creative expression and to be a space for new voices.

I wish we built new networks of artists that are catalysts for change in whatever contexts they are in.

I wish we give new voices a chance to express themselves in whatever artistic sphere and help them find the space to do it.

I mourn that what Dr Melba Maggay said about our communicative culture in the book Pahiwatig has not been properly understood as a diagnosis of something that needs some change.

I wish we could talk straight without harming our relationships.

I wish the broadsheets and online news sites disengaged arts and culture from lifestyle.

I wish everyone involved in the arts all the best in creating, critiquing, managing, and enjoying. It has been a nice journey so far, but I definitely wish that things should be better.


I believe in the resurrection. So when someone says that something passes away, I am sure it will be transformed into something beyond even our wishful thinking.

God help us if we fail to see that.


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