The March 14 rally proved to be interesting not just because of the numbers and the sectors who were present. It was also a musical/cultural experience of sorts for the protest movement against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
There was no Jun Lozada in the last rally since he was speaking in Bacolod and Iloilo. The expected presence of Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo didn’t materialize as he was believed to be suffering from some pulmonary infection.
But then, there were the youth. Coming from various schools and communities, they showed up for this “huling hirit” just before the Lenten break. They provided energy that day.
There were also a good number of urban poor from various Manila communities who held their version of “Kalbaryo”, carrying wooden crosses symbolizing the burdens of the people.
Those who attended the rally included bishops and religious leaders from various faiths. There were the Concerned Citizens Movement dresssed in green, former secretary Josie Lichauco, Manay Gina de Venecia, Manay Ichu Maceda, Joey de Venecia, former NEDA chief Felipe Medalla, Grace Poe-Lamanzares, partylist representatives, and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim.
There were also very interesting performances that day.
Peter Parker again took the stage for his anti-corruption rap. However, the real rap superstar that day was Gloc 9. The “Simpleng Tao” from Binangonan, Rizal just finished his exams in Nursing school when he performed to tracks on stage, Sumayaw Ka and Lando.
For me, the most interesting and surprising performance came from Music Front and their vocalist Arnold Morales. They sang two songs from the old 80’s punk group Urban Bandits. I first listened to them from my classmates in sixth grade. I did not know it was them until I heard the familiar intro to “Nagpapansin” and when they started singing “Lumilindol na naman….” . They ended their performance with the punk battlecry “No Future sa Pader”. Morales and company are contemporaries of punk group The Wuds who are frequent guests during protest action. This is was the first time though that Morales and friends were invited to perform at an anti-Arroyo protest action that we organized. I did hear one story that Rivermaya (with Rico Blanco) wanted to do a remake of Nagpapapansin and No Future sa Pader for their Isang Dugo album but sadly this did not push through. It would have bridged the previous generation of punk rockers with today’s generation, proving that “punk’s not dead”.
Datu’s Tribe gave a solid performance and I particularly liked their second song. This is their third time to perform. Salamat ng marami!
The Jerks got the young audience on their feet when they finished their set with the Dylan Thomas-inspired “Rage”. This is also their third time to perform.
Jess Santiago gave a powerful performance of an anti-corruption folk song I think was entitled “Salot”.
There were interesting performances too from UP Repertory though I think they tend to overdo the “soundtrack” of their tula-dula and that this becomes too distracting.
The Dulaang UP “war dance” was something you don’t see often at rallies.
The PUP Pep Squad was a refreshing sight.
Nanding Josef’s reading of Palanca-winner Joi Barrios’ poem “Nunal” was entertaining as it was sharp.
The DLSU students should be congratulated too for providing important support for the program. Same goes with Youth ACT NOW!
We hope to see new acts for future activities. I remember in 2000 and 2001, Slapshock and Radioactive Sago would perform in Mendiola. Fatal Posporos also would rock at the foot of Chino Roces Bridge (their vocalist is now with Cambio).
This is truly a great time to rock and roar for truth, accountability and change.