My leather-bound "Ichabod Crane" journal and brass-ferrule dip pen with peacock feathers on top of my "Virginia Woolfe" writing tablet, replete with ink holder, vintage ink bottle--and rose cyclamen ink! The tablet was especially created for me by antique dealer and restorer Gerry Esposo, father of Lady, a former college student of mine.
2006 Book-Signing at Tiendesitas, Pasig City, sponsored by Anvil Publishing, Inc. Photo by fellow-writer and colleague Boy Martin. My writing "paraphernalia," as Boy calls them, from Left to Right: portable neo-classical mahogany campaign desk organizer with miniature drawers and shelves; paraffin oil lamp; silver seal ring; goose-feather quill pen; brass Italian monogram seal; tin box of sealing wax sticks, Sailor ink bottle with orange fountain pen ink; and portable campaign writing box; all on top of my green satin gypsy tablecloth embroidered with gold stars. I bring my own cloth because co-sponsors are alarmed whenever I spill sealing wax and fountain pen ink.

In this photo I am signing a book for Boy, wearing my signature antique "vampire" bat ring with a black star sapphire from Khabul. A fan is reading a volume from my Sitio Catacutan Series in the background. Yes, I do wear glasses when I read, write, and paint, but I can manage without distance glasses.

After signing this book Boy and I had a long conversation about our country's current political and economic situation, and how the efforts of our classmates Emman Lacaba, Bill Begg, and company, who were tortured and killed during the early martial law years, seem to have come to naught.

Monday, May 21, 2012

CCP stages 'Tatlong Tabing' of playwright Tony Perez CCP stages 'Tatlong Tabing' of playwright Tony Perez By IBARRA C. MATEO 09/29/2011 | 02:18 PM Playwright-painter Tony Perez, one of the 100 Filipino artists honored by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in the 1898-1998 Centennial Artists Awards, is smiling these days. Tanghalang Pilipino (TP), one of the country’s most prolific but exacting theater companies, is giving him a tribute rarely accorded to living artists: it is mounting “Tatlong Tabing: Three Plays by Tony Perez" from Sept. 30 to Oct. 23 for his contributions to the institution. Founded in 1987 as the CCP resident theater company, TP is mandated to promote Philippine dramatic arts that are rooted in local culture and history, yet sensitive to a modernizing society. “Tatlong Tabing" is part of TP’s offering for its silver anniversary theater season. It showcases Perez’s artistic growth and development as a playwright from the 1970s to the 1990s through the plays “Sierra Lakes," “Bombita," and “Nobyembre, Noong Akala Ko’y Mahal Kita." Fernando Josef, TP artistic director, said Perez and his contemporary playwrights notably Paul Dumol, Malou Jacob, the late Rene Villanueva, and the late Boy Noriega “have contributed tremendously to the success of Tanghalang Pilipino." He adds, “Like many great writers, Tony Perez is not given due recognition these days, especially by the youth. We are honoring these writers during our 25th anniversary season shows." The TP is also recognizing its resident professional actors and actresses under the Actors’ Company for their “artistry and great contribution" to the company’s success, he added. Along with the performances at the CCP Tanghalang Huseng Batute, paintings of Perez will also be exhibited at the CCP Little Theater Lobby. “Can you imagine if they did all of this after my death? I would not have witnessed everything," the 60-year old Perez said. A Cubao resident since 1955, Perez has been dissecting the Filipino psyche for more than three decades through his writings. With several volumes of published works, Perez’s plays incisively tackle adult themes like intense love, betrayal, separation, poverty, and hunger. “I don’t like pointless things," Perez said. “The reason why I write for people 30 and above is that a number of writers write for high school and college students so that their works will be canonized. What does this mean? So that the Department of Education will sell their works. This is very sad," he added. “The role of a playwright, for me, is to be a catalyst in society, to make people think and then take action. If you watch a play, the message may not hit you immediately, or prompt you to immediate action. But at least the message is there. Maybe it will hit you three years later. This is good enough for me," he added. “Sierra Lakes," written in the 1970s, is the earliest work in the retrospective. Directed by Tess Jamias, a former member of the TP Actors’ Company, the play stars Bodie Cruz, Adrienne Vergara, Rayna Reyes, Dan Jarden de Guzman, and Regina Vera. "Sierra Lakes" is the earliest work in the retrospective. “Sierra" is a tension-filled “usap-usapan" (dramatic conversation) that explores issues among four young people trapped in a complex tangle of love and desire. “I think of all the three plays, I have the least problem when it comes to the younger generation. Sierra Lakes is about young people, young college graduates falling in love and finding themselves in the world," Jamias said. “But I want to set the play in the 1970s when there were lesser distractions, no cellular phones, no laptops. I like the idea that the now generation will look at the characters as different. That they did not have cellular phones then," she said. “But they will also see that problems of the young people then are the same as theirs: finding themselves, finding each other, finding themselves in others, or trying to find themselves in others," Jamias said. Written in 1981 during the dark years of martial law, “Bombita" meanwhile is a black comedy that questions the blind obedience and subservient behavior of young military recruits and eventually reveals the pathetic emotional and intellectual incapacity of men in uniform. Dennis Marasigan, the director for “Bombita,’ said it was first staged at the CCP the same year the play won the grand prize in the CCP literary contest. "Bombita" is widely recognized as one of the most important works in the history of Philippine plays. Bombita, widely recognized as one of the most important works in the history of Philippine plays, will have many cast members who were not yet born during its premiere performance 30 years ago, said Marasigan. “The new cast’s first encounter with Bombita was when they read the encyclopedia of Philippine arts. They saw the photo of the original cast composed of Edgar Mortiz, Tommy Abuel, Spanky Manikan, Dindo Angeles, Jonathan Romulo, Tita Pambid, Rey Ventura, Pen Medina, and Soxy Topacio," said the former artistic director of TP. The cast members in the restaging of “Bombita" are Riki Benedicto, Jonathan Tadioan, Jelson Bay, Marco Viana, Gino Ramirez, Russell Legaspi, Martha Comia, Regina Vera, Acey Aguilar, and Anthony Falcon. Nobyembre cast with playwright Tony Perez and director Tuxs Rutaquio “We would like to take a look at this play under a society which is supposedly democratic. Under the current political situation, will Bombita have a new meaning or a new level of appreciation and understanding to its audience?" Marasigan wonders. The circa 1990s “Nobyembre, Noong Akala Ko’y Mahal Kita" is an in-depth psychological study of the absence of love in the relationships of an average, middle class Filipino male at the time. Directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio, the play stars Mayen Estanero, Majorie, Lorico, and Jonathan Tadioan. – YA, GMA News For more details, visit or call 832-3661/832-1125 local 1620/1621 All photos courtesy of Tanghalang Pilipino.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Tatlong Tabing: Three Plays by Tony Perez," Festival of Retrospective Plays by Tony Perez, Tanghalang Pilipino, Cultural Center of the Philippines, September 30 - October 23, 2011 Walter is typing...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Pagsubok Sa Ilang: Ika-Apat Na Mukha Ni Satanas": A Book Review by Alteo Falla

Pagsubok Sa Ilang: Ika-Apat Na Mukha Ni Satanas: A Book Review
By Mighty ⋅ March 14, 2010 ⋅ by Alteo Falla

Pagsubok sa Ilang: Ika-Apat na Mukha ni Satanas: A book Review
Author: Tony Perez
Publisher: Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2005

As intriguing as this book’s title is its unique interpretation of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness using Carl Jung’s Depth Psychology. It is written in Filipino by Tony Perez, former mentor of the Spirit Questors (a group that became popular in Philippine TV during the late 1990s till the early 2000s). The book’s content was derived from the author’s masteral thesis (M.A. Religious Studies) under the Adult Theological Education Program of the Maryhill Scool of Theology, New Manila, Quezon City.

We commend the author’s and the publisher’s noble intention of sharing with fellow Filipinos a work that marries the celestial heights of Theology with the innermost depths of Psychology. I must confess though that due to my limited background in both fields, I had difficulty in digesting the material. It’s not easy to read unless you are well-versed in Psychology and/or in Theology, but reading it is definitely worth the effort.

In this book, Tony Perez describes the “four faces” of Satan.

The first one is the perspective presented by Gerald Massadie based on his research of ancient religions, World mythologies and the Old Testament. Here Satan is viewed as a member of God’s heavenly council and as an ally, not an enemy of God.

The second is the perspective presented by Elaine Pagels based on Jewish history, Sociology, Social Psychology and the psychological defense mechanism called “projection.” Here Satan is perceived as the enemy of God and of God’s people.

The third is the theological point of view of biblical scholars. And the fourth, which is the main subject of the book, presents the perspective of Jungian Analytic Psychology. Here Satan is viewed as the Shadow, the disowned aspect of the complete Self.

According to Jungian psychology, in order to be whole we must learn to acknowledge and reintegrate our Shadow. The book briefly mentions some Shadow therapy techniques: journal writing, dream study,
creative writing, imaginative role playing, and creative painting or drawing. Depth psychologists say that when we are able to reintegrate our Shadow, we become more tolerant, understanding and forgiving of ourselves and of others. We develop a healthier sense of humor that enables us to laugh at ourselves more
and to see more of the funny side of life. Our creativity and vitality are also enhanced.

On the other hand, if we fail to integrate our Shadow, we tend to project its negative aspects on other people. We perceive in others the undesirable traits which we do not want to acknowldege within our own psyche. That person or group then becomes for us the devil incarnate whom we hate with such ferocity.

Tony Perez underscores the fact that this psychological defense mechanism of projection has contributed to wars, violence and discrimination in our society. He suggests that in order to heal these social diseases, we must also apply the biblical injunction “love your enemy” (Luke 6: 27) towards our Shadow. Jesus demonstrated this during the temptation in the wilderness. Jesus faced Satan (his own Shadow), he responded to him, and even enagaged him in witty dialog; but Jesus didn’t hurt, kill or worship him. Tony Perez suggests that we extend the same unconditional love to our Shadow.

It’s quite ironic that this book helps us gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and of Jesus Christ by throwing light on the obscure bible character named Satan. It would be good material for meditation and reflection during this Lenten season. I only wish that the author spent more time in expounding the process and methods of Shadow therapy, giving readers more concrete and practical suggestions on how to apply his thesis in their everyday lives.

For some people, reading this book might feel like penitence because of its heavy theological and psychological concepts, which the author attempted to explain in Filipino. Nonethelesss, Pagsubok sa Ilang: Ika-Apat na Mukha ni Satanas will surely help its readers to open minds, open hearts and open doors.

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Filed Under Bibliovore, book review, Pagsubok sa Ilang

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Volume by volume: collecting the works of Tony Perez" by Walter Ang, Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 12, 2010

Volume by volume: collecting the works of Tony Perez -;, Philippine News forFilipinos;

POETRY, FICTION, PLAYS and essays are all utilized in the arsenal of Tony Perez when he crafts his works. Though he is a prolific playwright and has written a slew of books in English and Filipino that deal with various topics, Perez is more popularly known for his output on esoterica and the paranormal.He has a series of books, which includes “Mga Panibagong Kulam,” that teaches readers how to cast spells. Another series chronicles the experiences of the Spirit Questors, a group of psychics that communicate with paranormal entities, which he formed in 1996.He also has five books set in Cubao, where he has lived since 1955. Perez was born in Pampanga in 1951 but relocated as a young child.“My father was a colonel and set down roots in this area (near Camp Crame) that was allotted for military officers who served in Korea,” he says.Perez started writing in grade school, encouraged by his teachers. “They told me I should be a writer when I grow up. As a young child, it sort of stuck to my mind. I did end up as a writer,” he says.Many interestsPerez notes that his own interest in esoteric activities such as magic, shamanism, psychic powers and dreamwork stems from the fact that Filipinos have a natural affinity for the mystical. A rich heritage of folklore and mythology, and a deep connection with religion, he observes, provides breeding ground for Filipinos to connect with the paranormal.His passion for spiritual matters led him to pursue a master’s degree in Religious Studies. His thesis “Pagsubok sa Ilang: Ikaapat na Mukha ni Satanas,” an analysis of how Satan is portrayed by theologians, won the 2005 National Book Award for Theology and Religion.Aside from writing, Perez is also involved in the visual arts. He’s worked as a graphic designer, illustrator, art therapist and fabric artist (by way of knitting). He also paints and has worked with different media from watercolor to Cray-pas. He was named one of the Thirteen Artists of the Philippines by the Cultural Center of the Philippines back in 1972.All these years, he’d been doing all of his writing, esoteric work and painting while working at his day job at the Public Affairs section of the United States Embassy.“I have to pay the bills,” he says. In addition, he used to teach in several universities while pursuing a (yet to be completed) master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. The extremely heavy workload took its toll and he suffered a mild stroke in 2005.Collected worksPerez no longer teaches.“I had to give something up!” he says emphatically. He now spends his free time organizing his files towards the completion of a 40-volume set of his collected works.Volumes 1, 3, 4 and 5 have already been published. “The volumes won’t come out in chronological order because I’m not a good archivist,” he says.Lovers of theater and drama will be pleased to know that the volumes already out contain his plays. Volume 1, “Pagkamulat Sa Kastilyo: Tatlong Dulang Pambata,” includes “Tolda,” “Kwentong Baboy” and “Tagbituin”; while Volume 3, “Hibik Ni Amang-Hari: Mga Unang Dula,” includes “Hoy Boyet,” “Gabun” and “Anak ng Araw.”In 2008, he won the National Book Award for Drama for Volume 4, “Tatlong Paglalakbay: Tatlong Mahabang Dula,” which includes the trilogy “Bombita,” “Biyaheng Timog” and “Sa North Diversion Road.”Volume 5, “Limos na Tinapay,” contains psychological case studies and some early prose.AdviceOffering advice to aspiring playwrights, Perez says, “Many playwrights today start out writing plays with the ultimate objective of becoming a screenwriter. You just cannot do it that way. The theater is a very special medium and you can’t write for it when you want to write eventually for another medium.”He mourns the lack of material dealing with adult themes.“My adult plays are for audiences 30 years old and above. They understand my subject matter because they’ve gone through intense love, death, separation, giving compassion, poverty, hunger, getting married, giving birth, burying someone,” he says. “Most playwrights now write for elementary or high-school audiences because that’s where the market is.”“Don’t be limited by the notion that to be nationalistic, you have to write only in Filipino,” he says. “The Filipino now is a global person with a global audience. Young writers should write in English for their voices to be heard.”Perez also encourages young playwrights to widen their scope. “They only think of single plays. They don’t develop plays in the magnitude of trilogies or even writing in series,” he says. “We Filipinos should think big.”Volume 2, “Pagbabaguntao Sa Berbanya: Limang Usap-usapan,” which includes “Alex Antiporda,” “Sierra Lakes,” “Biyernes, 4:00 N.H.,” “Sacraments of The Dead” and “The Wayside Café”; and Volume 9, “Huling Tanawin Sa Bundok Ng Tabor: Three Journey Plays,” which anthologizes “Bombita,” “Trip to The South” and “On The North Diversion Road,” was recently launched at the Thomas Aquinas Research Complex, University of Santo Tomas. Call 7313101 local 8252 or 8278.

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