The long weekend checklist: things to read, watch, and listen to

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Here’s a roundup of stories you should read, music you should listen to, and things to watch this long holiday break. Photo by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — In the temporary respite from work that comes with the Holy Week, here are few of our stories that may help you relax, unwind, or simply reflect in observance of the season.


Film: Rescuing the lost heritage of Philippine cinema, by Don Jaucian

“Restoring a film is capturing history in itself, for visual language is more than just pretty pictures on the screen; it tells the story of our nation. And in the absence of film heritage, a nation suffers and forgets.”

Watch the restored film classics on iTunes.

precolonial faith lead.jpg Illustration by JL JAVIER

Spirituality: Looking for Jesus in ‘bahag’: A primer on our pre-colonial faith, by Kabel Mishka Ligot

“Christianity in the Philippines is no carbon copy of its Western progenitors: it is rife with signs of folk and traditional vigor. The same can be said as well for the vibrant variations of Islam practiced in the country. However, in the attempts to visualize the pristine past, we often dismiss these ruptures as mere superstitions or quirky misbeliefs instead of the subversive sites that they are.”

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Music: Listen to Ang Bandang Shirley’s “Favorite,” the best local album of the year so far (story by Alex Almario)

“You can hear the confidence of ‘Favorite,’ not just in the occasional electronic flourishes that dovetail perfectly to their already dreamlike music (making them sound like The Postal Service, Pia Fraus, and Prefab Sprout — foreign artists who’ve always shared their melodic flair). It’s also in how, despite the many turns they make, they never veer away from their signature Shirley sound: that youthful sheen that never fades, never ages. It’s unmistakable in the breezy indie pop of ‘Maginhawa,’ the trippy electro-pop of ‘Relihiyoso,’ the blips-and-bloops-inflected pop rock of the title track ‘Favorite,’ and in how they somehow seamlessly transition into each other.”

“Favorite” is available on iTunes and

Ana Maria Rafael-Banaag Photo by JL JAVIER

Politics: The women of Duterte’s Malacañang, by Claire Jiao

“The fight for gender equality is a fight for all women. Not women most like you or women most likely to succeed or women least likely to cause trouble. Women empowerment is not an individual sport but a relay race — it’s not a victory until the very last member crosses the line.”

It’s an interesting time to be working for the government, regardless of one’s gender. Read more about other government officials working for the Duterte administration.

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Health: Why the Philippines might run out of contraceptives by 2018, by Regine Cabato

“While some women chase the reproductive clock, time chases others. In places like Tondo, women have all the time in the world to reproduce children, but not enough to raise them or provide for them — especially now that contraceptives are inching towards a possibly permanent, national expiry.”

Women Writers on Women Writers Illustration by CARINA SANTOS

Required reading: 5 Filipina writers on Filipina writers they love

In celebration of Women’s Month, CNN Philippines Life asked women writers — their genres ranging from romance to horror to poetry — to recommend important works of Filipina authors that they feel need to be read more widely and by more people.


Celebrity: Kris Aquino’s latest obsession, her kikay kit, and what it says about her, by Carina Santos

“Even without all of her high-end makeup, and the Prada bag, and her personal makeup artist, Jonathan, in some ways, we all become Kris Aquino: the Kris Aquino who needs to tailor her outward appearance to reflect the image she wants to project, the Kris Aquino who relies on the ‘correct’ kind of makeup to book successful gigs, the Kris Aquino who doesn’t wear red lipstick because someone in her life told her it made her look slutty. ‘How much makeup is too much makeup?’ seems to be the question with an elusive answer. But with the women’s liberation movement, and the recent reclaiming of beauty ideals, and the apparent rise of feminism, it feels wrong to even be asking it.”

Watch more “Heart to Heart with Kris” on her official Facebook page.

sj-portrait-3.jpg Photo by JL JAVIER

Fashion: The fairytale fantasies of fashion designer Sassa Jimenez, by Chica Villarta

“In a post-digital landscape where designers no longer hold monopoly on influence, street style is no longer at the mercy of runway arbiters — in fact, designers have lately been wont to cull ideas off what they see on the street, undergoing reinvention after reinvention in the name of keeping up. Jimenez, however, focuses headstrong towards the aesthetic she knows best, churning out expertly-created fairytale silhouettes collection after collection while the rest try to keep up with hot street trends. It's not stagnation, it's strategy.”

Take a peek behind the scenes of Bench Fashion Week and read about Martin Bautista, another designer who combines the aesthetics of fashion and and the mysticism of astrology.

love songs tape

Music: The 25 best Filipino love songs of the last 25 years

“Gone are the days when I could hear a Filipino love song out in the wild. Whatever poured out of a passing jeepney once leaked, tinnily, from my officemate’s headphones. Now the only karaoke machine that can fire up 'Bakit Pa?' is in my aunts’ living room, and I’m never there. Yet I find that I’m never in tune unless I’m singing in Filipino. After reading the list of songs below, I made a playlist of all 25 of them, but I found myself listening to it sparingly. Couldn’t bear to put it on in company, or to play it for anyone else. Couldn’t translate Sugarfree lyrics, couldn’t explain the concept of tadhana. For once, defenseless. In listening to songs that almost every Filipino knows by heart, I feel more alone than ever. That’s my hugot.” (Petra Magno)

Listen to the Spotify playlist here.

blinddate1.jpg Photo by SAMANTHA LEE

Travel: When a blind date becomes performance art, by Samantha Lee

“In another world, I would have let her lead me into the dance. I would have let every movement, every pull to guide me into what I was supposed to be doing. I wouldn’t have cared if there was an audience. I wouldn’t have been distracted by the smell of curry cooking. I would have been the kind of person that would so willingly take part in a performance art piece in front of strangers in a foreign city. I would have let the art been a proper reflection of the self I thought I was.”

David De Candia - Tea Workshop - Tea Cupping Photo by CARINA SANTOS

Food: The secrets of a perfect cup of tea, from a world-renowned tea master, by Carina Santos

“Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s David De Candia drinks an average of about 25 cups of tea a day. He believes that with the community integration of tea, improvement and wellness will follow. The caffeine in tea, for example, affects people differently from the caffeine in coffee. Rather than the physiological effect of caffeine from coffee, caffeine in tea affects us neurologically, which De Candia explains is the reason why coming down from a caffeine kick from coffee can often feel like burning down, but coming down from one from tea sometimes feels relaxing and meditative, helping even with one’s focus.”

political literature - lead.jpg Illustration by CARINA SANTOS

Literature: The value of literary resistance in a world of ‘alternative facts,’ by Aldrin Calimlim

“Here in the Philippines, we have our own populist demagogue to reckon with, complete with his own brand of language and own band of lackeys that tap into the fear and discontent of the masses to advance his questionable policies, both foreign and domestic. Here, President Rodrigo Duterte and his staunchest supporters have all but made people oblivious to facts and figures by omission and distraction (e.g. fake news and incitements to anger apparently propagated by troll centers) and reduced the slaughter of human lives to little more than an anodyne initialism (i.e., EJK). Political language is indeed, as George Orwell reminds us, ‘designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.’”

The parting shot: How to read more books.