Nothing's brought as much comfort to as many of us during these difficult times as the arts have. A book can do so much to help us lose track of the day and forget about all our worries for just a moment, as does a movie or a play opening up an entire world to us right in the safety of our bedrooms. Savage Minds, a Naga-based art gallery, bookstore, and cultural hub, knows the power that art and literature holds all too well. This, especially in this time, that it recently launched an online spoken-word poetry called called "Himati" with the Ateneo de Naga University Press.
Himati, Bikolano for "a deeper kind of listening and affection," invites its viewers to do exactly its translation with spoken-word poetry. With Bikolano celebrities reading poems Bikolano poets have penned, Himati aims to bring literature and poetry into people's lives even through these trying times —while also highlighting the culture and talent that one can find in the area.
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Himati's very first episode featured the Camarines Sur-born legend off the screen Jaime Fabregas, who read a poem in English called "Day on the Farm" by Luis Dato, one of the very first Filipino poets to write in English during the American occupation.
Fabregas was likely thinking of home in choosing these poems, as the titles of the Bikol poems that he chose may show: "Magarao" by Luis Cabalquinto, which talks about the poet's hometown; and "Pampang Kan Sakong Pagkamoot," by Marne Kilates, which, in English, means "The Only Shore I Seek."
Among the younger stars featured here, Enchong Dee, who was born in Naga, chose poems that were inspired by other works. For his first two appearances, Dee read a Bikol translation by Fr. Wilmer Tria of Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet." For his last episode, the actor-dancer-entrepreneur read "Philippines Mother and Child 1965" by Enrique Villasis, which takes its title from and describes a painting featured in the following video.
For their latest episode, Himati had TV and film actor Christian Bables on to read a poem about travelling and love called "Ang Dahilan Kung Bakit Nag-aaral Akong Magmaneho" by Kristian Cordero.
Himati is still an ongoing series, its lined up filled with celebrities and actors ready to bring literature out of the page and straight to everyone willing to listen. Follow Savage Minds and keep track of more episodes of Himati here.
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Banner image taken from the Youtube channel of Kristian Cordero.