Celebrating Leyte in the post-‘Yolanda’ era

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AN artwork depicting the activities that are going to happen during the two-day festival.

Best known for directing music videos, commercials and indie films like Bang Bang Alley and Tumbler with an edgy twist, it’s not surprising that King Palisoc likes to be involved in other entertainment projects that are anything but ordinary.

So, when his wife, Kay Veloso and her friends organized the Ginsiyaman Music Festival in 2015 as a send-off party to foreign volunteers in relief efforts for Typhoon “Yolanda” in her hometown in Tacloban City, both King and Kay thought about a follow-up event.

“We wanted to continue the narrative of celebrating Leyte, but with a bigger vision — which is to promote the local creative talent of the region and provide global access to its products,” Palisoc told this writer.

Now with the help of the Philippines Foundation and One Love Reggae and Ska Festival UK, the Ginsiyaman Music Festival is presenting “For The Love of Leyte,” a two-day music festival featuring local and international performers scheduled from 30 November to 1 December at The Farm at Ginsiyaman, San Miguel, Leyte.

KING and Kay Palisoc.

A non-profit and benefit two-day music and arts festival to increase economic growth of Leyte’s creative industries and rural artisans in the post-Yolanda era, the event features sought after OPM acts like Ben&Ben, Itchyworms, Bullet Dumas, Reese Lansangan and Ang Bandang Shirley, among others sharing the stage with foreign artists Kiko Bun and Digital Danboi from the UK, Free The Robots from the US and Babani Records from Mauritius.

Other Manila- and Leyte-based attractions are La Loba Negra, Hernandez Brothers, Tom’s Story, Conscious & the Goodness, Irie Sunday, Rob Mananquil, 76 Receipts, Kulahig, LSR, Lady Suzette, Maroon & Gold, Succubus, The Guerillas, Aurora, KRNK, Specs, Tom Turner and Bruder.

“We really wanted to make a music festival that’s primarily for the Eastern Visayas market, but can also be marketed globally. With the Leyte residents in mind, we wanted to make sure they don’t fall short on the musical experience. Hence, our lineup that boasts local (Manila and Leyte) and international talents. For the non-Leyte attendees, we wanted to give them a unique festival experience — one that’s set in a sprawling farm with rice fields and mountains as backdrops in the event grounds,” King further elaborated.

Ginsiyaman artisans at work.

In coming up with the festival’s lineup of performers, King admits that many of them, particularly Ben&Ben and the Itchyworms, are personal favorites of himself and his wife.
“Most of the bands from Manila are our favorites actually, but we also sounded off friends in Tacloban who we thought would be great to include in the lineup. Bullet Dumas, who was born and raised in Palo, Leyte and Ang Bandang Shirley are returning artists from the Ginsiyaman festival,” he noted.

“At the same time, we made sure the local bands in Leyte are represented well, through acts like Lady Suzette and Kulahig. We also got help from One Love UK through our partner Matt Porta by also providing foreign acts who were willing to be part of the festival. We have artists from the UK (Kiko Bun), Mauritius (Babani Records) and the US (Free The Robots), among other foreign DJs that have joined the festival.”

For “The Love of Leyte,” however, is more than just a music festival. In addition to the performances, there will also be workshops on tuba painting, banig weaving and local pottery.

“What’s also unique about our two-day event is its own pop-up weekend market called Tabo-An Ha Ginsiyaman (or the market in Ginsiyaman), which will feature products from Leyte and Region 8 from artworks to woven bags and accessories and local delicacies,” King added.

For attendees coming from Metro Manila and other distant places, King and Kay are encouraging them to camp in the farm during the festival.

BOUND to be colorful and festive, the festival will feature arts and crafts by the locals.

“We also have limited tents for rent/sale. Those who don’t want to camp can also stay in Tacloban City through our partner hotels, Hotel Alejandro and Hotel Lorenza. There will be shuttle transportation from Tacloban to the farm,” he assured.

Asked if the festival will henceforth be an annual affair, King certainly hopes so.

“If all goes well, we do want to do it every year, with the similar intention of providing sustainable economic growth to the local artisan communities in Leyte. In fact, there are permanent structures already being built on the farm like the stage and toilets for the future festivals,” he further revealed.

Tickets for “For The Love of Leyte” are now available at Yellow Doors Hostel, Hotel Alejandro, Colabr8, Hotel Lorenza in Tacloban City, The Farm at Ginsiyaman in San Miguel and at Agimat, Alamat and 20:20 in Metro Manila and on mynila.com.

For more information, log on to www.fortheloveofleyte.org.

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