Wednesday, May 10, 2006

"The Carmelite Code"

SEVERAL years before the publication of Dan Brown's thriller “The Da Vinci Code,” a group of nuns at the Carmelite Monastery in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines put up a mysterious sign that was never decoded. The sign showed an arrow that some Biblical archaeologists believed pointed to an underground vault that possibly contained the Holy Grail. The sign no longer exists today. Posing as cryptologist is Elson Elizaga. (Photo by CLARA MARIE ASUNCION Q. GONZALES ELIZAGA)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sorry for the inconvenience...

THE YSALINA Bridge, also known as Carmen Bridge in Cagayan de Oro City will not be fully passable until next month because it will undergo a major facelift, reads a signboard placed near city hall. The City has started to experience worst traffic starting Sunday. (Photo by Cagayan de Oro Journal)

Cardinal eyes legal suit vs 'The Da Vinci Code'

IN the latest Vatican broadside against "The Da Vinci Code," a leading cardinal says Christians should respond to the book and film with legal action because both offend Christ and the Church he founded.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Nigerian who was considered a candidate for pope last year, made his strong comments in a documentary called "The Da Vinci Code-A Masterful Deception."

Arinze's appeal came some 10 days after another Vatican cardinal called for a boycott of the film. Both cardinals asserted that other religions would never stand for offences against their beliefs and that Christians should get tough.

"Christians must not just sit back and say it is enough for us to forgive and to forget," Arinze said in the documentary made by Rome film maker Mario Biasetti for Rome Reports, a Catholic film agency specializing in religious affairs.

"Sometimes it is our duty to do something practical. So it is not I who will tell all Christians what to do but some know legal means which can be taken in order to get the other person to respect the rights of others," Arinze said.

"This is one of the fundamental human rights: that we should be respected, our religious beliefs respected, and our founder Jesus Christ respected," he said, without elaborating on what legal means he had in mind.

A transcript of the documentary, due to be screened in Rome later this month just before the release of the film version of the best-selling book at the Cannes Film Festival, was made available to Reuters.

The book, written by Dan Brown, has sold more than 40 million copies.

The novel is an international murder mystery centered on attempts to uncover a secret about the life of Christ that a clandestine society has tried to protect for centuries.

The central tenet of the book is that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children.


"Those who blaspheme Christ and get away with it are exploiting the Christian readiness to forgive and to love even those who insult us. There are some other religions which if you insult their founder they will not be just talking. They will make it painfully clear to you," Arinze said.

This appeared to be a reference to protests by Muslims around the world over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

Last month, another broadside against "The Da Vinci Code" was launched by Archbishop Angelo Amato, the number two official in the Vatican doctrinal office which was headed by Pope Benedict until his election last year.

Amato urged a boycott of the film and Arinze, like his fellow cardinal, also blasted the credibility of the book.

"'The Da Vinci Code' presents (Christianity) wrongly ... any film produced on the basis of that book is already in error from the word go, no matter how interesting it might appear," Arinze said.

Catholic group Opus Dei has told Sony Pictures that putting a disclaimer on the movie stressing it is a work of fiction would be a welcome show of respect toward the Church.

In the novel and film, Opus Dei is characterized as the latest in a series of secretive groups that worked over the centuries to obscure truths about Jesus Christ.

Opus Dei is a controversial conservative Church group whose members are mostly non-clerics and are urged to seek holiness in their everyday professional jobs and lives. It has rejected criticisms that it is secretive and elitist.

The movie, which is being released by Sony Pictures division Columbia Pictures, stars Tom Hanks. Sony Pictures is the media wing of Japanese electronics giant Sony Corp.
(Vatican News)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Calls vs. Da Vinci useless: Advincula

COUNCILOR Reynaldo Advincula has shattered all hopes that the city council would reconsider its position on the upcoming showing of the controversial The Da Vinci Code in the city.

Advincula said calls made by the local Roman Catholic archdiocese and the Protestant-run Pilgrim Christian College for city hall to ban the film version of Dan Brown’s book were ‘‘useless.’’

“Granting that the city council reconsidered it (stand), can anyone stop the flow of pirated copies of the film into the city?” asked Advincula.

He said the issue now is on how authorities could prevent minors from buying the film’s pirated copies.

“The minors could have it for only P25 per copy. Even an ‘R-18’ rating would not bar minors seeing it,” said Advincula, adding that he has already bought a pirated copy of the controversial film at a public market.

He said the controversy sparked by the book and the film would make it easier for vendors to sell pirated copies.

“The Da Vinci is now the talk of the town... and it’s going to sell like ukay-ukay (used clothing),” Advincula said.

The responsibility, he said, now lies in the hands of citizens. He said parents should guide their children.
He also said law enforcers should use the law on piracy and seize pirated copies of the film.

Last Monday, the city council passed a resolution urging the movie and television Reguilatory and Complaints Board (MTRCB) to give the controversial film, The Da Vinci Code an "R" rating.

Councilor Ian Mark Nacaya has criticised the council saying he wanted the film banned in the city. He abstained from voting.

"I really wanted to help those who are appealing for reconsideration but I can't because of the parliamentary rules," said Nacaya.

Like Advincula, Nacaya said authorities should launch a crackdown on vendors selling pirated copies of the Da Vinci.

A Cogon public market vendor, Theresa Torres, said the Da Vinci Code is now available in pirated DVD copies and is being sold from P70 to P100 each. The pirated DVD includes three other films.

Torres said pirated copies were bought in large numbers and these were sold out in just two weeks.

Oro Quilter again wins kudos for RP in Int'l Quilt Show

(The author is a former chief of reporters/correspondents of ABS CBN Cagayan de Oro and a former manager of ABS CBN based in Iligan City. He contributes a twice weekly column "Hammer and Anvil" to the Mindanao Gold Star Daily newspaper, the largest community newspaper in Mindanao Mondays and Fridays. He is a member of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club, Inc. and has been a journalist for over 20 years covering the entire Northern Mindanao including in the cities of Marawi, Zamboanga and Cotabato in the Philippines.)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY - (Mike Baños) A MULTI-AWARDED quilter from Gusa, Cagayan de Oro held high the Philippine flag by winning first prize in her category at the 2006 AQS Quilt Show & Contest held April 26-29, 2006 at the Paducah Expo Center in Paducah, Kentucky, U.S.A. which was dominated by entries from the U.S. and Japan.

Myrl Lehman Tapungot's entry, "Mystic Beauty II", won first prize in the Bed Quilts Category Group - Mettler(r) Imported by A&E, Inc. Second was Sagacious Sisters by Sagacious Sisters, Marysville, WA while third was Flower Symphony by Aki Ueda of Aichi, Japan.

Quilters from around the world, gathered as part of the 22nd Annual AQS Quilt Show & Contest Awards Presentation held Tuesday, April 25th at the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center, Paducah, Kentucky and webcast live on Quilters News Network. All 429 quilts were displayed at the annual quilt exhibition which brings over 35,000 quilters, collectors, enthusiasts and vendors to Paducah each spring, and has earned it the moniker "Quilt City USA."

Tapungot joined 428 other quilters in the annual contest. Now in its 22nd year, the competition offered $114,000 in total prize money. Her "Mystic Beauty II" quilt measures 89 inches wide by 89 inches long, and represents hundreds of hours of work. It will be featured in the Fall 2006 issue of American Quilter magazine, which will be in homes and on newsstand in early June, said the magazine’s executive editor Christine N. Brown in an email to Tapungot.

"We have been around for many years, and we have been winning awards for quite a while. We compete in the "group quilt" category, and as you might imagine it is harder for group quilts to compete with other quilts because they are done by several different hands, therefore different stitches," Tapungot wrote in a statement posted in her website

"But in order to offer large works to the general "quilt loving" public, we have to do our quilts as a group/team effort. Some of our quilts can easily take over a year of dedicated effort to complete. We pride ourselves in making quilts with near perfect, identical stitches, and even experts using magnifying glasses find it difficult or impossible to tell the difference"

"Mystic Beauty II" was chosen as a semi-finalist from a field of 806 quilts and compete against others within its category (Bed Quilts) . Three quilting authorities judged the elite group prior to the opening of the show. "Sedona Rose" by Sharon Schamber was awarded Best of Show and garnered the Hancock's of Paducah Best of Show award and a cash prize of $20,000. In addition, the quilt will become part of the permanent collection in the Museum of the American Quilter's Society.

AQS president, Meredith Schroeder said quilts are no longer relegated to serving as mere bed covers but have evolved into works of art, using fabric and thread as the medium. The quilts in this year's contest are from around the world and feature beautiful palettes of color. Entries arrived from 46 U.S. states and 12 other countries, including France, Israel, Korea and Australia.

There were fifteen categories in the judged contest and a special category for young quilters. The quilts include bed-size, large and small wall quilts and miniatures. Designs range from traditional Log Cabin, Mariner's Compass and New York Beauty to innovative designs using paint, threads and original designs.

Tapungot stressed that while she designs and directly supervises all the work done on her award winning quilts, it is a collective effort by M. Dean's House of Design, a small family business that started in 1984 in their residence at Villa Ernesto Subdivision in Gusa, Cagayan de Oro City.

"We employ some 150 handicraft people in the making of our beautiful quilts, all done by hand, to achieve that special look that can't be duplicated by any machine." Tapungot stressed. " This is a long, intricate process, because we do some of the finest stitching in the world. However, for maximum strength and accurate alignment, all of our piecing is done by machine."

As can be surmised from a multi-awarded craftsman, there is pride in their work, too. "We guarantee all of our quilts 100% ," Tapungot asserts with confidence. "If for any reason, you are not satisfied with the quilt you ordered, we will fix it, and if it can't be fixed, we will either replace it or cheerfully refund your money."

Although almost all of her quilters did not have any previous experience in quilting, M. Dean's established a family tradition among the quilters she employs who sometimes have three generations of their kin quilting together the award-winning designs in their homes.

"Many of our quilters' main source of income is farming, and quilting provides a valuable source of supplemental income between planting and harvesting," Tapungot explained. "Most of the quilting is done in the traditional way, in the employee's individual homes, providing scores of families in our area additional income and stability. This also affords the homemakers a chance to earn income while caring for their homes and families."

Tapungot is not bothered by the country's lack of a tradition in quilting, which was pioneered in Cagayan de Oro by another Filipino quilter from Carmen, Ellen K. Delgado and the Oro House of Patches.

"We have set up shop here off the beaten track and have grown independent of what is going on with the rest of the Quilt world. We offer original designs and methods few have the means or skill to do. We think you will agree that our Trapunto MAGIC is a complete departure from other more traditional Trapunto Quilting. We make lovely three (3) dimensional Quilts that will please the eye, the hand, as well as the heart. "

Tapungot and M. Dean's House of Design have won many awards over the years, the most significant of which include "Le Mariage d' Eryn", 1st Place in the Group Quilt category at the Houston International Quilt Festival held Nov 4-7, 2004 ("An amazing Trapunto quilt inspired by my lovely granddaughter and the hope that one day I will be there to see her wedding); " Enchanted Doorway II", 1st Place and Judges Choice award, Group Quilt Category, International Quilt Association's Quilt Festival at Houston, Texas held Oct. 21-24 1999; which again won 2nd Place, Group Quilt Category at the 17th Annual Quilt Show and Contest of the American Quilter's Society, Paducah, Kentucky, April 25-28, 2001;

“A Touch of the Heart” 2nd Place, Group Quilt Category (86"x110"), American Quilters Society held April, 1999 at Paducah, Kentucky (“A blend of Trapunto quilting using colored yarn, embroidery, and silk ribbon embroidery. 10 people worked on this quilt entirely by hand for 7 months!”); “Baltimore Album”, 1st Place Viewers Choice Award, 3rd Annual Quilt Show held in Mt. Angel Brewery, Mt. Angel, Oregon, February , 1999 ; “Rosie's Wedding”, 2nd Place, Group Quilt Category from the Houston International Quilt Festival held November 1996; and again 2nd Place, 3rd Annual Quilt Show in Mt. Angel Brewery, Mt. Angel, Oregon on February, 1999; “My Garden of Dreams”, GINGHER AWARD for "Excellence in hand Workmanship", Viewers' Choice Award, American Quilt Society in Paducah, Kentucky, awarded a $10, 000.00 dollar prize in April 1997 and now exhibited in the American Quilters Society Quilt Museum; “L' Art de Aimer”, 2nd Place, Group Quilt Category, Houston international Quilt Festival, November 1995, 85" x 105" (featured in an article: "Quilts: A World of Beauty" Journal of the International Quilt Association); "Purple Lilac Bouquet", 1st Place, Quilting in the Teton's Trapunto Category Viewers Choice Award 1993;

“Small Myomi”, 1st Place, Lampasas Quilt Extravaganza, Lampasas, Texas; "Texas Star", 1st Place, CPQG, Texas, appliqué wall hanging in 1993; and the multi-awarded “Rose Lilac Bouquet”, 1st place and Viewers Choice Award, Misty Mountain Quilters Guild, August 1993; 1st place , Wall Hangings 36" or less category, 22nd Annual Northwest Quilters Guild, March 1997; 1st place, Okefenokee Quilt Fest Ware CO Chapter, Georgia, Council on Child Abuse, 1992 and 1st place, Lane County Fair, Oregon 1997 (competing in the "Applique, trapunto and alphabet quilts" category).

Tapungot and M. Dean's House of Design also won many award in the annual "Miniatures From the Heart" contest sponsored by Miniature Quilts Magazine: “L' Art de Aimer”, 1st Place, Group Quilt (issue #30)1996 (size: 27.5 "x 28"); “Diamond Medallion", 3rd Place, Group Quilt (issue#24), 1995 (size: 8.75"x 10"0; "Yvonne's Flower Garden” 1st place, Group Quilt Category (issue#19), 1994; “Oprah's Quilt”, 1st place, Other Techniques Category, Judges Choice Award by Elsie Campbell (size: 29" square); "Akiko's Irish Chain", 1st Place, Group Quilt Category (issue#13) (size/type: 28" Square Trapunto/Irish Chain).

Perhaps the pride and philosophy which drive Tapungot and her wards are best expressed in the "The M.Deans People" credo posted on their website: "Welcome to the world of Dreamers and Doers. With her whimsical mind comes fantastic and magical images that delight the heart and the spirit. With their skillful hands, beautiful, tiny and perfectly matched stitches are meticulously sewn, and high-quality quilts are made. And together they create these wondrous, seemingly impossible quilts that one would want to keep forever as an heirloom, and a keepsake."