Lambanog, as was explained by Jin, is a local type of coconut wine. But I am getting ahead of myself.
We start with a very loose groove as I find out that Jing is not an integral participant of the Melasimbo Festival for nothing. Textures arise and are subsumed, anchored by a Mountain Province wind chime created from a beer bottle, cut in half and centered by brother Bob.
Jing did not rock up to PG from Mindanao, having collected new woven baskets, jewelry, pipes, and tribal instruments, for nothing.* We have locked into a very deep pulse, with my green bamboo stick (newest musical implement) creating a percussive paintbrush one minute, Santana shaker the next.
It is a flute, not a bird. It is hunting, propelled by ancient beats. It is trying out new patterns in a very serious venue––the Jam. I am locked in the beat made for dancing, keyed to the spirit of bamboo expansion.
Wake up. Jim Morrison would have it, giving no solution beyond inebriated fuck. Wake up and live. Bob Marley would have it, but even he was trapped in the end––remembering easy days in Negril. swimming and eating aki and rice. The only real concern the police––Three O’ Clock Roadblock. Who is the real betrayer in our midst? As Pogo would have it, it is ourselves.
The songs build from wanderings along the west coast of Mindoro, testing the fabric. A place where ordinary fishermen and village people are not quite used to the tourists who blow through, on their way to Apo Reef. If you are hungry there is always okra, coconut, rice. If you have no money you can make and sell Lambanog, and drink the profits.**
Lambanog reflects me having just come in from the wilder Western coast of Mindoro. The songs came and went in flurries, a cavalcade of life tossed and turned. Places with names like Mambarao, Sablayan, Abra de Ilo.
As for that discovery? Walking the nearly unmarked trail to Spanish Nose and Wild Lagoon, I came across several flute-ready lengths of bamboo, cut with slanted precision, as if with a samurai blade cleanly cutting rolled tatami, tameshigeri.***
Finding this almost-weapon on the path, I take it and start to think about it. How can I make a flute out of this piece of fresh cut bamboo––the roots of the Tala-andig flute I always play.
The issue is that I have no idea how to make holes in super hard bamboo, without causing thin cracks. I see an ice pick being used to break up ice kept in a cooler at the Pandan Bar. Could be worth a try….
Fast forward to 2-1-16, at Making Waves at Puerto Gallera’s Muelle Pier. Jamming with the original sandals and shirt guy, who was here when PG was simply tribal (though nothing is ever as simple as it appears). The choices we make.
The songs convey the full complexity of minds that are not polluted by too many sounds, barraged on a nightly basis by passively received music. Raff is so self-depreciating that at first I am fooled into thinking he cannot play. But he can play that acoustic very well and as he says, really good vibes.
Brian roles up with an old friend and a young companion. From Port Townsend, Washington, he unearths a rockabilly sensibility that reflects the reality that PG is not so different from the Bayou. Not sure if there are crocodiles, but would not be surprised. Spanish galleons took harbor here, a lot of buried treasure. More on that next time, the official “jam” we did at a house on the bayou, a couple nights later.
** This recording happened propitiously in Puerto Gallera, at a place I had been pointed to by (embarrassingly) the Internet. I meet Jing, the proprietor of Making Wave since nineteen seventy whatever. He was here when it all began.
***This is why Joe is considering going to Mamborao.
**** Tameshigeri leads to a shameless plug the novel Arisugawa Park––the "Cowachunga of 2010"–– about to roll at this site, serial style. I having been going back and doing some major revision. The editing process is now. Fingers crossed. If at some point I reach a critical mass of interested readers, I might have the opportunity to scale back on my SEO work and work on Ari Park and Cow simultaneously.
SEO Alert - Damon Shulenberger, aka EnduranceWriter.