Intramuros Rising: One Music, One Art, One Vision
The sun was already preparing to set and we were running out of time. The gig would start at 6pm, we were told. It was almost six and we were still lost in the walled city, eager to find the exact venue where things were about to happen. Unfortunately, the cab driver did not know where Baluarte Plano Luneta de Sta. Isabel was.
“Sa dulo raw po ng Anda Street, near Clamshells,” I told the driver, reading the instructions of the organizer in the form of an SMS. But even about Anda and Clamshell, the driver wasn’t sure of. Good thing we saw a plaza with “Sta. Isabel” on it. We had the courage to simply get off, follow our instincts, and find the venue on our own.
We were glad to see “Anda” engraved on one of the walls along the street. At the same time, we heard rock music, gradually growing louder with every step we took. We knew we were close, so we just headed to the direction from which the sound was coming from. Then, as we reached the end of the street, we found the venue and were greeted by Cedula’s striking song about Philippine heroes.
Finally, we made it to Intramuros Rising. Organized by a collective aiming “to revitalize the culture and the tradition of Intramuros” called the ILVSTRADOS, the gig united various Intramuros-based indie artists in one night packed with good music and poetry.
One of the persons behind the great idea was Jeremy Lopez. When we had the chance to talk to him, we found out that it all began with envy. Aware of the rich indie music scene in the Southern part of the Metro, Jeremy thought that it was about time to have something similar, but this time in Intramuros. Though the project seemed too ambitious at first, Jeremy still persisted.
Yes, he made the right decision. Intramuros Rising was a huge success. First of all, it was able to unite the youth of Manila, particularly students of Intramuros schools such as Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Mapua Institute of Technology, and Colegio de San Juan de Letran. Secondly, it was able to enliven the culture and tradition in Intramuros through music and poetry. Though these two are just a few among the many things under the umbrella of culture and tradition, the event still marked a promising beginning.
Of course, more than anything else, it was also able to prove that Intramuros and the people in it aren’t sleeping. The walled city may seem too quiet from a distance but lots of things are certainly taking place within its vicinity. Moreover, the people in it, particularly the youth, have hearts filled with passion–something even the strong rains could not put out. It was obvious during the event. People remained on the concert grounds, with or without umbrellas to shield them from rainfall, until the end.
Imagine: the entire gig had a total of 13 sets. Performers included RJ Ilano, Cedula, Pat, Soil & Green, Head Playback, Audio Drive Thru, Gnarlydork X WBH, Mellow Submarine, Engkanto, Brisom, Leo & The Tolstoys, Saving the Dying Hope, and Mr. Bones & The Boneyard Circus. Members of Words Anonymous, a group of spoken word artists based in Manila, also performed their pieces in between each set. In short, the event lasted until after midnight. Yet, they remained despite everything.
Not just that, the crowd also remained as energetic as the performers. Never did the coldness brought by the weather stop them from cheering and shouting. We really felt like Intramuros rose that night.
We’re also aware that it was just the beginning. Just as the sound of rock music was able to grow louder and louder until it was able to help us find its source that night, the sound Intramuros started to produce would grow, too, until it’s loud enough for people to hear. Then, eventually, this sound would help them realize that there are actually lots of things taking place in between its seemingly quiet walls.
And for sure, the things about to come would be more exciting; they’d be among the many things people should look forward to when in Manila.
(Photos by Christian Alamodin.)