Pauli Ako sa Payaw — 11.05.2020
Bisan Tubig Di Magbalon (Don't Even Bring Water) was the theme of VIVA ExCon Capiz 2018 exhibition curated by Green Papaya. The Hiligaynon text is a line from the popular Visayan folk ballad Dandansoy. The song expresses a girl’s desire to return to her island of birth and wishing her loved one from another island will follow her. The Visayas is an archipelago comprising many islands.
The curatorial team, who were mostly based in Quezon City, flew to Roxas in early October of 2018 to oversee preparations for the biennial which opened in the city several weeks later on November 8.
Working in different sites as the exhibitions were multi-located, the team would usually regroup during lunch time. In one of those lunches, we found ourselves in Nestas, a popular fast food restaurant that has been around since the ‘80s. Nestas is always filled with employees from business establishments, the City Hall, and Provincial Capitol nearby.
While queuing for my food, what caught my eyes and ears was a cool senior citizen dressed smartly, wearing a fedora hat and dark glasses, playing keyboards in one corner. I was stunned when I heard him playing Dandansoy! Coincidence or serendipity? That encounter led to him being invited to perform in one of the programs during VIVA ExCon’s opening night. Of course, he played Dandansoy during his set at the “turtle stage” that was part of “Balay Sugilanon,” a community project coordinated by Tatsuo Inagaki.
His name was Alfredo Clavel, or Tioy Alping to many of his fans. Mr. Clavel passed away recently at the age of 89 from COVID-19. During his younger days, he was a fishpond operator. He would often hang out with other senior citizens in Paseo, a shaded pathway between the City Hall and the cathedral in front of the public plaza, jamming with other local musicians. He had been playing keyboards at Nestas for almost 20 years before the pandemic struck last March.
We are deeply honored by Mr. Clavel’s participation in VIVA ExCon Capiz 2018. Rest in peace, Tioy Alping!
November 5, 2020