Intramuros-based group wants to revive indie OPM | Inquirer News

Intramuros-based group wants to revive indie OPM

By: - Reporter / @neltayao
/ 04:00 AM November 24, 2014

Despite the rains, the crowd stay on at the first “Intramuros Rising” music festival held at the Walled City’s Baluarte Plano Luneta de Sta. Isabel in August. The first music event featured “all-Intramuros” bands or music groups whose members are alumni or students of the four Intramuros-based universities. A second festival will be staged on Dec. 13 by Ilvstrados, a group of young professionals and students from Lyceum University of the Philippines.  CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Despite the rains, the crowd stay on at the first “Intramuros Rising” music festival held at the Walled City’s Baluarte Plano Luneta de Sta. Isabel in August. The first music event featured “all-Intramuros” bands or music groups whose members are alumni or students of the four Intramuros-based universities. A second festival will be staged on Dec. 13 by Ilvstrados, a group of young professionals and students from Lyceum University of the Philippines. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–Several Intramuros alumni or students who graduated from universities located within the Walled City are seeking to revive the indie OPM spirit by organizing another special music festival for “all-Intramuros” bands in the area.

The group calls itself Ilvstrados, a Spanish word which means “enlightened ones,” as its way of paying tribute to the country’s greatest ilustrado: national hero Jose Rizal. It is headed by advertising executive Jeremy Lopez.

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According to Lopez, they spell their group’s name with a “v” instead of “u” to pay homage to the Lyceum (also spelled as Lycevm) University of the Philippines as most of them, himself included, are the school’s graduates.

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Ilvstrados is an offshoot of Circulo Musikero which is an in-house music organization of Lyceum. Its founders are mostly young professionals coupled with several students with ages ranging from 19 to 24.

Together, they are putting together a music festival called “Intramuros Rising” which is open to bands whose members are either students or alumni of the four Intramuros schools: Mapua Institute of Technology, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Colegio de San Juan de Letran and Lyceum.

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Lopez, who graduated in 2011, said the idea for Ilvstrados came about during a drinking session (which is usually how they hold meetings, he also pointed out), when someone suggested that they expand Circulo Musikero to include the whole of Intramuros.

“We don’t want Intramuros to be just another music venue—we [also] want it to be the indie music venue [of Manila],” he said. “We want to change the way we market OPM by giving ‘smaller’ groups a chance for exposure.”

Ilvstrados was officially launched online through their Facebook page last May. With the help of the Intramuros Administration (IA), the first “Intramuros Rising” took place in August at the Baluarte Plano Luneta de Sta. Isabel, an elevated fort on the Bonifacio Drive side of Intramuros that can fit around 1,000 people.

The group, however, was able to gather only a crowd of around 400, including the organizers and band members.

“We were on the verge of canceling the show because ticket sales were low,” said Lopez. “Thankfully we didn’t and that decision was rewarded on the day of the concert itself. While most of the crowd were students, a lot of tourists, both local and foreign who were just passing by, bought tickets on the day itself.”

A heavy downpour also served as a challenge although this did not drive the crowd away, added Lopez. The group felt so optimistic about the first festival that they are organizing a second one in the same venue at 4 p.m. on Dec. 13.

Baluarte Plano Luneta de Sta. Isabel is usually not rented out for events, said Sandra Martinez, IA Tourism Promotions Division chief. However, she said that IA gives exemptions to small groups still starting out as long as the thrust of their event is to help promote the Walled City.

In the case of Ilvstrados and “Intramuros Rising,” not only were they allowed exclusive access to the fort, IA also waived rental fees.

“Our Tourism Promotions Division is not in the business of organizing events,” IA administrator Marco Antonio Luisito Sardillo III said.

“Our job is to upgrade the infrastructure and allow the private sector to take care of the events. Of course, we are here to support these uniquely homegrown talents,” he added.

According to him, events such as “Intramuros Rising” also encourage people to explore the more obscure parts of the Walled City such as Baluarte Plano Luneta de Sta. Isabel. He cited three other places: Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel and Soledad Promenade in Fort Santiago, and Reducto de San Pedro, a pentagonal structure built outside the city walls.

“The gate to Soledad Promenade used to be covered by an overgrowth of weeds. When we cleaned it up, we saw that it opened up to a beautiful view of the river,” said Sardillo. “Reducto de San Pedro, on the other hand, is on the green and could be a good reading corner.”

The idea of opening up these spaces, he pointed out, was to get people to exploring the city.

The use of Baluarte Plano Luneta de Sta. Isabel has introduced at least one unconventional nook to the public. The fort’s capacity was a huge advantage for “Intramuros Rising” but organizers faced a challenge when they realized that it had no electrical outlets for all their lights and audio equipment. On top of it all, there were no bathrooms.

Solutions were eventually found. Power was supplied through generators provided by the team Ilvstrados hired to set up the venue. They were also able to get sponsors for portalets.

As for security, which Lopez said is still a major issue inside Intramuros especially at night, Ilvstrados got some help from barangay tanods (village watchmen) in the area. In December, though, the group will be hiring professional bouncers. As an added precaution, the festival is starting at 4 p.m. so that it would end early.

Warts and all, Intramuros holds a special place in the Ilvstrados’ hearts since they consider it their second home.

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“It’s where we hung out, where we formed so many memories. So we want to imprint on people the idea that, ‘Hey, Intramuros is just a ride away—when was the last time you were there?’” said Lopez. “We also want to give the student body something to look forward to while boosting awareness of Intramuros’ indie music scene.”

TAGS: concern, indie OPM, Intramuros, Lyceum, Manila, Music

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