The first-ever TEDx Adventure USC in the Philippines took place last Sept. 26 at Handuraw Pizza in Cebu City. The event organizers, assisted by councilors from the university’s SSC, surprised the few but enthusiastic participants with a new kind of twist, far from what they expected.

Two speakers of related fields of expertise but different roots, Cindy A. Velasquez, from the language department of the university’s School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and Sir June Gitamondoc, a VisPop composer, made brilliant use of the 5 hour-duration given to them.

The first speaker, Ms Cindy, gave a talk about poetry entitled “Pulong-pulong sa Dughan: Unsaon Paghuman sa Balak Kabahin sa Gugma“. The audience wa completely set for listening, but were surprised when Ms Velasquez said that everyone in the room was obliged to write three various poems immediately after she discussed about the steps on how to. The first type of poem that she introduced was about ‘making connections’; according to her, a good poet is a sensitive one. Before this, she gave everyone a minute to ask two other people the titles of their favorite poems.

As she proceeded, fun, a bit of pressure, and delight filled the atmosphere as she challenged the spectators to take random ideas from their minds, write them down, and connect them in weird— but unique— ways. Examples were lines from their favorite songs, objects and a word or thing that reminds them about love and the people that they love, so on and so forth. Most of the participants were obviously shocked, but their spirits were uplifted as they scanned through letters, phrases, sentences, pictures and memories. “If you will think too hard on what to write, you won’t be able to write a genuine poem as it should be,” Ms. Cindy repeatedly emphasized.

Subsequently, the climax of the session sparked as Ms Velasquez, with her PowerPoint presentation that locked everyone’s attention, elaborated on the guidelines in connecting one’s random thoughts with pure creativity and simplicity, which made the workshop highly interesting. A few were asked to share their poems in front of the group. Though there were a lot of mash-ups, all the results were beautifully written. Of course, the speaker herself shared her own work and the crowd couldn’t help but be amazed.

The second workshop brought the audience back to traditional poetry wherein rules should be considered before embracing the contemporary style. This part was the shortest among the three she had, called ‘Palindrome’ or ‘Mirrored Poetry’. People were just asked to write a two-stanza poem with the twist being that the phrases they formulated in the first stanza were interchanged in the second one without negating the meaning of the output at all. Some titles of poems that were read in front were The Library and The Wanderlust.

The last, and the most complicated, was the writing of a love poem, wherein the speaker encouraged the Carolinians in attendance to make a masterpiece using only the basic parts of poetry that depict tragic, sweet, and romantic love memories. Ms. Cindy highlighted the significance of metaphor and the presence of the five human senses, sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell,in creating an effective and wonderful poem.

As the participants continued writing their poems, the second speaker, Sir Jude, brightened the mood with his session about songwriting entitled: “The Creative Process”. He enumerated that when writing a song, one should empty himself and be open, allow himself to be affected, trust his/her impulse, accept and make old and new connection and repeat and variate with intention. “The good thing about us Filipinos, most particularly Cebuanos, is that we infuse humor to whatever sadness that we feel,” he cited.

After which, everyone inside the room helped each other to create a “maoy” song. Several titles were suggested such as GG, Crush Lang sa Tika, Yopak Na, Wa Sa, Char Char, and others. Wa Sa won the nomination and, together with his assistants, Lourdes Maglinte and Jerika Theodoria (winners of VisPop 1.0 and 2.0, respectively), the remaining hours were filled with laughter and brainstorming as the lyrics were formed. Later on, even though Wa Sa was dominant in the lyrics, the title was eventually changed to Char Char.

The wrap-up portion was the alternate performance of two VisPop songs and two poems written that afternoon, by Jerika Lourdes (“Buwag Balik”), Quennie Nikki B. Paring (BS-Psych IV, “The Drawing”), and Hazel Olive Parmes (BSCE-II, “Pwede”), respectively. In addition, Lourdes also performed “Plaza Independencia”. Lastly, everyone sang Char Char, the fruit of their collaborative efforts,to conclude the event, right before the awarding of certificates to the speakers and guests.

“I’m challenging the Carolinians to submit an entry in VisPop… we don’t need to convince everyone to use Bisaya because we should express ourselves using our own language,” spoke Sir Gitamondoc.

“The next time you write a poem, you should mention a local place and object,” added Ms. Velasquez.

TEDx Adventure is a spin-off from a regular TEDx event. It started with TEDx Beacon Street in the United States. Like its Filipino brainchild, the TEDx Adventure plays out like a laboratory wherein the attendees get to work and interact with each other and with the speakers while being allowed to share their ideas openly. The former head organizer, Bryant Gonzales, suggested the idea of adapting this during the crew’s planning period. Though there were only 30 participants, give or take, it was enough for the entire group to collaborate effectively without too much distraction or chaos.

“It’s time for us to invest in good ideas, invest in ideas that actually work, invest in ideas that can be beneficial to the society and to us as a whole because after all, it is our ideas that will bring us to places, it is our ideas that will keep the society alive,” said Michael C. Guinita (BS Chem IV), the current TEDx USC Head Organizer.

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