PHILIPPINES – This October, some of the biggest names in the local music scene will be banding together to aid one of the smallest communities in Sulu.
It will happen at “Musika’t Aklat,” a virtual concert spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Fort Bonifacio Global City (RCFBGC). Featuring the likes of Ebe Dancel, Barbie Almalbis, Mojofly and Razorback, this project will attempt to financially aid Minis Island, a place located around 12 kilometers away from Jolo. Currently, the community has a lone school; it was built through the donations of Rotary Club of Manila Premier. And now, Jan Emil Langomez, president of RCFBGC, aims to expand this project through the concert his club is organizing.
“We intend to build lodging facilities for faculty,” he said. “We also want to build a library and water, sanitation and hygiene facilities for the islanders.”
Set to be streamed live on Facebook from Makati’s Social House, “Musika’t Aklat” will begin on October 16. The first portion of the series is called “Solo Night” and it will be featuring performances from Dancel and Almalbis. Alongside them will be other names like Sud Ballecer, Clara Benin, Waiian and Tamara. The second date will be on the 23rd and it is dubbed “Alternative Night.” It will feature Mojofly, Tanya Markova, Rouge, Bita and the Botflies and Createurs. The final night is titled “Pinoy Rock Night” and it will happen on the 30th. It will feature Razorback, The Republicats, Shotgun Combo, Gin Rum and Truth, and Calebral. Tickets for each date is priced at 350 php and they can be bought through Ticketmelon.
“While local authorities have been supportive, their resources nonetheless remain limited,” Langomez said. “This is where our club comes in to partner with the people to expand their existing infrastructure.”
Several months ago, RCFBGC planned for the concert to have an onsite equivalent. This, however, was scrapped due to the heightened restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019. Nevertheless, the club decided to push through with the virtual aspect of the series and they did so because of how important it is for the community it’s seeking to help.
“The residents of the island have had a difficult history,” Langomez said. “This is our way of helping them get past that.”
Before the residents of Minis Island settled in the place they now call home, they lived in the nearby Tulayan Island. However, due to the violent clan wars and political rivalries that apparently characterize the place, they decided to transfer to Minis to live more peaceful lives. Not long after their arrival, however, they discovered that Minis was actually a hideout for members of the Abu Sayyaf. Soon enough, the Jihadist militant group began threatening and oppressing them.
In 2019 the Philippine Army, tipped off by the residents, arrived to drive the bandits away. A group of soldiers were then stationed there to keep the peace and during their stay, they realized that the children were lacking in basic education. Some cannot even spell their names.
In response, the soldiers took it upon themselves to teach the children. They used leaves native to the area as well as spare wood to build a makeshift shelter that served as a classroom. For a blackboard, they used a piece of wood damaged by bullets during their encounter with the Abu Sayyaf.
This, however, is no longer the case these days. Because of the efforts of other good Samaritans, the children now have a school. And if the plans of the RCFBGC succeed, they will have much more than that.
To purchase your tickets please visit https://www.ticketmelon.com/geekmodemedia/musikat-aklat