THE enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila has hit its 60-day mark. While selected industries will slowly begin to resume operations as the metropolis transitions to a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), live performances and other activities which entail large gatherings remain postponed. Still, over the past two months, singers, musicians, actors, directors, and writers have collaborated to raise money for the benefit of those who have been badly affected by the enhanced community quarantine. And they are already planning for the future.
The Open House online fundraising program — headed by the Artist Welfare Project, Philstage, SPIT MNL, Third World Improv, and the Theater Actors Guild and Ticket2Me — has focused on raising funds for displaced performing arts workers. Meanwhile, the daily concert fundraiser Bayanihan Musikanhan, organized by National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab, has focused its fundraising efforts on urban poor communities affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Started on March 26, Open House mounted online programs ranging from concerts, to interviews and roundtable discussions participated in by various artists from Philstage member companies and iWant series, among others.
In a phone interview with BusinessWorld, Philstage Corporate Secretary and Open House Head of Programming Alvin Trono noted that the programs have been “highly collaborative” with artists from theater, music, and television joining forces on the project.
“The current form of Open House has tried everything possible and reached out to a different audiences,” Mr. Trono said.
Open House will stream its final show today which features a culmination of all the events that happened since the start of the program in March. (Visit https://www.facebook.com/OpenHouseFundraiser/ for updates).
Plans are underway for Open House to continue after May 15, Mr. Trono noted, this time as a money generative platform for artists and as a way to showcase more educational content for audiences.
Over the past two months, Mr. Trono said they have observed that the online programs with the most streams and views were of workshops and roundtable discussions due to its “value of learning” and ability of “introducing more audiences to the theater world.”
As for monetizing the content, Mr. Trono noted while plans have yet to be finalized. “There are specific both private and government institutions that are interested in collaborating with us at this point,” he said.
What started as a temporary platform will continue post quarantine and COVID-19.
“We will continue to develop material that will extend our reach from marketing promos, short shows, and post performance discussions,” Mr. Trono said. “We’re going to continue the platform for discussion, for archival purposes, on the state of Philippine culture now, and record that for posterity for future generations.”
Since it started on May 7, Open House has raised P1,001,000 to support 500 workers.
The online concert fundraiser Bayanihan Musikahan launched on March 20 with five separate concerts which kicked off with National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab.
“We began with a simple concept to go organic, foregoing the usual concert trappings and simply asking the artists to sing from their homes — with whatever equipment they have,” independent curator, art critic, and writer Marian Pastor Roces, who is head of communications of the fundraiser, told BusinessWorld in an e-mail. “Some are new to the possibilities of online streaming. Artists helped artists with the technology. Mr. C (Ryan Cayabyab) educated himself quickly on the new media.”
The fundraiser has conducted more than 100 concerts since it began, and has raised more than P70 million in cash as of May 6, and another estimated P20 million in kind as of May 9.
The campaign partnered with Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and the Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pamilya ng Pantawid (SNPP) for its relief efforts.
“We have delivered food to more than 50,000 urban poor families; given hot meals daily to 300 homeless individuals housed temporarily at College of St. Benilde; financed one barangay quarantine center in Quezon City; bought nearly 700 tons of vegetables from farmers in Benguet and other provinces, for distribution in Metro Manila,” Ms. Roces wrote.
Bayanihan Musikahan’s second season of programs will continue throughout May.
“We hope to be able to build a permanent facility for the homeless, under the supervision of St. Arnold Janssen Kalinga Center founder Fr. Flavie Villanueva; a massive production of face masks by urban poor communities; upgraded carinderias (roadside eateries) for a different model of food distribution, and another barangay quarantine center,” Ms. Roces wrote.
“This way, when the concerts are over, the project would have left economically viable activities that extend even beyond the pandemic. We want Bayanihan Musikahan to be the gift that keeps on giving.” she wrote.
To watch the previous Open House shows, visit https://www.facebook.com/OpenHouseFundraiser/. To donate, visit https://ticket2me.net/e/5778?fbclid=IwAR1FzpYOWCehLVeTFb_h5Dj8ZNCiVwVH5XCzu0Gm90byyUZ1MbsahwpT13c.
To watch the previous and upcoming Bayanihan Musikaha shows, visit https://www.facebook.com/bayanihanmusikahan/. For more information and donation details, visit https://www.bayanihanmusikahan.org/. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman