What started as a passion project for Bel Certeza became a purpose. A mission. Seemed simple enough. Document the bands and artists whose music she loves, has saved her life. She’s been doing it for almost a decade, anyway. Armed with a handheld video camera that most pro videographers would probably scoff at, she traversed, and survived, the dangers that the music scene had thrown on her and kept shooting. Beer stained floors. Rowdy drunken assholes (and rock stars.) Strip joint-type venue lighting. Sardine packed bars that tempted the fates in becoming a fire hazard. Even personal demons and ghosts that’s been haunting her were survived.
I’ve known Bel for almost a decade now. Way back in the old Up dharma Down unofficial fanclub. “Dharmalites,” as we were called back then, followed the band around and supported them in whatever way we could. Others spread the word about them in whatever medium was available at the time. I, and others, took photos. Bel, and others, took videos. It was all for the love of a band. The same thing she’s doing now for the newer bands that she and others love: documenting great music she loves for historical purposes. Even perhaps for her own personal reasons.
And so Bel Certeza created an outlet for her mission: Indie Manila, a website dedicated to the local music scene. Most of the photos/videos and write-ups are done by her. Some are outsourced to volunteers, including yours truly. I have been on assignment for Indie Manila at twice already. The first one was on this year’s Fete dela Musique’s Acoustic Stage at A-Space where I did both photographer and writer duties. The second one was on the Tagaytay Art Beat. I was supposed to also do the write-up, but my anxiety levels were off the charts that night so I relegated myself to strictly photographer duties.
Indie Manila has also been a media partner for the year’s bigger events and album launches. Spectacles, all. Indie Manila, whether Bel herself or kind hearted volunteers, were there to witness and preserve.
Soon enough, her baby, Indie Manila, turned one. The celebration happened on the eve of the anniversary, December 3, 2015 at Route 196. Hosted by indie scenesters Nicole Sarmiento and Ellie Centeno – whom that night were collectively known as #EllieAndNicoleVersusTheWorld – the anniversary gig was, unsurprisingly, a success.
The night did aptly had its solemn moments. The whole gig was dedicated to Support Local Indie Scene’s Rapi Serrano. The performances of the bands who played were in tribute to him and his legacy to the local scene.
I wasn’t in photographer mode that night. I did bring my camera with the intention of covering it for my own pleasure, but felt that I should just savor the music and the night and the celebration. In all fairness, it was the meds that helped me to really immerse myself in what was happening. I was singing and dancing along and headbanging to the music. I’ve done the same in gigs pre-medication, but with reservations. Anxiety would creep in and I’d stop dancing and look around me for dangers that aren’t there. That night, well, there were minimal paranoia, but I still went on. I was enjoying myself, nary a fuck in the world.
I did take some shots of the night, as you can see in the entry. Due to habit, perhaps, but I’m glad I did.
Cheers, Indie Manila! Here’s to the future!