Naga

Arriving at Naga AirportMy parents didn’t want me to go to Naga – I was sick, and there was a storm supposedly passing through Bicol. The past two flights to Naga had been canceled too.

But I’m sooooo glad I went! I had medicine, the storm didn’t hit (in fact, they said we brought the sunshine in with us), and I had a blast of a time.

I was one of three speakers at the Animahenasyon 2007 Naga edition, the only provincial leg of the animation festival. There were three groups taking care of me – the Animation Council of the Philippines (who also sponsored me in Baguio), Ateneo de Naga University (who are the nicest people on the planet, I swear it), and the Naga city government(I met the mayor and vice-mayor almost as soon as I landed).

Group pic!My two fellow speakers were celebrities 😛 The first was Ricky Orellana of Mowelfund, who talked about experimental animation, but people were giving him a hard time for being the actor in this apparently famous Tide commercial that I still haven’t seen! And the second, who was the rockstar of the event, was Ronnie del Carmen of Pixar. Ronnie spoke about the importance of storytelling in animation, and being a huge fan of story, I was totally bought by his talk. I shoved a copy of my film into his hands, saying that was “my story” (which is true – it is) and we talked about a whole lot of other things. He’s super nice! (I hope I get to visit him next year when I go to the U.S.)

The AudienceMy talk on game development went very well too, though as I had no “celebrity status” I thought I was going to have it easy. Apparently not, as the professor from ADNU who was assigned to introduce me began his introduction with, “Luna Cruz is pretty.” Upon which I screamed, “WHAT??” and the audience howled with laughter. “Let me reread that,” he said. “Luna Cruz is pretty engrossed in…” and I couldn’t hear anything after that, people were laughing so hard (including me). After my talk, I got to answer a few (very good) questions, and someone yelled out, “Are you married?” and again I said, “WHAT??”. (Bicolanos are fun :P)

At the Naga airportIt was too short a trip, but I did get to tour Ateneo de Naga, which is a gorgeous place, and the hotel they booked us in was very nice too (Avenue Hotel), and generally I got a feeling that I was very well taken care of, and every single person there was sincerely nice (even government!), and it’s the kind of atmosphere that you don’t want to leave.

But of course we had to leave, so as Ronnie would say, “Camp’s over,” and we went our separate ways. I am very proud though that I got Ronnie to go to Bona Coffee, which he enjoyed, hahaha. I think I really should work for Bona.


*All my Naga pictures are on my Flickr and Facebook.

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