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[Pic Pocket] Yes for Peace—and Music

Photographer PAU VILLANUEVA attends the #YESforPeace: A Concert for a Cause at the A.Venue Makati last Saturday to capture how music can brings together people from various cultures. (Words by KENDRICK GO)

Music brought harmony at A.Venue in Makati last Saturday when several local artists united for #YESforPeace: A Concert for A Cause.

Produced through a collaboration between AFS Intercultural Programs Philippines and At The Back MNL, the event sought to highlight music’s capacity as a mediator between different cultures. It featured local performers including Soapdish, Strangetown Submission, The Adamant, Stories and Alibis, Mark Josef Bornales, Elyrose Lumbo, Dating May, Metro Groove, Rian Magtaan, Mark Ashley Banta, Chopper Seven, Bring Back Friday and Mayari. It also served as the closing program to cap #YesEffect, the 15 year anniversary of AFS’s YES program in the Philippines.

“[#YESforPeace] aims to increase awareness on [the need for] peace and stability in conflict affected areas, primarily in Mindanao and other regions in Northern Philippines,” said Yasmin Soriano who represented ATB. “With this in mind, our political, religious, and geographical stance may divide us but [we] believe that music will always unite us.”

According to its website, the AFS is a US-based youth exchange organization which “works toward a more just and peaceful world by providing international and intercultural learning experiences to individuals, families, schools, and communities through a global volunteer partnership.” Meanwhile, ATB is a newly formed production company that seeks to promote independent Filipino artists regardless of their genre. Fittingly, the union of the two boundary-challenging companies enabled people from various cultures to meet for one night of music.

“In the age of social media, it’s ironic how disconnected people are,” said Soriano. “Personal opinion is stronger than ever, and you will see people fighting over all sorts of small stuff. Bad news is seemingly forced down our throats while good news? You have to look for it. But, if we can unite people to forget about these terrible things, even just for one night, then we believe it’s a step in the right direction.”

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