For the love of magic-A A +A
Saturday, September 15, 2012
"THERE is no such thing as white magic," pointed out Cris G. Castro, head of the Inner Magic Club, a society of Filipino magicians. "Because there is such thing as black magic, people assume that there is white magic."
Black magic has traditionally referred to the use of supernatural powers for evil and selfish purposes. In modern times, some find that the definition of "black magic" has been convoluted by people who define practices that they disapprove of as "black magic."
Castro, who considered himself an "ambassador of magic," said that the magic his group, the only recognized magic society in the country, is doing is “pure entertainment." As he explained, "We are here to entertain people, both children and adults, by doing tricks."
It so happened that the convention of the Asian Magic Association is being hosted by Davao City. It started last Friday, September 14 and will culminate on Monday, September 17.
"The annual AMA convention is the only program in Asia that brings all magicians together once a year to share magical ideas to one another," said a statement released during the press conference Friday.
The gathering of magicians that Philippines is currently hosting is the ninth. The first AMA convention was held in 2004 in Shenzhen, China, which hosted again in 2006. Bangkok, Thailand was host two times: in 2005 and 2008. Magicians also convened in HongKong twice: in 2007 and last year. The remaining two venues were Jong So, China in 2009 and Toba, Japan in 2010.
Instead of convening in Metro Manila, the convention will be held in the country’s biggest city.
"This is the first time the Philippines will host this convention and it will be in Davao City," said Davao magician James Infiesto, who convinced AMA officials to hold this year's convention in the country.
According to Castro, the AMA body has chosen Davao City as the venue of the convention in the Philippines due to its stable peace and order condition.
"Dito ito gagawin sa Davao para makatulong sa turismo sa bansa. Alam naman natin na medyo masama pa ang impression ng mga taga-Hong Kong sa Manila dahil sa nangyaring bus hostage taking. So, dito natin sa Davao gagawin," Castro said.
Infiesto said that most of the magicians in Asia are Chinese. "Security was the primary concern of AMA president Mr. Dai Wu Qi, who is Chinese," he explained. "The (tragic) bus hostage-taking incident in Manila, where eight tourists from Hong Kong were killed, had left some questions on the security of tourists in the national capital."
In her speech during the opening of the convention at the Pinnacle Hotel, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio thanked those who come from other parts of the world just to be in Davao. "Enjoy your stay here in Davao," she said.
According to Infiesto, the convention is held in Davao because of the assurance from Mayor Duterte that they would be safe here during the whole duration of the convention. In fact, the magician convention is in close coordination with the City Government of Davao.
Infiesto said they initially expected around 1,000 participants from all over Asia. "But in light of the territorial rift between China and the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea, we will be happy to have less than that," he said.
Almost two hundred delegates came, mostly from the Philippines, particularly Manila. Other Asian countries represented include Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.
On the sidelines of the convention, a stage and close-up magic competitions on the first and second day, respectively.
"Normally, the champion of AMA or Asia will be invited in Europe and in the United States to perform his winning act," Infiesto said.
A junior stage magic competition open to amateur magicians 15 years old and below was also held in the second day.
But what Dabawenyos really was amazed of was AMA’s Star Magic Show, which was held at the University of Mindanao Gym in Matina on September 14-15. This Sunday, the magicians will be performing at the Bluejaz Beach Resort and Water Park at the Island Garden City of Samal.
During the press conference weeks before the convention, Castro said magic show is a growing industry in the Philippines despite several revelations of magic tricks shown in the television by both local and global programs.
Castro, who has won awards in the art of magic, is the country's AMA director.
"Even if the audience knows the tricks, they will still appreciate a good magic performance because they are paying for the mind-boggling idea," he said.
Filipinos did not pay US$200 just to watch such kind of show staged in Las Vegas in the United States. Instead, spectators paid from as high as P1,000 to as low as P250 (the general admission).
"We are not doing the show for business, but rather for pure fun," Castro said.
Among those who performed were Australia's Tim Ellis, United States’ Danny Cole, Malaysia’s beautiful couple Mark Yong and Pinky Loo, South Korea's Yu Ho Jin, Indonesia’s Silvan Prayogo, Japan’s Fukai and Kimika, and Vincent Tan of Malaysia.
Ellis is a Guinness record holder of doing the world’s longest magic show (75 hours). Cole is a recipient of several recognitions, including the 2007 and 2012 champion of the Genting International Magic Festival and 2005 Stage Magician of the Year.
The Malaysian couple is known for changing costume 14 times within 58 seconds! Tan, on the other hand, is a 2010 Merlin Awardee and a magic superstar in his country. Prayogo is the captain of Semarang Magic Community. The Japanese couple is noted for their act using umbrellas.
Yu Ho Jin is a performer to watch for. He was crowned as 2012 World Champion of Magic in Blackpool in England in the recently-concluded International Federation of Magic Societies (FISM or Fédération Internationale des Sociétés Magiques). Only 19 years old, he displays some terrific “sleight-of-the-hand magic in the grandest sense,” to quote the words of the French TV Show Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde (the greatest cabaret in the world).
There were three guest performers from France: Germain Pilou, Jordan Gomez, and Mikael Szanyiel. Pilou is the 2006 Grand Prix Champion (FISM) for stage magic. Gomez is noted for his award-winning act in which manipulates CDs and M&M's. Szanyiel got the second place in comedy magic in the 2012 World Championship of Magic.
Not to be left behind were the performers from the Philippines: Castro and Infiesto on their own acts and the duo Renee and Richie. Castro is the only Filipino recipient of Merlin Award for excellence in the art of magic. Infiesto is one of the top illusionists of the country who incorporates the culture of Davao in his performances. Renee and Richie won the People's Choice Award in the 2010 Magic Extravaganza in Malaysia.
AMA was established on April 28, during the Hong Kong 2003 International Magic Convention. It was founded by the Taiwan Black Hat Magic Club, Magicians’ Association of Hong Kong, China Guangdong Acrobatic Artists Association, Siam Magic Club of Thailand, Inner Magic Club of Philippines, and Korea Alexander Magic Family.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 16, 2012.