Friday, October 14, 2016

Elizabeth Oropesa to Showcase Artworks with Baguio Artists

Filipino actress Elizabeth Oropesa will be showcasing her artworks at Hotel Albergo with Baguio Artists Roland Bay-an and Fred Agunoy on October 18.

The 62-years old Multi-awarded Oropesa was famed in the 70s but never ceased to earn awards 'till the 2000s. But aside from her good acting, she is also holding a degree in alternative medicine. She recently retired from full-time acting to become a healer and artist.

Known to have a third eye, she will be exhibiting her abstract painting with fellow abstract painters. The exhibit titled "North Meets South" depicts the birthplace of the artists: Bay-an and Agunoy coming from the North while Oropesa is from the southern part of Luzon, Bicol.

Roland Bay-an who is turning 65 on October 18, is a veteran artist from Baguio and has been a resident artist of Tam-awan Village for several years. Many of the younger artists look up to this friendly master artist.

Soft-spoken Roland Bay-an inspires promising young artists. 

He recently frequents Bookends Bookshop where he displays his arts along with young and promising artists. They are informally calling themselves Bookends Art Circle. They are also doing a sketch for a cause to help people in need.

Along with Bookends proprietress Maricar Docyogen and several journalists, he started Pasa-Kalye, a street exhibit and gallery along T. Claudio Street. The Pasa-Kalye Street Art Exhibit is a regular weekend activity where Baguio artists can display their artworks and crafts.

Fred Agunoy on the other hand, is an architect by profession. He was recently featured for his Duterte bike series created from construction and scrap materials like damaged door knobs, tire, shower head, and sink.

Agunoy said he liked the macho aspect of Duterte so he made the series incorporating his knowledge in architecture with his arts.

His main art, however, is impressionism like Bay-an using watercolor, acrylic and oil medium.

After their exhibit at Hotel Albergo, Oropeza will be gracing another two-man exhibit by local artists at Fred’s Gallery. 

The exhibit titled "Tinalikdang Elementura" will showcase the works of Art Lozano and Allan Brilla.

Art Lozano is a member of Tam-awan and also part of Bookends Art Circle.

Allan Brilla who will be showcasing remarkable resin arts design is also a member of the Bookends Art Circle. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Groundless, Ridiculous Nudity suspensions on Facebook

So here’s another issue of an Indonesian woman whose account was suspended for posting historic photos of her countrymen, many of these were photos of women showing their breasts. Those photos were posted as her protest to the recently concluded beauty pageant where women wearing traditional “kebaya” were censored (blurred out) “to protect the culture”. Kebaya is an attire that only covers the breasts and lower body. This move was made by Indonesian conservatives.
Here's the image of the censorship as broadcasted on TV.

Dea Basori, 23, questioned the censors and searched the net for traditional Indonesian attires. Some of those she found were topless photos of women wearing traditional attires. She posted the photos on facebook to counter the censors. “I did this to counter the censors,” she said. “Whose culture are you protecting?” she added. “Is their definition of culture a true reflection of it?"

But that’s just another story of an illogical, unjustified account suspension. You may read the full story here.

I also posted an old photo of topless girls in Barlig, Mountain Province taken in the early part of 20th century. They were doing the traditional back-strap loom weaving. After a few weeks, I received a warning from facebook that the photo was reported for nudity and explicit content.

Here's the photo I posted with the original caption, taken circa 1900:

Igorot girls weaving at looms in Barlig, Mt. Province. Tiffany Williams photograph collection, University of Michigan.
I don’t know how facebook does its evaluation on reported nudities. Perhaps suspensions are automatically programmed. I do hope these will be changed as they are now facing several issues and also a court case when they banned an artist from France for posting nude artworks. Here's the story.

I don't think historic photos are offensive to "sane" people. It should be taken as an educational material.

But I believe, the problem does not lie with facebook. It lies with the people reporting these contents. I don’t know the kind of mindsets of people who seem to see mammary glands as sex objects.

Their perverted thinking is affecting and infecting a lot of people and I believe this is the reason for these reports. I hope facebook will put up a team of open-minded people to review these reports and separate nudities and sexually explicit contents from art, educational and historic images. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Symbol of Greed

The recent development in SM showed the true colors of this corporate giant. This greedy Corporation does not really care about Baguio sentiments. They came here to make money and that’s it.

I thought they had a change of heart willing to negotiate and consider the sentiments of the tree advocates. When I heard they approached some of the tree advocates willing to negotiate, I thought that was a good move and that they have a heart for Baguio after all. They were presenting a new plan where only few trees will be cut. It was a good plan that I believe many of the advocates would be willing to agree with. I guess that was just a wishful thinking. They never really intended to negotiate but a ploy to put off the advocacy.

These Corporate giants are as greedy as they come and in one night, SM cut 60 trees (according to them) even disregarding their earth-balling promise. Maybe there are more trees cut than what they revealed. Who would believe a lying corporation?

But why are these trees so important for Baguio people?

Part of the creation of Baguio was to rise from the ashes, ashes from the devastation of World War II most particularly caused by the American’s carpet bombing to drive out the Japanese army. Baguio was one of the most devastated Cities during World War II likened to Manila and Warsaw in Poland. And part of that rising from the ashes is to plant trees in historic and open spaces so that once again, the City will live up to its name as the City of Pines.

Luneta Hill became one of the favorite planting areas for visitors who want to add more trees to the remaining few left by the bombings. Many visiting celebrities and dignitaries have ceremonial tree planting there and many of those grown trees were the remaining symbols of the thousands planted by people who wanted to rebuild the City.

Those 182 trees were the remaining symbols and reminders of those who came with “noble intentions”. Those trees are not just woods; they are part of Baguio’s history and its struggle to remain a city of pines.

No matter how many trees SM City will plant, they can never equate to what those trees symbolize or represent. In fact, their very deed shows how their intentions are very much opposite of those who came ahead of them.

SM’s plan is to create a vacuum that will make the City suffer some more from traffic. Putting up a parking space will not solve the traffic situation in Baguio. It will just worsen it when all people will be bringing their cars to the City instead of leaving it home. It will create a vacuum increasing the volume of cars that will pass through the Central Business District.

SM is masquerading with the idea that they are here to help solve the City’s problems.

But how can they even help the City’s problems when they don’t even pay enough salaries to their workforce? How can we even trust a Corporation who cannot even follow the basic law in giving fair wages? Their intention is to earn and historic symbols and heritage are insignificant to them.

SM will always be a symbol of greed.

I wish an investigation should also be conducted on why the government would sell a public land to a private individual with no benefit whatsoever to the public in general except for the promise of jobs and more parking. Jobs that attracted more migration and parking area that has caused more traffic.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Black and White Photo Challege

I was nominated by my friend Ghemar Pawid for this challenge. I am to post One black and white photo each day for five days and nominate others to do the same.

This challenge reminded me of an advice I received from an artist few years back. He told me to improve my photography by shooting black and white. He said it is a challenge to create an image in monotone, in the absence of colors.

With this statement, there are a lot of questions that came to mind such as aren't black and white considered colors? Aren't colors the main factor to consider in photography?

I will try to recall all the answers explained to me and write it in my next blog.

Meantime, here are the photos I posted on facebook for the challenge.

Day 1. Bayanihan sa Playa 

Day 2. The techie Igorot

 Day 3. The maker

 Day 4. The last catch

 Day 5. The load runner

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Everyday is Fathers Day

I tried looking over the net for the best acrostic description of "Father" but there seem to me none. So I created my own for all the fathers out there. I hope this will give justice to what fathers do for their families.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pulitikang ulam

Choosing your dish is like politics, go for the popularity and mass appeal.
(Isang kwentong pulitika sa pagbibida ng mga ulam)

Isang araw sa buhay ng mga ulam Pilipino.

Nong nagpasa ang isang kongressista ng panukalang ideklara ang adobo na pambansang ulam, nagprotesta ang mga makabayang ulam.

Ang sabi ni 'sinigang', "paano gagawing pambansang ulam ang adobo kung ang kanyang pangalan naman ay salitang banyaga? Ganito na ba kababaw ang ating edukasyon at pati salitang kastila ay di na natin nakikilala?"

Ani 'tinola', "natagurian pa namang Chairman ng Committee sa Turismo yang nagpasa, bakit di nila isiyasat mabuti ang kanilang nilalabas na panukala kung ang mga ito nga ay nararapat at angkop sa ating pagiging Pilipino?"

Ang protesta naman ni 'pinakbet', "tulad ko, marami pa tayong ulam na mas hango sa tunay na Pilipino at walang kadudaduda na ito ay galing sa ating mga ninono. Kasama na dito si 'paksiw'. Mas makabuluhan na siya ang ideklara."

"Ako ang 'true blooded' na pinoy ulam," ang sigaw ni 'dinuguan'.

Bagamat ang kanyang pangalan ay hango rin sa salitang kastila, si 'Afritada' ay sumama sa mga nagpoprotesta. "Mas marami naman kasing ipasang mas mahahalagang panukala, bakit yang mga walang kwenta pa?" aniya.

Sa kabilang dako ay nagsalita naman ang mga ulam na kampi sa nasabing panukala. Sabi ni "Bistik" na ang pangalan ay tinagalog na ulam ng mga kano, "anong masama kung ang adobo na hango sa Espanyol ang maging pambansang ulam natin? Pangalan nga nating Pilipino galing sa kastilang si King Philip, may bago pa ba dyan?"

Ang pangontrang sagot ni 'pinikpikan' na ulam ng mga taga Cordillera, "kayong mga taga 'lowlands' kasi di nyo kami ginaya na di nagpasakop sa mga kastila."

Patawa namang sumagot ni 'embotido' na kumakampi kay 'bistik', "lagi nyong binibida na di kayo nagpasakop peru ang tawag nyo naman sa rehiyon ninyo ay salitang kastila. Di ba yan ang tinatawag sa Inglis na ironic?"

Napatunganga si 'pinikpikan' dahil ngayon lang nya narinig na salitang kastila pala ang napiling pantawag sa bulubunduking tahanan nya. Ngunit ganun pa man, pinaglaban pa rin nya ang kanyang paniniwala, "naniniwala pa rin ako na dapat talagang hindi adobo ang tanghaling pambansang ulam natin. Pangalan na natin hango sa salitang banyaga, pati na rin pangalang ng ating lugar, pati ba naman pambansang ulam banyaga na rin?"

Sa kagitnaan ng kaguluhan, pumagitna and isang malagintong ulam baboy, "marahil naman ay kilala na ako ng lahat. Ako ay matatagpuan sa lahat ng mahahalagang okasyon. Siguro naman, hindi masamang ako na lang ang imungkahi ninyong maging pambansang ulam."

Lahat ng ulam nagprotesta. "Tumigil ka 'lechon', ikaw ang isang mapanlinlang na ulam na akala makabayan ngunit ang pangalan ay walang kadudadudang galing sa Espanya."

Mula noon, ang mga ulam ay napasama na sa pulitika.

Sa di kalayuan, sila 'daing' at 'dinengdeng' ay tahimik lang na nanonood dahil ang tingin nila sa sarili nila ay mababa lang dahil sila ang pinakamura. Minabuti na lang nilang ang pulitika ay para sa mga mas mahal at mas elitistang mga ulam. Pagsapit ng kainan, ang mga mura pa rin ang hahanapin ng karamihan.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Battle for lands, battle for Baguio's future

The NCIP-issued titles in Baguio are currently the focus of attention of the local government, a Congressional inquiry and concerned citizens of Baguio both the pro and otherwise. 

It's hard to pick a side for everyone has his own right. While it maybe is true that many of the Ibalois were displaced during the American time, there were also records saying some of those lots were sold by the original settlers. It maybe is biased to the Halsemas coz some of the accounts was written by James Halsema, son of Eusebius Halsema who was the Mayor of Baguio for 15 years. 

In his book, he said that to create roads, Mayor Halsema had to purchase farm lots but the Ibalois don't value money so much then so instead accepted as payments carabaos, a very useful beast of burden for their main livelihood which is farming. It is also a symbol of affluence.

Probably some of them were forced to sell their farms and was probably the reason why Halsema was called "Busol" by some of the original Ibalois. (Busol was used then to describe a mean man although in some accounts, Halsema was described a humble man.)

We are not sure if there were papers signed during those sale of lots. If there were, where can we find these records or were they destroyed during the war. It was during the time of Mayor Halsema (1921 - 1935) that the presidential proclamation declaring some part of Baguio, including the current site of the Casa Vallejo, a Government  Center. (Proclamation No. 63, series of 1925 signed by Governor General Leonard Wood)

There are other locations reserved as parks, government centers and others are considered alienable and disposable. We can only assume that some of these disposable lands were not bought by the government that time since most are pasturelands and the creation of a city would have probably drove the Ibalois farther away from the city to find better pasture for their herds. 

When development came, the Ibalois then (except Mateo Cariño) didn't know how to claim their rights to their lands. In our laws, ignorance is no excuse and if you don't know the law, it's your fault. It's a hard fact that all of us is forced to accept. It's the same with these land claims. Our Ibaloi forebears left  their lands pushed away by the creation of a busy metropolis and their abandoned lands looked upon by the government as neglected or deserted and claimed ownership following the Regalian Doctrine, then came the American Torrent system of distributing lands (someone correct me here if I'm wrong).

On July 22, 1915, the Americans issued a notice to the people claiming lands inside the reservation to file within the next 6 months their respective claims. On November 13 that same year,  Judge C. M. Villareal made a ruling declaring all lands within the Baguio Townsite reservation as public lands except for lands reserved for specific public purposes and lands claimed and adjudicated as private properties. 

Many of the unclaimed disposable lands were sold to migrants. While some were passed on to different hands, many of the original buyers or their families still live in their purchased lands. Of course those settlers have their own rights too having bought those lots legally. It would be a hard battle to claim them as ancestral domains, although there are areas currently in dispute between claimants and current owners.

It is probably easier to claim the protected lands since no private owners will defend them, only the government. But let's just say these claimants win and they will take over those protected lands. The forest reserves (Busol and others), the parks (Forbes Park, Burnham, etc.), the government centers (Casa Vallejo, City hall, Convention center, etc), what will become of Baguio? We are already facing gigantic problems with our current population and buildings, how much more when those remaining spaces become residential and commercial areas. We will have chaotic city with not enough water supply and clean air to breathe in the coming years. 

The Government may argue that without the City development, we probably would not have progressed here in the highlands. The value of the land we are so zealous to claim today would not have increased as much. We probably did not become a center of civilization and owning those lands wouldn't have been as valuable. The migrants are one of the main reasons why Baguio is now a valuable City. But to the claimants, what good is civilization if the supposed original owners are discarded from it?

The claimants have their rights, but we have to balance also how our lands will be used because in the end it will affect us all, yet the claimants should not be discarded aside. Let us not forget the fact that they owned these lands long before us and they have been discriminated being ignorant to the foreign laws.

So how can this dilemma be solved? Does the government still have disposable lands to give in substitute to the claims? Are the heirs willing to accept it or perhaps accept compensations instead? Or if granted, are the heirs willing to follow the land use plan of the city and utilize those properties accordingly so as not to worsen the urbanization problems of the City? Will the claimants and the government willing to meet halfway?

If we are not willing to bargain, our time will just be consumed between these battles for land claims that are being questioned even by the very office who issued those titles. It has also become a battle between government agencies and offices. Even the IPRA is being questioned by many sectors. 

MateoCariño's claim won in an American court on February 23, 1909, years after he died, and the case now known as the Cariño Doctrine earned international recognition and used as an example by indigenous peoples fighting for their rights worldwide. But even after winning the court battle, those lands were not returned back to the family of Cariño until now.

So when will this end? Probably until the next generation of claimants, probably never.