Sunday, August 27, 2017

Who is your hero?

Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga, the village of Dulag Macliing.

Hero ba? Syempre may kanya-kanya tayong hero. Ako si Dulag Macliing, isa sa mga taong lumaban at napatay ng mga sundalo ni Macoy. Kung di sya lumaban kasama ng iba pang katutubo, natabunan na sana ng tubig ang Bontoc hanggang Tinglayan.
The project was to build 4 big dams along the Chico river that would have affected many villages in Mt. Province and Kalinga. The people opposed the project but one of the most vocal was Dulag Macliing from the village of Bugnay in Tinglayan, Kalinga.
But the death of Macliing was just the tip of the story. There were many community elders and leaders detained in Manila who were opposing the project. Stories of intimidation, coercion and threats were rampant. We don’t know how many more died but this has led to unity among the warring tribes.
The people from different villages forged peace pacts through the traditional systems and united together to oppose the dam project. They kept vigil at night and barricaded the sites - men, women and children were all involved. They took turns in cooking, planting, keeping vigil and watching over the barricades. Almost everyone in the villages affected was mobilized. Each day, callers were assigned to provide the signal whenever government men brought in construction equipment and materials or if they made a move to start to build the dam. And they heard the loud cry which is the signal - everyone stopped what they were doing - and go to the site and stop any move to construct the dam.
The Igorot people persisted and in 1987, 20 years after they started the survey of the project, the government officially shelved the Chico River Dam Development Project. The Igorot people rejoiced and held celebrations. This was a historic event because it was the first time that an IMF-World Bank-funded project was successfully stopped because of the militant opposition by the people.
A few years later, the government had another proposal, to create not only 4 but 17 dams across Cordillera. But because of people like Dulag Macliing, these government projects that are supposed to benefit the majority did not push through.
The continuous opposition of the people is based on how history has treated them. One of the important examples was Ambuclao Dam where the people were promised land where they can be resettled and the government said that they will be paid - these promises were never fulfilled and the project never benefited displaced people.
It was only the time when they planned to build the dam along the Chico river that the government offered and gave them a resettlement site - but in an area so far away from their original village, where there is no clear source of water, where the land is not arable and in an area that is malaria-infested and it was on an island so far away from home.
Many of the people got sick. They left the area to live with their relatives. Others went to live in the cities but were considered as squatters. At another time, they were offered a resettlement area in the nearby lowlands. Again this was not arable and worse, it was the ancestral home to another group of indigenous peoples. Some went to Casecnan - in an ancestral land of another tribe where they are presently again being threatened to be displaced because of another World Bank-funded dam project of the government.
History has taught these people to fight for their lands. Some sectors had been saying that had they allowed the construction of the dams, they should have received the promised support from the government.
Another project of Marcos was the Pantabangan Dam where until now, many of the promises were not fulfilled and some of those displaced have become outlaws because they’ve lost their sources of income and the promised support of the government was not fulfilled. I went to live for several months with the people displaced from San Juan in Pantabangan and what they become is not exactly how the government promised it to be.
Dulag Macliing and the elders who stood up and fought the government oppression were on the right path when they opposed the project that will only benefit the big foreign investors and the pockets of the politicians facilitating the approval of the project.
So there you go, Dulag Macliing and the people like him are my heroes, not some politicians who oppressed the many and give away people’s rights for the greedy corporate business.

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 loom weaving 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 and 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.