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A Multi-level Event in Search of the Filipino

June 21, 2004

The Heritage Academies of Phil. Inc. (HAPI) presents a multi-level event to probe into the Filipino psyche. The project consists of arts exhibitions, rituals, film showings and round-table discussions-cum-workshops lined-up in support of an international conference titled “Pagkataong Pilipino-Looking for the Filipino among Filipinos”. This multi-event takes place in UP Diliman, Metropolitan Museum and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

The project aims to probe the unique Filipino culture-bearing models from the sciences and the arts. In the face of globalization and post-colonization, the project is an attempt to look into and discover Philippine culture as to reveal – Who is Pinoy? Can Filipinos reinvent themselves after centuries of Western academic education? What can ancestral value-systems contribute to a modern Philippine nation? Do culture-bearing processes continue into the jeans-wearing century?

Starting with a two-day conference funded by Toyota Foundation, the organizers have set up parallel activities to provide visual support to the scholarly gathering.

Component I is the “Hoy Pinoy-Sino Ka Ba?,” which is a series of film showings at the Manila Metropolitan Museum. It has the theme Filipino Culture-Bearer Artists – Adaptation and Continuation of Filipino IKSP (Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices) in Filipino Independent Cinema. The film showing highlights the works and creative style of Filipino culture-bearer artists in the technical 21st century media, such as video and film. These works by Filipino independent filmmakers will evidence the IKSP-inspired Pinoy world views and life-styles of the lumads and the culture-bearer artists.

The creative process of Kidlat Tahimik will also be tackled in his lecture on Bathala-Na filmmaking while a selection of independent works that were inspired by his process will be introduced by Lee Meily. Similarly, the question of Filipino identity and issues of representation will be tackled by two Filipino filmmaker/scholar from Manila and New York, namely Nick de Ocampo on “Tracing Mythic Man in the works of Filipino Independents” and Angel Shaw on the “Mythic Man through Fil-Am Eyes.” Their lectures are backed up by selections of independent films from the Philippines and from the Filipino American community. Some of the films include “Basal Banar”, “Maikling”, “Upo”, “Sumbang” by Aureaus Solito; “Batang Westside” by Lav Diaz; “Muro Ami” by Marilou Diaz Abaya; “Damortis” by Briccio Santos; “Excuse Me” and “Umbilical Cord” by Angel Shaw; “Cesar Asar” by Roxlee; “Bontoc Eulogy” by Marlon Fuentes and many others.

Component II is “Kapwa: Bukal ng Pagkataong Filipino,” which is an exhibition of contemporary and traditional Filipino culture-bearer art to call attention to the intricacies and beauty of the ancestral “kapwa” orientation. The carrying idea of the exhibition “Kapwa” is to trace a continuity in Filipino art despite the cultural dis-orientation by Western mis-education. Some of the participating artists include Mark Alcalde, Rene Aquitania, Perry Argel, Gerry Baguio, Danilo Dalisay, Gilber Gano, Boy Garovillo, Frederico Caballero, Lucia Caballero, Grace Nono and others. The cognitive style of these Filipino culture-bearers will be explained visually in the exhibition as an adjunct to an international conference at UP Diliman. The exhibition takes place in Metropolitan Museum of Manila and CCP Little Theater Lobby. The CCP focuses on Visayan Culture Bearer Art while the MMM houses the general exhibition of Culture Bearer art from all over the Philippines. The exhibit in MMM is divided into three sections: Section A tackles “What is Culture-Bearer Art?,” which gives a background on the concept and why culture-bearing has become important in this day and age, and gives an overview of the ancestral Filipino worldview and some of the cognitive styles of Filipinos, as well as values that are traditionally important to Filipinos. Included is a selection of works of Consciousness House and the Pugaran Heritage Center to illustrate the explanations. A recreation of the last work of Roberto Villanueva will likewise serve as an interactive piece.

Section B is the “Ancient Art of Memory Weaving” where stalls showcase the 7 Schools for Living Traditions and works of other culture-bearer artists from various regions. Section C tackles Systems and Practices and is where, at certain hours of the day, ancestral skills such as traditional weaving, cloth design, instrument demonstrations and Aeta story-telling, will be demonstrated, exchanged and shared. Mounting of the exhibition will be curated by Katrin de Guia and Kidlat Tahimik in collaboration with MMM Museum Director Victorino Manalo and Felipe de Leon, Jr.

Component III is Kapwa: Bukal ng Pagkataong Pinoy which is a roundtable/workshops/art-show with Filipino Living Traditions. In consonance with the visual arts exhibition, there will be a series of hands-on workshops facilitated by the Filipino lumads, together with their contemporary-bearer artist friends. During these activities, the unique accommodating style of the ancestral art making process will be emphasized, rather than the workshop output. The eight (8) workshops include: Music from the Manobo and T’boli (Tao Foundation/Grace Nono), Ethnic Cloth Design (Waray Bukidnon School of Living Tradition), Hanuno Bamboo Script (Ubos Solino/Mangyan Heritage Center), The Ritual of Daily Living (Perry Argel/Consciousness House), Clay-Bead Making (Pugaran Artists/Panay), Inaborlan – Traditional Palawan Script (Majiling Majike), Music and Dance from Ifugao (Ruel Rimuyac), and Music/ Instruments and Dance from Ifugao. The workshops are tied in pioneering attempt to put Filipino indigenous knowledge at par with Philippine academic knowledge. There will also be a round-table forum that will connect the representatives of Schools of Living Traditions with certain scholars/artists who are collaborating with these indigenous communities towards establishing Institutes of Living Traditions. The meeting will be moderated by the CCP Vice President Mr. Fernando Josef, while Ms. Betty Colmo from Mount Apo, Mindanao will share her insights on “Finding Voice”.

All modules are expected to inspire students, artists and cultural workers towards appreciating the depth of their rich Pinoy kapwa culture and dedicate their efforts towards culture-strengthening work.