The beautiful woman of the duo behind The Funnelogy Channel was my roommate in an international school in Hong Kong for two years. She is currently travelling for a whole year and documenting it in their blog. Read her powerful account about women in Iran.
There’s the story, then there’s the real story, then there’s the story of how the story came to be told. Then there’s what you leave out of the story. Which is part of the story too.
From MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood.
I would reblog every post from their tumblr, but that would be a bit too much (and you could just head over theirs and follow them!). I think what makes their style work so well is that they present really heavy things (mostly the awful, ludicrous, absurd politics of our country) with such beautiful prose. The truth becomes clearer with borrowed words, more digestible and more piercing at the same time.
To usher in 2012, here are five things from/about/in the Philippines that make me smile. They definitely do not have the same weight of significance for me, but these are the first five things that came to mind (in order of their appearance in my head), thinking about all things Pilipinas that are, to put it simply, good.
Benedicto Reyes Cabrera, more famously known as BenCab, is a Filipino National Artist who is a painter and a printmaker. When I think of BenCab, I think of Sabel, his muse. From his bullet biography on the BenCab Museum website:
Observes and sketches from his window in Bambang a bag lady/madwoman/scavenger named Sabel. To him she is a symbol of dislocation, despair& isolation – the personification of human dignity threatened by circumstances. Undergoing numerous transformations over the coming years, she becomes a landmark for every stylistic painting transition.
The lobby of one of those condominiums in Rockwell is graced by a BenCab painting. And a home somewhere in Negros has artist proofs from the master printmaker himself. Nothing quite like his work, especially these days of modern conceptual art. As he himself puts it in this Wall Street Journal feature, “Skill: That is what is missing now. A lot of modern art now is mostly conceptual. It is sloppy. I’m old school. I look for good composition… and I like artists who are innovative.” I tend to agree.
BenCab is also one of the many reasons a trip to Singapore is so enticing.
Philippine Development Foundation or PhilDev
For full disclosure, I’ve worked (and still work every now and then) for PhilDev (formerly Ayala Foundation USA). I loved the work that I did there, connecting the Filipino diaspora to worthwhile development initiatives in the homeland. Now, their focus is more strategic - zeroing in on science and technology and the field’s impact on the Philippines’ economic growth and development. All the same, I respect the work that they do and look forward to the coming years as they carry out their new mission.
You can read about PhilDev’s work on their website, but here’s a video of Filipino/Filipino-American artists, Lea Salonga included, talking about the concert they held for PhilDev:
I’m pretty sure I featured Panlasang Pinoy on this tumblr already, but when you talk about the good things in the Philippines, you cannot - just cannot - leave out food. And when I thought of Filipino food, Panlasang Pinoy popped into my head. Just look at his list of Top 10 Filipino Christmas Recipes. I know Christmas is done, but hey, with this menu, it’s never too early to practice for Christmas 2012.
Interaksyon | TV5-MMDA Traffic Monitoring System
Yes, I’m including this one. Because it is pretty cool to have this system in place, updated every five minutes or so. My husband and I are guilty of checking this even if we’re not driving anywhere, just because it’s so nifty.
And of course, my fellow Tumblrers who post about the Philippines. A few that I enjoy:
I Write As I Write: History. And Stuff.
The Wolf: A thirty-something writer who has mellowed down from the broadcast news industry. After that, he taught high school kids history and economics. Using the skills acquired in journalism, he gets involved once in a while with farmers, environmentalists, and human rights activists.
Pag-aral at Pag-ibig… Lessons & Love: newly married lit phd trying to figure out life, love and the future.
Halupi is now Diario de Filipinas, a news-Tumblr dedicated to chronicling the rise and fall of the Philippine Revolution and Republic.
Starting with December 30, 1896.
Revamped likha.tumblr.com, now updating it to feature Filipino artists and their creative process. Go follow it! :)
As I am in love with printmaking, I had to feature a printmaker as the first artist for likha. I met Ambie three years ago, in my quest to find a printshop here in the Philippines. The best thing I remember about our first encounter was her comment on my decision to come back home to the motherland. She was one of the few who agreed with the decision, saying that here in the Philippines, “maslapat ang paa mo sa lupa.” So very true.
Thank you, Ambie, for graciously agreeing to be featured on likha. Dear followers, stay tuned for more Filipino artists and their creative process. Enjoy! -jo anne
1. What inspires you to create?
It is hard to say exactly or specifically what inspires me. I know for one thing that there is a certain ‘desire to respond to a calling’ (of sort) which precedes the act of creating. A desire to react to my reality – experience of my past and present environment, people and events, my thoughts, memories, observations, even illusions and questions that which hold some significance to my personal life, what I believe in and what I value. Such desire, I believe is something implanted in us by some greater power because we do not choose to desire – we just do. It is a gift. And so is the freedom to respond and how to respond to such desire.
What an interesting find this fine Sunday morning. Thanks to ellobofilipino’s reblog.
Over the past few weeks, I have been writing about the importance of protecting the marine species in the country and how unique they are compared to the other parts of the world. I am beginning to sound like a broken record and I don’t like it. This is not my first post on what is happening to the marine biodiversity in the country, but it might be my last.
I have written it once, I am writing it again. The Philippines is the heart of the Coral Triangle. The Coral Triangle is an area which stretches from Okinawa in the north; Australia in the south; Fiji in the east; and the Indian Ocean to the west. Studies show that the Coral Triangle has 76% of the world’s coral species. And 6 of the world’s 7 species of marine turtles are found in the Coral Triangle. The center of the Coral Triangle is said to be the Verde Island Passage between Batangas and Mindoro. This is the reason why scientists from the University of the Philippines and the California Academy of Sciences have chosen the area for studies into Philippine marine biodiversity.
According to scientists from the UP and the CAS, the waters in the Philippines are unique in the sense that they seem to yield so many species of marine biodiversity. Dr. Terence Gosliner said in a press conference a month ago that “it’s truly remarkable, we find new species in every dive we take. It seems endless.” Gosliner is part of the 2011 Philippine Biodiversity Expedition - a collaboration of scientists, educators, and students from the California Academy of Sciences and the University of the Philippines. The expedition has been in the country since April this year and they will be sharing their initial findings in a symposium at UP Diliman on June 8.
But, just as scientists, educators, and students study, appreciate, and protect our environment. The headlines on the imperiled state of marine biodiversity in the country seem to continuously flow.
Just a few days ago, a ship was held by the authorities in Cotabato after it was found trying to smuggle P 35 million worth of corals and marine turtles. The authorities found “around 196 kilos of sea whip corals, 161 heads of preserved hawksbill and green turtles, 7,300 pieces of seashells, and 21, 169 pieces of black corals.” The extent of the damage in marine biodiversity in the area was so extensive that Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje said, the poachers and their financiers have “have practically robbed the present and future generations of Filipinos” of the treaures that the waters in and around the country hold.
Yesterday, 122 Vietnamese fishermen were caught poaching by the Philippine Navy and the Philippine National Police Maritime Command in Barangay Malaking Ilog, Balabac, Palawan. The fishermen were caught pretending to be Filipinos by flying the Philippine flag on their boats. Unlike what is claimed by the Vietnamese fishermen, police Chief Superintendent Artemio Hicban said “they were caught well within our territorial waters, far from the Spratlys.” Authorities have yet to determine of the fishermen have also been catching protected and endangered species of marine biodiversity.
And then just a few weeks ago, a foreign ship passing through the country and carrying coal from Australia to India struck a protected coral reef area in Kiamba, Saranggani. The Panamanian-registered MV Double Prosperity was carrying 65,000 tons of coal when it struck Bakud Reef. The extent of the damage caused by the ship to the corals in the area has yet to be determined. But the 225-meter-long ship’s hull got into much of the coral that it has been stuck. Provincial Governor Miguel Dominguez said that the owners of the ship must compensate the province regardless of the extent of the damage caused by the incident.
It pains me to know that these issues and incidents have been buried under the hullaballoo that is the Reproductive Health Bill. Already the RH Bill has been debated again and again, and again. And while much of the media attention is focused on Congress and the groups involved in the debate, our national patrimony has been repeatedly raped by foreign and domestic opportunists who prey on the weak capability of our navy to defend our seas and implement our laws. Then again, who cares, right?
Why care about his things when we are far away from the seas where these incidents occured? Why care when we can eat all the canned tuna and seafood dishes from the restaurants we go to? Why care when the destruction of these corals, turtles, and marine biodiversity hardly affects us at all?
Yep, why should I? Why should you?
In the lead up to #Rizal150 I have been asked on Tumblr and in person what I think about Rizal. And occasionally I get some very odd emails on Rizal; mainly focusing on my contention that he is not a reformist. Though those are balanced by some very nice emails both asking for my opinion and agreeing with them. Thanks!
So, at the risk of being way to self-referential and slightly douchey (not trying to be, I promise!), the following are my previous posts/essays on Jose Rizal. Leading up to Rizal 150, hopefully this will give some background on my interpretation of him and how I think he remains relevant in modern social context.
Truth be told, most of my history posts in some way reference Rizal and what he thought, or what I consider his importance. Just as a lot of what I write are attempts to offer alternative perspectives on Philippines history - alternatives to the prevailing and highly flawed Agoncillo/Constantino interpretations.
So, to make it simple, the ones I’ll cite here are essays specifically focusing on Rizal and his legacy.
In Search of Philippine Intellectuals is my first foray, not the last, to try and figure Rizal in a modern writer/intellectual framework, a framework drawing on Edward Said’s essay on the public intellectual.
Is Rizal Relevant is piece more freehand and musing in a nature, exploring whether Rizal as he is popularly constructed means anything to the modern Filipino.
Bad History: Rizal the Reformer: A fairly straight forward piece focused on erroneous perception of Rizal as only a reformist. A trope that is so antiquated and so ill-considered it’s almost laughable. The companion piece is Editing Rizal. A piece which specifically targets the Constantino construct of Rizal and his purposeful editing and contortions to misrepresent Rizal. Actions I find almost disreputable; especially in light of his thesis about the so-called miseducation of the Filipino.
Bad History was the first Bad History, gave birth to a series actually. I targeted Carlos Celdran and the FHM interpretation of Rizal as pro-Spain. I have left the essay as is when published, even though subsequent discussions indicated that Celdran may have been mis-represented.
Then there is the two-part essay (one short and the other a little bit more in-depth) from last year: The First Celebration and The Subversion of Rizal. These kind of try and figure Rizal in how his image has been subverted for colonial needs, and the honor that he was accorded by his contemporaries.
Rizal on Stage discusses Rizal as the Church apostate, and attempts to demonstrate that his thoughts on the Church and social change are far more nuanced that we’ve been led to believe.
Rizal as Revolutionary is pretty self-explanatory. However, it does address a carrying thread throughout what I’ve written on Rizal: The forgetting of his philosophies on social change and eventual liberty for the Philippines. Sadly, we are stuck in a very rudimentary and superficial reading of his philosophies; ignoring that he was one of the first to believe that the Philippines had to work towards independence. He saw reform only as a dead end.
Of course if you just want to peruse all the quotes and essays you can check my tagged posts on Jose Rizal.
Within my framework of Rizal, the writers who have most influence are Nick Joaquin, Anding Roces, Felice Sta Maria, Father John Schumacher, Floro Quibuyen, Leon Ma. Guerrero, Austin Coates, with a smattering of Ben Anderson and (a tinge of) Ambeth Ocampo thrown in. Some I was lucky enough to learn from in person.
These authors construct a Rizal I think is closer to reality; actually reflects who he was, what he attempted to accomplish and what he believed. In fact, they offer a truer interpretation than what exists in pop consciousness today. If ever we are to move forward as a people and a nation through our histories, I suspect revisiting Rizal and reinterpreting him correctly will play a major role.