Saturday, March 1, 2014

10 years after SSEAYP

On November of 2012, I had the chance to witness and be part again of the Ship for South East Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP) by way of attending the Reunion on Board of the alumni.
Coincidentally, I was sent by our alumni association, SSEAYP International Philippines to attend the Council of Presidents meeting in Thailand. I had the chance to meet the heads of the different alumni organizations. We had the meeting on board the Nippon Maru together with the administration staff and SI officers.
On the following day, we had reunion on board and it was great to see most of my bacthmates from Thailand and some other countries like Singapore and Cambodia. We had some catch up and mentioned unforgettable memories we had during 2002.
That same month that Thailand celebrate Loy Krathong so I was able to see some flowers and candles. I met also my host family Mom Noi and some personal friends.
I joined the send-off ceremony on the last day and I saw the Philippine Contingent make their gangway cheer. Seeing all these scenes seems like it was just yesterday but it was indeed ten years that passed.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Kannawidan ti Amianan: A Cultural Exchange and a Tribute to Living Treasures

It has been a little over a year now when I conceptualized and implemented a project called Kannawidan Exchange. It was entitled Kannawidan ti Amianan: A Cultural Exchange and a Tribute to Living Treasures. This was part of the capability & network building project of the Iloko/Bago cluster of the National Committee of the Northern Cultural Communities of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). 

Since I got the information that two Ilokano traditional artists were awarded with the most prestigious Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) by no less than President Benigno Aquino III at Malacanang on November of 2012, I got a big reason to organize and celebrate this event in the community. 

It was a way to give them a tribute and let the public know and celebrate their excellence in their craft. National Living Treasures Magdalena Gamayo of Pinili is master inabel weaver represented by Mayor Samuel Pagdilao and Teofilo Garcia of Abra is master kattukong maker represented by daughter Carol Garcia. They are the pride of the Ilocano cultural community. 

I also gave recognition to local living treasures namely Paulina Rangcapan, a master potter from San Nicolas and Maria Cagat, master inabel weaver from the town of Paoay who are equally dedicated and have excelled in their respective crafts. 

Cultural masters from the School of Living Traditions for playing Tambor and Pito that include Dr. Venus Taylan, Jessie Cecil Munar, Samuel Bartolome and Felicitas Guillermo were given commendations on the same occasion. 

Same goes through with cultural organizations namely Tawid Cultural Troupe and Samiweng Singers were given recognition for their achievements, contributions and efforts to promote the Ilocano folk songs and dances. 

Several performances were made by the participants that included Tingguians of Nueva Era, Yapayaos of Dumalneg, Isnag of Carasi, indigenous youths of La Union, Ilocanos and tamboreros of Ilocos Norte. 

There were chanting, rituals and ethnic dances by the IP groups; and folk songs, dances, tambor ken pito and dallot from the Ilocano group. Aside from Samiweng, San Nicolas Male Choir also rendered a number. This project was in partnership with City Government of San Nicolas headed by Mayor Alfredo Valdez, Jr.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Showcase of Ilocos Food Crafts at the IFEX

It was on May 16-19, 2013 that Iloko cultural community was invited through the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) by the Center for International Trade and Exposition Missions or CITEM, a bureau under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to join and showcase culinary crafts at the International Food Exhibit (IFEX): Asia's Ethnic Food & Ingredients Show at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
I got excited when I was informed by the office that I have to bring to Manila food craftsmen to showcase Ilocos empanada and tupig. CITEM requested first patupat but they were thinking of another version of it. So I explained to them what it is all about, took the photos of the delicacies and sent them. I later suggested tinubong but not possible logistically, then I finally proposed tupig but we studied how to cook without the charcoal. It worked well with electric oven upon trying it.

I had difficulty finding people because the elders at the Laoag City market wouldn’t want to travel because of health reasons. After asking several people, I found these young people who nodded positively. I was able to request from the provincial government of Ilocos Norte, empanada maker Romando Figuracion of Johnny Moon Café with assistant Ian Briones and the longtime tupig/patupat makers Mary Rose Julian with assistant Glaiza Julian of Flong’s Special Tupig.

Despite some problems we were able to showcase and demonstrate cooking empanada and tupig. It was a big hit since many people queued up for a sampling of the food. There were some celebrities who dropped by like Chef Claude Tayag who enjoyed empanada very much. There were foreigners too. The photos used on the backdrop of our exhibition area were my output which I used for presentation before the CITEM staff. Same photos were also used on the agency’s website Also featured on the show for the culinary craft spot are the pili nut cracking from Bicol region and making burlas for pastillas and candies from Bulacan.

Friday, January 10, 2014

2013: A Year of Recognition

I did not expect that the year 2013 was a year when my efforts and initiatives to help the less fortunate people especially the children will be recognized by people and various institutions. I barely had two years implementing the Kids on Project Photography to various parts of the country. I had the chance also to implement it abroad. This is a free photography lecture and workshop for the children in the orphanages and indigenous communities. It was implemented in the Aeta community of Bataan, Pag-amoma Children’s Place of Davao City, Tahanang Carmela d’Amore in Laoag City, Subic Bay Children’s Home in Olongapo City, SOS Children’s Village in Iloilo and Asrama Darul Falah Perkim in Kuala Lumpur.

Later, I basically did a voluntary cultural work for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) when I was elected to become a member and eventually became an officer. I started working in the year 2011. I visited various cultural communities providing technical assistance and help facilitating their cultural projects.

I was chosen to receive the (Ship for South East Asian Youth Program) SSEAYP International Award on April 2013 in Vientiane, Laos during the SSEAYP International Assembly (SIGA). Prior to this, I was awarded as Outstanding Laoagueño for 2013 in the Field of Culture & the Arts by the City Government of Laoag and the Pillar of Excellence Award for 2013 in the field of Culture & the Arts at Northwestern University in Laoag City.

Because of the challenge that goes with the award, I thought of implementing another and more exciting project called Katutubo Exchange. It is a cultural exchange program for indigenous kids and youths from around the country. It is SSEAYP inspired program and it took off from my Kids on Project Photography. I eventually organized the Katutubo Exchange Philippines where I invited volunteers & cultural workers to join my advocacy. The objectives are to heighten the awareness of the people towards indigenous peoples and their cultures, promote the traditional arts and to provide learning opportunities for the participants. Lucky to have been sponsored by Cebu Pacific Air for the air travel of participants. Other agencies also took part.

Immediately after the program I was interviewed and then featured on GMA Television Network’s show Unang Hirit and also in Agung NCCA’s news magazine. It was a simple program that served 12 participants and had gone a long way… making a difference in the lives of these young people.

I traveled this year to a few countries by attending the UNESCO World Heritage Committee 37th meeting in Cambodia. I witnessed festivals abroad such as the Lantern Festival in Taipei and watched the Formosa Aboriginal Cultural performance in Nantou, Gai Jaktra Festival in Baktaphur and Raksha Bandhan in Kathmandu, Nepal. I also saw a traditional Bengali wedding in Bangladesh and hosted by my Indian friend Pola. I traveled also to Singapore, Vietnam and Guam to where I have seen the Labor Day Celebration.

Locally, I attended festivals such as Sinulog in Cebu, Gameng Festival of Solsona, Pamulinawen of Laoag City where we implemented the Pamulinawen Photo Experience, Guling-guling of Paoay, and Panag-abuos Festival of Banna town all in the province of Ilocos Norte. I monitored the Bagat-Isem Festival as festival project sponsored by NCCA in Santol La Union. We witnessed Bakle Ad Bunubungna of Kiangan while we had CNCC meeting in Banawe and visited the rice terraces.

I conducted capability buidling seminars for cultural communities of Aeta in Bataan Peninsula State University in Abucay and the Kasiguranin and Dumagat of Casiguran Aurora. I was invited by the DepEd to conduct project proposal writing workshop for the Ivatans in Batanes.

I led a group of foodcraftsmen from Ilocos Norte for the International Food Exhibit (IFEX) where Ilocos empanada and tupig were featured on a cooking demo. I opened the program Dungog Kabataan in Lingayen Pangasinan attended by IP youths from Northern Philippines.

I attended the Cultural Mapping Conference at UST Manila and the Historical Societies Assembly at NHCP Manila. I was able to visit Dumaguete and Siquijor for the ordination of my friend Fr. Bryan Ligutom. I joined a medical mission in Zambales, celebrated my birthday with the kids at the Missionaries of Charity in Manila. I also joined the observance of the disability week with the Move Pilipinas at Quezon City Circle and Hapi wheelchair’s Day in Taguig where wheelchairs exhibited were decorated and designed by various artists. 

Attended the SIP General Assembly in Pasig where I met for the first time some alumni members and the Reunion on Board Nippon Maru for the 40th SSEAYP where I met my batchmates. 

I delivered a lecture on heritage conservation for civil engineers at the PICE Tehnical Conference in Ilocos Sur and was invited as guest of honor and speaker at the MMSU Management Convention in Batac. I served as judge to the dance competition of the IP week celebration of the province of La Union in Rosario and judge to art competition among IPs organized by Kalinawa Art Foundation. 

Another surprise that came this year was the publication of my article about Kapurpurawan Rock Formation on the travel magazine VIEW of Business Mirror on its July 2013 issue. My own photograph of the site landed on its cover being the first time to be featured on the front page of a publication.

I have attended the Silver Anniversary of NCCA at the CCP and the Ani ng Dangal Awards on separate occassions. We held the Dayaw Festival kick-off at Rizal Park creating a flash mob and held a press conference on October and we held a meeting for the final preparation in the supposed to be site of the 2013 Dayaw Festival in Tacloban City then a supertyphoon struck and devastated the place so we just reformatted the program into Dayaw arts for healing session and I have attended the Bohol leg where I met the quake victims.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Kids on Project Photography all over the place

In continuing the implementation of Kids on Project Photography (KPP), I kept on visiting my beneficiaries or students to follow up their skills and motivate more interests from them. I conduct the workshop in new places especially to the indigenous kids whenever possible.

After a year I went back to visit Subic Bay Childrens Place in Olongapo City on the month of January. The residents are orphans and it used to be a home of Ameresian kids. Im just surprised that some of them still recognize me. This time around, there were so many of them attended my Kids on Project Photography workshop. I gave a refresher on basic photography outdoor then conducted a hands-on shoot. Again as expected, they are fond of posing for the camera. 

Next was a visit to the children of Pag-Amoma Children's Place in Davao City on the month of January but an interesting activity we did on August of 2012, I took my students to the Kadayawan Festival celebration of Davao. Mommy Lisa, the house parent, turned them over to me for the day for the workshop. I met them all near the Marco Polo Hotel, the assembly point of the parade. I gave them each a uniform T-shirt and they were happy to receive it. We moved infront of the City Hall for the festival program. This activity was an on-field shoot to experience festival photography. 

I tagged along a few of them namely Rolita, Katrina, Roshell, Ramil, Jaymar & Joanne to experience covering an event. But because of a dense crowd, we did not get a good vantage point and cannot even penetrate. We just had portrait photography of the indigenous peoples in their ethnic attire and lucky to have coached by a newfound friend photographer Jacob Maentz. 

We took the kids for a tour around the city visiting Davao Museum, Bone Collector Museum and the Islamic Center.

I went back a few times to see the kids of the Aeta community in Bataan. What was so special was that we had photo shoot of mother and child because it was Mother’s Day on May. I asked them to find their mama then any of their siblings for the portrait photography. Everyone cooperated and got successful with the activity. 

Later, we participated in the medical mission of Zambales Vice-Governor Ramon Lacbain II on the month of July in Castillejos town of Zambales, I had the chance to implement the Kids on Project Photography to the children of the Aeta community in Canaynayan Resettlement Area. I met many kids who were there and I invited them to join the workshop. Some of them were shy at first but when some of them started to try it out then one by one came up to try it also. Even if they are done with their turn they still ask for another round. There was even one boy named Marvin who came back with a nice shot, a volunteer soldier doing a free barber to a boy. It’s amazing to learn that he has that inclination towards photography. 

Another indigenous people’s community that benefited from KPP was the Batak ethnic group. They belong to the Negrito family and exhibits dark skin and kinky hair. We had the cultural immersion after a meeting in Puerto Princessa in Palawan so we met them for some interaction and peformances. Then I saw the kids and I introduced them to photography and they enjoyed their first exposure. 

Lastly on December, we conducted psychosocial healing & art workshop for the quake victims in the Sagbayan town of Bohol. I met some young children. I encouraged them to try out my DSLR camera and a four-year old boy got so interested shooting some of the people especially his father. He sweated a lot but enjoyed the workshop.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Indigenous Youth participate in Katutubo eXchange

A voluntary group of cultural workers called Katutubo eXchange Philippines (KXP) headed by its president Dr. Edwin Antonio held the first-ever Katutubo Exchange for indigenous youth and children. 

The cultural exchange program was held on August 10-14, 2013 in Manila to celebrate the International Youth Day and the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples with the theme “Katutubong Kalinangang Filipino: Ipagbunyi sa Mundo!” 

Thirteen indigenous youth, from 10 to18 years old were selected to participate in the program. The Manobo, Bagobo and Matigsalog orphaned children of the Pag-Amoma Children’s Place from Davao, Katrina Lacia, Roshell Royo, Jaymar Laidan and Ramil Eman, got the chance to touch base with their roots through their performances. They were accompanied by their adult leader Elisa Templado and were flown in to Manila by Cebu Pacific Air. 

The Aeta children, composed of Clarise Cayetano, Jerafi Tamundong, Raymond Gulisan and Jacob Gulisan with adult leader Rosalee Joy Reyes, were supported by the provincial government of Bataan. They likewise performed ethnic songs and dances. 

The Ivatan youth delegation of Batanes with Ralph Ezra Viola, Christian Gabilo, Olga Galat and adult leader vice mayor Anastacia Viola were supported by the municipal government of Basco. They featured the palo-palo dance, vakul, and laji, an oral tradition. There was also a special participation of Angelic Claveria of the Isnag ethnic group from Apayao, who performed a monologue depicting their community’s culture and tradition. 

On day one, the delegation performed at the GSIS Museum of Art during the Philippine Art Educators Association seminar and art exhibit and the KX opening and homestay matching program. The second day was an enjoyable and memorable stay with their respective host families led by Florinda Vaflor, Marivic Langit, Kelly Flynn and Shiera Rivera. They were brought to the Rizal Park and the malls for ice skating. They also dined out and did other activities, experiencing a new home in the city. 

On day three, the KX participants went for a courtesy visit at the city government of Manila and were toured around the city hall and the Manila Zoo. A cultural program was held at the Leandro Locsin Hall of the NCCA with chairman Felipe De Leon, Jr. receiving and giving them an inspirational message. It was attended by deputy executive director Marlene Ruth Sanchez and NCCA secretariat members and guests from the Department of Education, Manila Tourism Office and National Archives. NCCA executive director Emelita Almosara hosted a lunch for the delegates. The Embassy of Japan in Pasay City was also visited by the KX delegation for an origami workshop under the Hello Japan program. 

On day four, the delegation had a courtesy call with the National Youth Commission chairman Leon Flores III and executive director Shierwin Taay. The delegates were given a talk on the issues and rights of the youth. 

Lastly, a grand farewell concert program was conducted at the St. Mary’s Academy in Pasay with Sister Lourdes Cao, principal and Orlando Abon who arranged the event. The school’s auditorium was jam-packed with elementary graders who were happy to watch and experience for the first time the culture of indigenous peoples. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dayaw Festival Celebrations

It is the mandate of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to preserve, develop and promote the indigenous culture of the Philippines. One of its flagship programs is the Dayaw Festival, an annual national indigenous people’s celebration. It is conducted throught the auspices of the Subcommission for Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts (SCCTA). 

I have been involved in the celebration for two years. The first was the Dayaw 2011 in Davao Del Norte in the city of Tagum that was held in October 7-9 at the Energy Park in Apokon. It is such a wide area that the activities are scattered all over. One needs a trasportation to get to one of the events. 

I brought a group of Ilocanos to perform at the event. They were Dr. Esmeralda Baldonado, Johnstone Corpuz, Fatima Faye Tolentino, Kristopher Guerrero, Racquel Joy Domingo, Dessa Duque, Allen Vic Mamuad, Glenn Tadena & special participation of Bliss Castillo. 

The delegation performed folk dances such as Binatbatan & Saguday, featured pipian dish from Vigan to the cooking demonstration and showcased the birthday ritual Padapadakam of Ilocos Norte. They participated in the various activities of the festival namely traditional games and outreach activity. 

My delegation was brought to Davao City for a visit and interaction to students and teachers of the Santa Ana National High School. They were so happy to welcome us where my delegates performed side by side with their award winning local dance group. We were treated for sumptous lunch with durian as dessert. 

We proceeded to NCCC (New City Commercial Corporation) mall for our show with other participants. We were put at the side of building with no audience so I asked the management to put the show at the lobby and there were many shoppers amazed and enjoyed the performances of the indigenous peoples. 

There were several shotcomings in the preparation of the festival especially in terms of management and organization but we were able to finish it. 

Another Dayaw celebration held on the following year and it sailed smoothly because the preparations went well with the full participation of the members of the Subcommision on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts. 

Dayaw 2012 was held in Bulacan in the town of Malolos. I brought another set of Ilokano delegation composed of Brilliante Albano, Valenne Rivera, Tristan Irome Guinto, Bennie Bautista, Jhasper Lipaen, Daisy Mae Carbonell,

This group is composed of the Tambor and Pito group (School of Living Tradition project funded by NCCA), a pair of dancers and the Bago representatives who featured upland dances. We featured this time inabraw nga marunggay for the cooking demonstration. The fruit is not eaten in the southern part of the country it was something new for them. We brought likewise inartem nga bawang and it was a hit for them. 

We also participated in other activities such as the trade fair held at the Capitol Gym where I brought to sell some inabel blankets and bugnay wine. It was sold out. Other groups of indigenous peoples sold their arts and crafts. The largest seller is the T’boli group raking in a huge amount from the sales. The Iloko/Bago delegation was assigned to do an outreach program or show at the Robinson’s Pulilan. We were teamed up with Talaandig of Bukidnon and Cuyunen of Palawan. After putting up a good show we had interaction with the audience thru question & answer. 

Some performances were conducted at the Forest park. There was also the crafts demonstration such as the vakul making of Batanes. Then we had grand performance show in front of the Barasaoin Church. The cultural presentations lasted for three hours. 

It is very unfortunate this year that Dayaw Festival celebrations will be cancelled because supertyphoon Yolanda struck Leyte and other provinces. We were in Tacloban, meeting for the preparation of the said event, two days before the landfall of the typhoon. It was indeed a very sad and low moment for all our brothers and sisters in the Visayas region as well as the entire country for the extreme devastation.