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Volume XVIII Number 4 2015 For Artists and Cultural Workers ISSN 0119-5948

Weaving the Word,

Wording the Weave
Official Newsletter of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts

The National Commission

for Culture and the Arts


A Heritage of Creativity
It has been well established that creative breakthroughs happen when fields, disciplines
and cultures intersect because you can combine existing concepts into a large number of
extraordinary new ideas. The generalist, interdisciplinary and highly communal nature of
traditional Philippine cultures fulfills this essential requirement of creativity. This integral, holistic
character of the Filipino mindset is manifested in all aspects of traditional Filipino village life and,
to a great extent, even in urban settings.
Philippine traditional arts most sensitively reflect this creative mindset, especially in our
weaving traditions. In Filipino traditional communities, everybody is regarded as a participant
in the creative process. Nobody is a mere spectator. Everybody is expected to be an artist and
engage in creative, expressive activities, thus resulting in a vast creative resource pool, as clearly
seen in the great variety of weaving patterns and styles in the textile arts of the Manlilikha ng
Bayan and weaving communities throughout the archipelago.
But as the Philippines undertakes modernization, particularly in the urbanized and
industrialized cities, these attributes of traditional art are replaced by their exact opposites.
Artistic creation becomes highly specialized, separate from everyday life, a glorification of
the individual ego, and obsessed with commercial success. The creative act becomes the
exclusive province of specialists, and the rest of society becomes mere consumers. Creative
diversity suffers.
Let us all hope that the thrusts of the NCCA, which underscores Filipino creativity and
ingenuity as essential components of national development and heritage, will be able to
counter this trend towards mere consumerism and creatively re-empower the Filipino.


Vol. XVIII, No. 4

August 2015
ISSN 0119-5948



About the cover

and facing page

oic-executive director
deputy executive director
Rene Sanchez Napeas

The agung is a knobbed metal

gong of the Philippines used
in various communal rituals.
Suspended in the air by rope
or metal chains, the musical
instrument is also employed by
some indigenous groups as a
means to announce community
events, and as an indicator of the
passage of time.
Agung is published bimonthly
by the National Commission
for Culture and the Arts.

Roel Hoang Manipon

managing editor
Mervin Concepcion
art director
Maria Glaiza Lee
Marvin Alcaraz

Leihdee Anne Cabrera

Manny Arawe
Alinor Maqueda
May Corre Tuazon
Roezielle Joy Iglesia
Francisco del Rosario III
paio staff
Emilie V. Tiongco
editorial consultant

Cover and facing

page show the
textiles woven by
hand using pedal
looms by the women
of Lumbaan-Bicbica,
Pinili, Ilocos Norte, all
under the guidance
and inspiration of
Manlilikha ng Bayan
Magdalena Gamayo.
The textiles show
some of the weaving
and design techniques
employed by the
community such as
the pinilian (back),
impalagto, and the
special kind of plain
weave, the binakul
(facing). /Photos by
Roel Hoang Manipon

As the government arm for culture

and the arts, the National Commission
for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is the
overall policy-making, coordinating,
and grants-giving agency for the
preservation, development and
promotion of Philippine arts and
culture; and executing agency for the
policies it formulates; and an agency
tasked to administer the National
Endowment Fund for Culture and
the Arts (NEFCA). The NCCA traces its
roots to the Presidential Commission
for Culture and the Arts (PCCA), which
was created when President Corazon
Aquino signed Executive Order No.
118 on January 30, 1987, mindful
of the fact that there is a need for a
national body to articulate a national
policy on culture, to conserve and
promote national heritage, and to
guarantee a climate of freedom,
support and dissemination for
all forms of artistic and cultural
On April 3, 1992, President Aquino
signed Republic Act No. 7356 creating
the NCCA and establishing the NEFCA,
a result of over two years of legislative
consultations among government
and private sector representatives.
The bill was sponsored by senators
Edgardo J. Angara, Leticia RamosShahani, Heherson T. Alvarez and
congressman Carlos Padilla.
The NCCA Secretariat, headed by the
executive director and headquartered
at the historic district of Intramuros,
provides administrative and technical
support to the NCCA and other units,
and delivers assistance to the culture
and arts community and the public.

A String of Flowers
Meeting Magdalena Gamayo
Text and photos by Roel Hoang Manipon

6 Agung Number 4 2015

idmorning in the purok of Ulidan

was bright and quiet, with the sun
slowly gilding the great Cordillera
mountain range with its mantle of varying
shades of greens and browns that counterbalanced the almost arid looking fields and
scorching temperature.
Part of Lumbaan-Bicbica, a barangay of
Pinili, Ulidan is almost remote, sitting at the
easternmost border of the town, past fields of
rice and tobacco, near the town of Nueva Era,
where one can get a glimpse of the hills and
mountains in the province of Abra. Here, beside a house that has been worn down by time
and weather was a small shack, by a field that
was tilled, ready for planting, with the rolling mountains forming a pensive backdrop.
Nearby, a pedal loom was in process of being
repaired or constructed under a thick clump
of bamboo. With iron sheet and grass roofing,
the shack was almost open, save for waist-high
walls of concrete blocks and pieces of woven
bamboo slats used to shield from the glare of
the sun. It was brimming with looms, spilling
into what looked like a patio.
An old woman, hunched with age,
came out and began swiftly sweeping the
floor as if readying the place for visitors. She
greeted us with a smile, obscured by the deep
lines on her face, as we reached the gate. She
wore a pale green blouse embroidered with
designs of flowers and curling leaves around
the neckline, and a white skirt embellished
with crisscrossing green dashes that became
florets at the intersections. The skirt she said
she made herself, bearing her favorite design.
By made, she meant woven by hand,
skilfully and meticulously interlacing the
threads and yarns to form the fabric and using techniques to create designs that emerge

as the cloth takes form out of the well-worn

loom. The design of the skirt she called inubon a sabong in Ilocano, string of flowers
or flowers strung together, created through
a curious weaving technique called pinilian.
Ninety-one-year-old Magdalena Gamayo, fondly called Nana Daleng, is currently
the most celebrated weaver in the Ilocos region. In 2012, President Benigno S. Aquino
III bestowed on her the Gawad sa Manlilikha
ng Bayan, or the National Living Treasures
Awards, the Philippines highest honor to
traditional artisans, craftsmen and folk artists,
who have displayed exemplary skills and artistry in and devotion to their crafts. She is the
first Ilocano weaver to be recognized since the
award was institutionalized in 1992.
The Ilocano of northwestern Philippines
have been known for their hand-weaving, a
tradition with ancient roots as evidenced by
its mention in songs and oral literature, according to traditional arts scholar and professor Norma A. Respicio. They had cultivated
the kapas or cotton, which is the main material for their textile, to spin it into yarns by
hand and weave them with pedal looms, locally called pangablan. They also employed
several dyeing techniques and had created numerous designs/patterns. The Ilocano weavers
know different weaving techniques such as
the basic plain weave, the double-toned basket weave or binakul, the multi-heddle weave
(binetwagan or tinumballitian), the brocade
weave or pinilian, and the discontinuous supplementary weft weave or insukit, among others. Each weaving community came to specialize in and became known for a weaving
and design technique.
According to Respicios book, Journey
of a Thousand Shuttles: The Philippine Weave

(2014), when Spain colonized the Philippines

in the sixteenth century, the colonial government recognized the beauty and strength of
the Ilocano textile and was known to send
bolts and bolts of it, along with gold collected in the region, to Europe. The eighteenth
century is considered to be a high point for
Ilocos weaving when there was great demand
for Ilocano textiles in the European markets.
In the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth century, Ilocano textiles experienced
demand for Katipunero uniforms as well as
for traditional attires, encouraged during the
time of Manuel L. Quezon. The popularity
of Ilocano textiles, however, waned over time,
especially when tobacco was introduced, replacing cotton as cash crops and the advent of
machine-produced textiles.
While losing popularity, the Ilocano
textile never lost its reputation. The Ilocano
hand-woven cloth, Respicio believes, is distinguished from all other Philippine and even
Asian textiles for its sturdiness in construction, stark simplicity of design, and practicality in function. (The 2012 Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan Folio, NCCA, 2012).
In recent years, there have been several movements to revitalize Ilocano handweaving. The common Ilocano words for
to weave, abel, and for a woven material,
inabel, have become terms used by outside
the region to mean textiles hand-woven by
the Ilocano.
While traditional hand weaving has
died out in many areas of the Ilocos region,
there are several communities that still continue the tradition. Known weaving centers
in the region are the towns of Paoay and Sarrat in Ilocos Norte; Caoayan, Santa, Bantay,
Santa Maria and Tagudin in Ilocos Sur; and
Bangar in La Union.
Unknown to many is the town of Pinili, one of the southernmost towns of Ilocos
Norte. Dr. Respicio accidentally stumbled
upon the town in the 1980s while researching the oral traditions and material culture
of the Itneg in neighboring Nueva Era,
which has a sizable Itneg population. Locals,
knowing she was also interested in weaving,
brought her to meet weavers in LumbaanBicbica, about two-kilometer walk from her
area of research. There, she first met Gamayo,
who was still actively weaving. Concentrated
on Itneg oral traditions, Respicio was not
able to delve more on the weaving in Pinili.
When she was doing research on Ilocano
weaving and visiting the different weaving
centers in the region in the 1990s, she rememThe weaving center in Ulipan, LumbaanBicbica, Pinili, Ilocos Norte, set up after
Gamayo was proclaimed Manlilikha ng Bayan

2015 Number 4 Agung 7

Several women of Pinili continue the tradition of Ilocano hand-weaving and are known for employing many techniques. Above is a textile of common
pattern being finished with an old piece of textile to cover the new work.

bered the weavers of Pinili and went back to

the town. Gamayo was still there but no longer
weaving due to the lack of good cotton yarns.
Her loom though was still set up in her house
and she was teaching her cousins daughter-inlaw, who had moved into the community after
marrying into Gamayos family.
In the largely agricultural town of Pinili, Lumbaan-Bicbica, a barangay of about
600 people, has the most weavers, and Respicio took particular interest in the weaving
community here. One immediately notices
the weavers penchant for vibrant and bold
colors. According to Respicio, their color
schemes are different from other Ilocano
groups. Their weaves are marked by creative and innovative combinations of colors
as well as by more intricate designs. More
importantly, the weavers use weaving techniques unknown in other places in the
whole Ilocos region, as well as know other
numerous techniques. One is the complicated pinilian, which uses sticks inserted on
selected warp threads to create designs that

float on the threads. The Pinili weavers are

said to be adept in the simultaneous warp
and weft-float type of pinilian called the impalagto, a technique unique in Pinili. Weavers such as Inocencia Gampong are adept in
weft impalagto. Gamayo produced the weft
impalagto crossed by warp-float pinilian. The
inubon nga sabong design is her masterpiece
in this unique pinilian technique.
Born on August 13, 1924, Gamayo has
lived all of her life in the farming and weaving community of Ulidan. Dittoyak latta
(Im from here), she told of her rootedness
to the land.
Agtaltalon da (They were farmers), she
remembered of her parents. Nana Daleng
was the first-born of nine childrenfive
boys and four girlsand faintly remembered her mother weaving.
Agab-abel met lang ngem adu ti naiyanakna. Adukami nga agkakabsat. Siamkami
nga agkakabsat ngamin; madi unay makaobra
idi (She also wove but she had many children
to take care of. We were nine, thus she was not

able to do much weaving then), she related.

Her mother though taught her the rudiments of hand-weaving and from then on
she learned from her aunts starting at the age
of fifteen.
Dagiti iikit ko ta adda babbaket a
babbalasang a kakabsat ni tatangko. Isuda ti
agab-abel a dati idi (My aunts, who were sisters of my father, were spinsters. They were
dedicated weavers), Nana Daleng said.
She remembered her youth when
weaving was still a common activity in her
neighborhood: Adukami idi. Adda iti pangablan dagiti babbaket ken balbalay ditoy idi
ta manmano pay lang iti balbalay ditoy idi.
Saggaysakami idi, ngem idi naisardeng, isu
idin naan-anay dagitoyen. Isu dagitoy ket baro
laeng nga impaaramidmi (We [weavers] were
many then. The old folks had looms in their
houses because there were just a few houses
here. We had one loom for each house. But
weaving stopped and some looms were eaten
by termites. These looms [here at the center]
are new ones we had them made).

8 Agung Number 4 2015

A young girl and a middle-age housewife are among Gamayos students

Nana Daleng had her first loom at the

age of nineteen. Her father acquired the wood
and employed a carpenter to build the loom,
and it lasted about thirty years. She bought
a second-hand one when her first loom went
into disrepair. During these times, the girls in
the neighborhood could get competitive, trying to be the fastest weaver.
Nagtalonak met idi kabaelak pay ti agtalon. No malpas ti talon, obraekon ti agabel
ta adda met latta ti gumatang no agabelka.
Kakasta ti ab-abelenmi idi. (I also did farming when I was able to farm. After working
in the fields, we would weave. Because there

were buyers as long as you weave. This is

what we wove then, she further said, running her fingers over the threads of a halffinished binakul cloth still on the loom.
Nana Daleng remembered harvesting cotton from the field and spinning it
by hand to make the threads. The threads
were then brushed with beeswax to make
them more resilient. After World War II, the
weavers used commercial threads, choosing
the best ones apt for weaving, but threads
were often in short supply. And this affected
the practice of weaving.
Awan met ti sag-ot idi nga magatangen,

sadimi met kabaelan a babbaketen ti agabel

isu a naisardeng. (There were no threads to
buy and the old weavers could not weave
anymore so the weaving stopped), Nana
Daleng related. Nabayag a ta idi naguba,
awan ti magatang a sag-ot idi, ngem idi kua
adda manen. Isu a naggatangkami manen.
Adda dita Santa Rosa ti pagalaanmi idi iti
kakasta a sag-ot, dagitay natibker a sag-ot (ti
magatang) dita Santa Rosa isu nagababelkami
met latta idi. (We stopped weaving for a long
time, when we could not get more yarns.
Then, there were yarns again. We got them
from Santa Rosa. The yarns from Santa Rosa
were resilient. Thus, we resumed weaving.)
Aggravating the situation was a local
belief. According to Respicio, when there is a
death in the community, weaving stops, sometimes for almost a year, a time lost for honing
and passing on the craft. But most deleterious
is the lack of interest in the tradition.
Ngem idi kua nagsardeng manen. Awan
mayaten idi madik kabaelanen. (In the long
run, the weaving stopped because no one
wanted to weave anymore by the time I
could no longer weave), Nana Daleng said.
In her family, Nana Daleng is the only
weaver left for quite some time.
Daydi la adiek a dumna kaniak ti nagabel
ta idi dimmakkel dagidiay dua a babbain, napanda met nagobra idiay Manilan. Nagpa-alilada metten a, ta awan met laeng ti kasasaadda.
(My sister who came after also wove but when
they got older my two sisters went to work in
Manila. They worked as maids there because
there is nothing here), she related.
Gamayos husband died long ago, and
her only child, a daughter, died during childbirth, leaving a grandson who now works in
a bank in Metro Manila. Nana Daleng virtually has no descendant to pass on the craft.
Instead, she shared her expertise with the few
interested weavers in community, keeping
the lovely craft alive.
She was regarded as a master weaver and
informally a mentor in her community. According to Respicio, it is a rare thing to find
a weaving community which employs many
weaving techniques, and even rarer to find
a person who knows most, if not all, of the
techniques and designs. Nana Daleng is one
such weaver. Her body of worktextiles used
for skirts and blouses, etc.has been passed
on from generation to generation, and displays fine craftsmanship honed by years of
dedication to the craft and her eye for colors
and designs, showing her innate artistry.
When the search for another batch of
Manlilikha ng Bayan was on, facilitated by
the NCCA, Gamayo was considered. In September 13, 2012, President Aquino signed

2015 Number 4 Agung 9

Proclamation Number 474, which declares
Nana Daleng a Manlilikha ng Bayan, for having contributed to the development of the
Ilocano abel by using traditional designs in
her work as well as perfecting weaving techniques that further enhance the uniqueness of
these designs, and passionately taught the
art of weaving and traditional designs to her
community, thus helping others identify with
their traditional culture through weaving.
The proclamation ceremonies were
held at the Malacanan Palace on November
8, 2012. She was feted together with Teofilo
Garcia, fellow Ilocano and maker of gourd
hats from San Quintin, Abra. It was her first
time to be that far from her hometown and
in a whirlwind of activities and emotions in
which she was at the center. From then, her
days became busy not only in teaching weaving in her community but also talking about
traditional Ilocano hand-weaving and inspiring other people in other parts of the country.
After the awarding, she was able to set
up a weaving center beside the house of her
parents, where she lives with her nephew,
son of a recently deceased brother. She was
able to procure eleven pedal looms.

Ginatangmi idiay Paoay dagitoy daan a

pagabelanmi. Tallo ti ginatangmi idiay Paoay idi
a nangrugrugiananmi a nagabel (Our old looms
we bought from Paoay. We bought three then
with which we started to weave), she related.
They found a carpenter in the barangay
of Liliputen who made the additional looms.
Aside from the daughter-in-law, a sisterin-law became one of her students. There are
now about ten weavers at her center, most of
them neighbors. Some of them have abandoned weaving but picked it up again with
the establishment of the weaving center. Most
of them are in their middle age but a couple
are preteen girls, one riding a motorbike and
sporting a tablet as if going to summer school.
According to Gamayo, patience is
needed in learning the intricate craft.
Saanen. Saan la ngaruden ta diak met
kayan. Bagbagaaklang idan kadagidiay araramidenda no kasano ti pamay-anda nga agaramid. Ngem isuda ti agub-obra (No, I cant
weave anymore. I just tell them how to do it
and they do the weaving), she said.
She has a bounty of patience as she goes
through the process with each student. She
only wishes for a longer life to continue this

Nana Daleng took out an old photo album containing swatches of some weaving
patterns and designsthe inal-alsong (Xs),
sinan-bola-bola (ball-like), different patterns
for the binakol, checkers for plain weaves,
pinaglatuan. She gently traced with her wizened fingers the inubon a sabong, white on
indigo, red and yellow on orange.
It was already high noon and the sun laid
bare the landscape of predominantly brown
and green. The unpaved road sometimes billowed with dust from the occasional traysikel
or motorcycle. Inside the shack, the clacks of
the looms could be heard as they churned out
rainbows of vivid colors determined by the
hands and imagination of weavers.
Nana Daleng instructed a weaver how
the string of flowers can be made, to emerge
from the neat rows of thread. She is often softspoken and succinct, but was elaborate and
animated with her weaves. She may not be
able to do the weaving herself now, but she
has nurtured a string of weavers who will carry on the age-old tradition of Ilocano weaving, contributing to the myriad blossoming of
our culture and tying us as a people.

Manlilikha ng Bayan Magdalena Gamayo surrounded by her weavers and students at her weaving center

10 Agung Number 4 2015

Women and their Weaves

Of the thirteen Manlilikha ng Bayan, five are women. All of them are weavers. Except for Magdalena
Gamayo who lives in Ilocos Norte, all of them hail from Mindanao. Except for Haja Amina Appi from
Tawi-Tawi, who wove colorful pandanus mats, all of them are textile weavers.
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
Lang Dulay was a Tboli weaver from Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. She was known for weaving the
traditional tnalak or the abaca ikat cloth of the Tboli. She produced creations of high quality, displaying
rich colors and fine workmanship. She knew a hundred designs, spun in textiles
reflecting the wisdom and visions of her people. She was conferred the Gawad sa
Manlilikha ng Bayan in 1998 and died on April 30, 2015, at the age of 86.

Photos by Renato S. Rastrollo

Tagabawa Bagobo
Bansalan, Davao del Sur
Salinta Monon of Davao del Sur fully demonstrated the creative and
expressive aspects of the Bagobo abaca ikat weaving, the inabal, at a time
when such art was threatened with extinction. Her mastery of the inabal was
unparalleled. With her keen eye for traditional designs, she used to identify the
design as well as the weaver just by a glance. She was conferred the Gawad sa
Manlilikha ng Bayan in 1998 and passed away on June 4, 2009, at the age of 88.
Parang, Sulu
From Sulu, Darhata Sawabi was hailed as an expert in weaving colorful squares of cloth used for the
pis syabit the traditional head covering of the Tausug, and for adornment of the native attire, bags and
accessories as well as in teaching the art to the younger generation. Her art is distinguished for its bold,
contrasting colors, the evenness of the weave and faithfulness to traditional designs. She was conferred the
Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan in 2004 and died on March 12, 2005.



In April 3, 1992, President Corazon C. Aquino signed Republic Act Number 7355, providing for
the recognition of the national living treasures, otherwise known as the Manlilikha ng Bayan, and the
promotion and development of traditional folk arts. It has its roots in the 1988 National Folk Artists
Award organized by the Rotary Club of Makati-Ayala. The Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan or the National
Living Treasures Award gives recognition to Filipino traditional craftsmen whose skills have reached a
high level of technical and artistic excellence and who are tasked to pass on to the present generation
knowledge threatened with extinction. In September 19, 2003, Executive Order No. 236 was signed,
conferring additional prestige on the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan by raising it to the level of a Cultural
Order, fourth in precedence among the orders and decorations that comprise the Honors of the
Philippines, and equal in rank to the National Artist Award and the Order of National Scientists. The
NCCA, through the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan Committee and an ad hoc panel of experts, conducts
the search for the finest practitioners of traditional arts and crafts, adopts a program that will ensure
the transfer of their skills to others and undertakes measures to promote a genuine appreciation of and
instill pride among our people about the genius of the Manlilikha ng Bayan.

2015 Number 4 Agung 11

Teacher-weavers showing students how to tie
the warp for the dye-resist process (left). The
expert weavers of the community tapped to
train new weavers and holding a kinutiyyan
(below). /Photos by John Paul T. Orallo

There are only twenty-eight Ifugao ikat

hand-weavers in Banaue, according to the
Lugo, Amaganad and Banaue Tie-Dye Weavers
Association (LABTDWA). To these, six more
were added recently as the community organization, which was formed in 2009 to revive,
popularize and promote the Ifugao ikat, held a
training on ikat and weaving as one of its steps
to transfer the traditional practice to other
members of the Ifugao community.
The ikat is a dyeing technique that uses the
resist dyeing process on the yarns before weaving
and dyeing the fabric. It is practiced in many
parts of Southeast Asia, including the Philippines where it is practiced by the Ifugao as well
as the Tboli and Blaan in the south, among

The ikat training was held from May 20
to June 5, 2015, at the sitio of South Pungot
in Amganad, Banaue, Ifugao, spearheaded by
The trainees were 47-year-old Norma
Aligwa, 56-year-old Rosa Lumidao, Jacinta Angayon, 55-year-old Adela Angayon, 56-year-old
Mary Gumunut, and Alice Bulawan, the youngest at 25 years old. With just two of them able
to finish college, these women earn by weaving,
farming and sewing. They were taught one-toone by master weavers for one month.
The five expert ikat weavers were Dudduli Dumangeng, Analiza Kangngitit, Alicia
Nadiahon, Benita Balangto, Virginia Cabbi-

gat and Felisa Dulnuan. Dudduli, the oldest

of the group at 92, learned the ikat technique
and weaving from another veteran weaver, Kahimgan Palatih. On the other hand, 57-yearold Nadiahon learned from Dudduli, while
62-year-old Balangto, 58-year-old Cabbigat
and 53-year-old Dulnuan were taught by another late master, Kittayan Niploy. Kangngitit
is the youngest among them at 39.
These experts taught the trainees the different steps in dyeing and weaving including
winding, warping, separation of thread, framing, tying, dyeing, drying, untying and the
actual weaving. The LABTDWA has six backstrap looms, which are being used by the weavers and were used for the training. They also
planted pandan and bulubulu, from which they
extract the dyes. There are plans to improve the
LABTDWA headquarters and training area
such as concretization and the setting up of a
drying area for the dyed textiles, and members
are seeking assistance from the local government. The organization will next conduct a
training on the making of the kinutiyyan and
inladdang (blanket) which would take a month
to finish. Report by John Paul T. Orallo

A Training on the Ifugao Ikat

Banaue Weavers Endeavor to Enliven Traditional Textile Weaving



Text and photos by Roel Hoang Manipon

nside the glass encasement, with its micro-weather of controlled temperature

and humidity to halt further damage,
the object appears to be a map of ancient
lands, very different from what we know
of present geography, its crannies remaining uncharted. At one point, it looks like
an old puzzle, with pieces forever missing
and patterns, obscured by age, at once familiar and inscrutable.
This is actually the oldest piece of
textile in existence in the Philippines.
Called the Banton cloth, it is estimated to
be from the thirteenth to the early fourteenth century. Considered to be the earliest specimen of wrap tie-dyed textile in
Southeast Asia, the Banton cloth was discovered in April 22, 1966 by a team from
National Museum, after being informed
by a local of a cave complex, an ancient
burial site, in Banton Island of the province of Rombon in Central Philippines.
Inside the already disturbed cave, the team
found wooden coffins, Chinese stone jars,
Chinese and Siamese plates and bowls,
ornaments, glass beads, turtle shell combs
and the abaca cloth, which measures 74.5
centimeters in length and 75 centimeters
in width. It was declared a National Cultural Treasure in 2010.
Museologist and anthropologist Ana
Maria Theresa Labrador, assistant director
of the National Museum of the Philippines, theorizes that the Banton cloth may
be a trade object, brought to the island
from other areas, even from outside of the
On the other hand, Philippine traditional arts professor Norma Respicio, in
her book Journey of a Thousand Shuttles:
The Philippine Weave (2014), writes: The
interplay of plain stripes and designed
bands in the Banton cloths attests to the
dexterity of the textile producer in the art
and technology of weaving, dyeing and
ikat designing where interfaced designs
are produced through the tying of certain
parts of the warp yarns in a series of folds.
Moreover, the designs, both the non-figurative and the figurative forms, bear social
and cultural significations in traditional
Philippine aesthetics.
Which ever, the Banton cloth remains to be a mystery that tantalizes both
the scholars and the layman visitors, an

14 Agung Number 4 2015

The exhibition features different kinds of looms in the

Philippines as well as other implements for weaving and the
finished textiles. Large-scale photographs by Wig Tysman
features selected indigenous peoples in their tradtional wears.

enigmatic gem of the National Museum (NM) for several years. Now, the
precious artefact has a new home, though still within NM. The museum
has unveiled a new section dedicated to Philippine textiles and the art and
technology of weaving at the third floor of the Museum of the Filipino
People (old Finance Building). The Queen Sofia Hall and Hall 318 were
converted into the Textile Galleries, which was formally unveiled in May
18, 2012. In September 21, their permanent exhibit, Hibla ng Lahing
Filipino: The Artistry of Philippine Textiles, began seeing visitors.
The idea for the Textile Galleries sparked when like-minded individuals met and then collaborated. NM credits Loren Legarda as a moving force
behind the creation of the galleries. The senator who chairs the Senate
Committee on Cultural Communities, has been promoting traditional woven textiles, her passion which became part of her advocacy to preserve
indigenous culture. Legarda has been known for wearing gowns fashioned
from hand-woven traditional fabrics and has showcased native fabrics and
Philippine attires in several exhibits in the Senate.
But I have long dreamed of seeing a textile museum in my own country, she revealed. With more than a hundred indigenous cultural communities in our country, we should showcase our rich culture and the distinctiveness of our own habi.
In 2010, Legarda met NM director Jeremy Barns and Labrador, which
started the ball rolling, overcoming the hurdles that came their way.
NM sourced from its own collections to put into the Textile Galleries. Other government agencies and institutions became partners and supporters in the endeavour including the Office of Senator Loren Legarda,
the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) of the Department of
Agriculture, the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) of the Department of Science and Technology, and the University of the Philippines
Asian Center.
The Aklan Provincial Tourism Council and HIBLA contributed additional looms. Congressman Victor Ortega of the First District of La Union,
Ilocos Sur vice governor Deogracias Victor Savellano and councilor Edmund Gavina of Bangar, La Union also contributed items to the museum.
Its really convergence, Legarda said. There is really cooperation and
convergence among government agencies.
Labrador served as chief curator of the exhibition, which aims to provide a preliminary survey and study of the similarities of the traditional
We finally thought we should really think about nation and how tex-

2015 Number 4 Agung 15

The Banton cloth, estimated to be from the thirteenth to the early fourteenth century, is the oldest exsiting piece of cloth in the Philippines and
is considered to be the earliest specimen of wrap tie-dyed textile in Southeast Asia. It was discovered in a disturbed burial site in Banton Island,
Romblon, along with other artefacts. /Photo from the National Museum of the Philippines

tiles bind us a nation, Labrador related.

So, we look at the common practices,
common threads, common fibers, that are
really kind of found all over the country.
The word is commonality and the ties
that bind, the threads of life, Legarda affirmed. These are perhaps three phrases
or words that formed part of the work
weve done here, because we are an archipelago, we have many ethno-linguistic
groups, we have about 80 provinces with
about 41,000 barangays, we have more
than a hundred of languages. Were so
diverse. But textiles, and with the various
textiles, however, we try to find the commonality, the unity amidst this diversity.
That is what were pushing for here. We
do not want to further divide the nation
by displaying the textiles geographically.

So, what Ana did was to find the ikat of

the North and the ikat of the South, or
the embroideries of the Cordilleras, which
have commonality with those of the Muslim groups.
Hibla ng Lahing Filipino looks into
the likenesses, exchanges and borrowing
of designs and forms in local weaves, believing that they can be coaxed to reveal
visions of a national identity through
threads that when woven as textile, may
piece together their different stories.
The exhibition tells the processes of
weaving, informing visitors first of the different fibers used by the different ethnic
groups with weaving traditions. Abaca and
cotton are commonly used by many ethnic
groups. An attractive chart, reproduced
from the 2009 book Bahaghari: Colors of

the Philippines, shows the natural dyes that

have been used all over the Philippines,
from the karimbabul to the malunggay.
The different looms used by different groups, such as the foot loom and the
back-strap loom, are displayed in one area,
enabling visitors to compare and contrast.
Other production materials can also be
seen and marveled at. The finished textiles
are laid out to reveal their beauty..
The exhibit illustrates the social significance of textiles in different communities, the roles they play in rituals and in
life, from birth to death. Aside from the
Banton cloth, another National Cultural
Treasure is on displaythe kinuttiyan of
the Ifugao, a ritual death blanket of the kadangyan, the high-ranking members of the
Ifugao community. The one here is col-

16 Agung Number 4 2015

The kinuttiyan, made of cotton and dyed using the binudbudan or wrap-ikat tie-dyed resist
technique, is the ritual death blanket of the kadangyan, the high-ranking members of the
Ifugao community. This specimen, declared a National Cultural Treasure, was collected in June
13, 1968 by William Beyer in Amanagad, Banaue, Ifugao. /Photo from the National Museum of
the Philippines

lected in June 13, 1968 by William

Beyer in Amanagad, Banaue, Ifugao.
Additionally, large photographs
of several indigenous people wearing their traditional attires, such as
the Mandaya, decorate the walls,
taken by prominent photographer
Wyg Tysmans. At another part are
historic photographs of several ethnic
groups in traditional garb at the 1904
St. Louis Exposition (courtesy of the
American Museum of National History archives).
Also part of the exhibit are
gowns, dresses and barong Tagalog by
prominent fashion designers such as
Jojie Lloren, Cesar Gaupo, Barge Ramos, Frederick Peralta, Milka Quin
and Roy Gonzales.
The Textile Galleries are not only
repositories of precious artefacts and
specimens but they also serve as venues for lectures and live weaving demonstrations by actual weavers, which
are occasionally mounted during Fridays and Saturdays.
The Senator Loren Legarda Lecture Series on Philippine Traditional
Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge
officially started on March 13, 2012,
along with the preview of the Textile
In this modern day and age, it is
quite a difficult task to make our people embrace our culture since many
may have long forgotten about it.
But if they refuse to visit our history,
we must let history visit them. These
Textile Galleries and the lecture series
we organized are some of our efforts
towards that, Legarda commented.
Tagabawa Bagobo weavers, pia
weavers from Aklan, weavers from
the Cordilleras as well as from the
Ilocos Region have been brought in
for visitors to witness and experience
actual weaving. Mat and basket weavers from different cultural communities have also been invited.
Labrador admitted that the galleries are not thoroughly comprehensive. We chose because it cant possibly accommodate everything, but
were hoping someday we can have a
standalone museum for textiles, she
Its a work in progress, Legarda
added. Im not saying its perfect but

2015 Number 4 Agung 17

were trying.
Right now, ideas, plans and dreams are being woven.
Legarda mentioned plans of bringing in the textile collection of
one of Philippines most revered heroes, Jose Rizal. It is presently at
the Ethnological Museum of Berlin in Germany. Another plan is the
collection of sketches of Filipino fashion designers, which are usually
discarded after use.
What we want to do is also to create an archive of Filipino fashion designs, Labrador revealed. We want to be a reference later on
for maybe designers or merchandisers, [a place to] look at what we
have. Its really to inspire later on to generate more innovations and
She also said that theyre starting a program on economic botany in collaboration with FIDA and PTRI because we want to be
more relevant to local people.
So, were experimenting now with fibers to see if we can harness
them that can be turned into something else so that local people could
actually have a means of livelihood, Labrador said.
With these, the National Museum is tying together life and
death, tradition and innovation, past and future, and the different
cultures with imagination and the fibers of our country.

Both traditional attires and gowns made by contemporary designers, using

hand-woven fabrics, are on display at the Textile Galleries


The National Museum of the Philippines is the countrys premier institution and repository of its heritage with an aim of inspiring people to learn from their traditions
so as to help shape a better future. It is also dedicated to the mission of collecting,
preserving, studying, interpreting and exhibiting the cultural and natural history specimens of the Philippines, from the historic times to the present, albeit the diversity of
their cultural origins. The Museum of the Filipino People, where the Textile Galleries
are, is part of the National Museum complex and is located along Finance Road, Ermita,
Manila. Visiting hours are from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M., Tuesdays to Sundays. For more information, visit


18 Agung Number 4 2015

A Visayan folk tale

ne day a man said to his wife: My wife,

we are getting very poor, and I must go
into business to earn some money.
That is a good idea, replied his wife.
How much capital have you?
I have twenty-five centavos, answered
the man, and I am going to buy rice and carry
it to the mines, for I have heard that it brings a
good price there.
So he took his twenty-five centavos and
bought a half-cavan of rice which he carried on
his shoulder to the mine. Arriving there, he told
the people that he had rice for sale, and they
asked eagerly how much he wanted for it.
Why, have you forgotten the regular
price of rice? asked the man. It is twenty-five
They at once bought the rice, and the man
was very glad because he would not have to
carry it any longer. He put the money in his
belt and asked if they would like to buy any

Illustrations by Ryan Arengo

Yes, said they, we will buy as many cavans as
you will bring.
When the man reached home his wife asked if
he had been successful.
Oh, my wife, he answered. It is a very good
business. I could not take the rice off my shoulder
before the people came to buy it.
Well, that is good, said the wife; we shall
become very rich.
The next morning the man bought a halfcavan of rice the same as before and carried it
to the mine and when they asked how much it
would be, he said:
It is the same as beforetwenty-five
centavos. He received the money and went home.
How is the business today? asked his wife.
Oh, it is the same as before, he said. I could
not take the rice off my shoulder before they came
for it.
And so he went on with his business for a year,

2015 Number 4 Agung 19

each day buying a half-cavan of rice and selling it
for the price he had paid for it. Then one day his
wife said that they would balance accounts, and
she spread a mat on the floor and sat down on one
side of it, telling her husband to sit on the opposite
side. When she asked him for the money he had
made during the year, he asked: What money?
Why, give me the money you have received,
answered his wife, and then we can see how
much you have made.
Oh, here it is, said the man, and he took the
twenty-five centavos out of his belt and handed it
to her.
Is that all you have received this year? cried
his wife angrily. Havent you said that rice brought
a good price at the mines?
That is all, he replied.
How much did you pay for the rice?
Twenty-five centavos.
How much did you receive for it?
Twenty-five centavos.
Oh, my husband, cried his wife, how can you
make any gain if you sell it for just what you paid
for it.
The man leaned his head against the wall
and thought. Ever since then he has been called
Mansumandig, a man who leans back and thinks.
Then the wife said, Give me the twenty-five
centavos, and I will try to make some money. So
he handed it to her, and she said, Now, you go to
the field where the people are gathering hemp and
buy twenty-five centavos worth for me, and I will
weave it into cloth.
When Mansumandig returned with the hemp
she spread it in the sun, and as soon as it was dry
she tied it into a long thread and put it on the
loom to weave. Night and day she worked on
her cloth, and when it was finished she had eight
varas. This she sold for twelve and a half centavos
a vara, and with this money she bought more
hemp. She continued weaving and selling her

cloth, and her work was so good that people were

glad to buy from her.
At the end of a year she again spread the mat
on the floor and took her place on one side of it,
while her husband sat on the opposite side. Then
she poured the money out of the blanket in which
she kept it upon the mat. She held aside her capital,
which was twenty-five centavos, and when she
counted the remainder she found that she had
three hundred pesos. Mansumandig was greatly
ashamed when he remembered that he had not
made cent, and he leaned his head against the wall
and thought. After a while the woman pitied him,
so she gave him the money and told him to buy a
He was able to buy ten carabaos and with these
he plowed his fields. By raising good crops they were
able to live comfortably all the rest of their lives.

NOTE: This story is culled from book Philippine Folk Tales (A.C. McClurg & Co., 1916, Chicago), compiled and annotated by American
anthropologist Mabel Cook Cole

20 Agung Number 4 2015

A Tboli myth

nce upon a time, princess and the first

weaver Boi Henwu fell in love with Lemugut
Mangay, a man who lives in the sky. She
decided to go live with him in the sky.
From earth, Boi Henwu ascended towards the
sky together with her house, bringing with her
different kinds of birds and animals.
While on the journey to the sky, she continued
to do household chores and other things she used
to do while on Earth.
She took her bogul lemubag and threw it out of
the window. It became a bird called Fu.
The bird Fu sings at night to the weavers to
remind them to continue the tradition of weaving.
Boi Henwu remembered she had to leave behind
several designs for the weavers to follow. She threw
out her pet python and her blouse, which turned
into a flying lemur.
These animals would inspire people to create
designs for their tnalak and embroidery.
Boi Henwu continued to appear in their dreams
to teach women more designs for the tnalak. She
also continued to work in the sky.
When Tudbulul needed a new shirt, Boi Henwu
would extract the spittle of the sun with which to
weave him a new shirt. When this happened, there
was a solar eclipse.
When the sister of Tudbulul, Kenaban, needed
her blouse to be embroidered, Boi Henwu would
extract the spittle of the moon, which she used to
embroider the blouse. This is why there is a lunar

Illustration by Ryan Arengo

NOTE: This story is one of the folk stories collected by the students and teachers of Santa Cruz Mission School of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. It is
here retold by Roel Hoang Manipon. Boi Henwu is a popular character in Tboli folklore and myths, described as the first woman created by Tboli
supreme deity Dwata, the first princess and the first weaver. Tudbulul is the great mythical hero of the Tboli. Bogul lemubag is an implement used
for pounding the tnalak to make it smooth and flat while being washed in the river.

2015 Number 4 Agung 21

eaving techniques and embroideries symbolize Southeast

Asians unique identity, tradition
and heritage. A glimpse of these are afforded
at the exhibit, Woven Identities: Clothing
Traditions of ASEAN, which is mounted by
the NCCA, in cooperation with SM Supermalls.
Woven Identities: Clothing Traditions
of ASEAN tours different SM malls around
Metro Manila and some parts of Luzon from
June through December this year as part of
the awareness campaign towards the realization of the ASEAN community in 2015.
This is part of its continuing commitment to the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Committee on Culture
and Information (ASEAN-COCI) in implementing the commemorative activities for
the ASEAN Integration 2015.
Woven Identities started its tour at
the Event Centre 2 of SM City Clark in
Pampanga from June 10 to 15, 2015. From
there, it was transferred SM City Lucena
Atrium from June 23 to 28; and SM City
Baliuag from August 5 to 9. It will also be

at the SM City Marikina from September

18 to 24; SM City Masinag from September
38 to October 4; SM Center Angono from
October 5 to 11; SM City San Mateo from
October 12 to 18; SM City Taytay from
October 19 to 25 and SM San Lazaro from
October 26 to 29.
Featured in the exhibit are the full
traditional attire of the ten member states,
complete from footwear and accessories
the terno and the barong Tagalog of the
Philippines; the ao dai and ao gam of Vietnam; Laoatian xout lou; Cambodias sampot;
Myanmars yinzi and tikepon; suea phraratchathan and chong kraben of Thailand; Malaysia and Brunei Darussalams variants of
their baju kurungand baju Melayu; the Indonesian kebaya and jas betawi; and Singapores
traditional Peranakan attire.
According to NCCAs OIC-executive
director Adelina Suemith, the exhibit is a
way of conveying a message of affirmation
of the Philippines unity and solidarity with
its fellow ASEAN member states, especially
on the cusp of the ASEAN Integration 2015.
Through this project, we hope to bring

several messages to the public. First, that the

Philippines is a member of the ASEAN, and
second, that it shares a rich textile and clothing tradition that stands parallel with its
ASEAN neighbours, Suemith said.
Charisse Aquino-Tugade, head of the
curatorial team, noted the identifying quality of the wrap-around skirt among the
Southeast Asian community as each ASEAN
member state sports its own variant and use
of the piece of clothingthe malong of the
Philippines, the sampot of Cambodia and the
sarong of Indonesia.
The exhibit was initially installed at the
Bulwagang Apolinario Mabini of the Department of Foreign Affairs on the occasion
of the commemorative reception of the 47th
ASEAN Day Celebration in Manila in August 2014. Gretchen del Rosario and NCCA
chairman Felipe de Leon Jr., along with
heads of missions and representatives from
the embassies of ASEAN Member States, led
the opening of the exhibit. Woven Identities was also mounted at the Senate of the
Philippines in Pasay City, and the NCCA
Gallery in Intramuros, Manila.

Geared for ASEAN Integration

Southeast Asian Attires Exhibit Travels Around Luzon

In Southeast Asia, traditional attire has played a significant
societal role. Depicting ethnic affiliation, social status and religion,
traditional attire not only serves as ornamentation but also embodies
the development and heritage of a nation and transforms an
individual person into a bearer of tradition.
The countries that belong to the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN)Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia,
Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnamcarry age-old
traditions of dressing. With ancient kingdoms and belief systems that
span millennia, dressing has been relegated to an art form, following
certain protocol and mores, and modified further due to economic
changes, foreign influences, or when commanded by a ruling party. A
simple fold may signify a difference in position or status.
Trade plays an essential key in the exchange of ideas and
traditions, which is exemplified in the many shared forms among
Southeast Asian attires and textiles. The wrap-around skirt, for
example, is the quintessential Southeast Asian garment. Although it
may all look the same to the untrained eye, a single piece of fabric
can be twisted, knotted and folded in a myriad of ways depicting
where the person is from, and even his religious beliefs.
With a plethora of weaving techniques, dyeing styles, and
raw material, the woven textiles that make up the fabrics and
attire in Southeast Asia are unparalleled. Today, bright gold and
colorful tapestries and patterns along with exquisite drapings and
embroideries are common in Southeast Asian attires.
The Southeast Asian dress of today employs designs from the
ancient past while utilizing present weaving techniques and style.
Clothing doesnt only serve as decoration but becomes an active
participant in molding and shaping the culturescape of a nation.


The barot saya is a traditional attire

for women comprising of a kamisa
(blouse), saya (skirt), kamison
(undergarment), sobra palda or tapis
(overskirt), and panuelo (collared
shawl). The blouse has a specific
bell sleeve, which was modified
in the mid-twentieth century into
a butterfly sleeve and called a
terno. The barong Tagalog is the
national formal attire for men. It
is a lightweight long-sleeved top
complemented by black or darkcolored pants.

22 Agung Number 4 2015



The chut Thai chakkraphat consists of a tube

top, a na-nang skirt and a shawl with fine
embroidery and decorated with beautiful
ornaments. Suea phraratchathan is the
national male attire and literally means
royally bestowed shirt. It has five round
buttons on the front with similar fabric to that
of the jacket.

The Myanmar longyi is the

national attire for both men and
women. It is a cylindrical shaped
cloth which men slipped over
their head and stepped into by
women. It is tucked at the waist
and fastened at different ways.
Men fold the garment into two
panels and knot it at the waist,
and women tucked it on the side
of the waist.

Te sampot is the classic attire
of Cambodians. It is a lower
garment used by both men
and women. Women wear the
chang pok , a kind of covering.

The national costume of Laos
(xout lou) has similarities with
its Southeast Asian neighbors,
although the styling and design
are uniquely Laotian, with regional
and ethnic variations. In Luang
Prabang, gold and silver threads
are prevalent, while designs from
the south include elephants motifs
and beadworks.

The ao di is the Vietnamese
national attire for women, which
comprises a long-sleeved tunic
with a slit on both sides over a
silk pants.
o gam is the attire for
men. o gam is crafted from a
thicker fabric with Vietnamese
embroidery and worn loosely
above pantaloons.

2015 Number 4 Agung 23

The baju kurong is the
national dress for women,
consisting of a loose tunic
along with a tube skirt and is
complimented with a head scarf.
The baju cara Melayu is
the national attire for men that
includes a loose, long-sleeved
shirt or baju seluar or trousers, and
a sarong worn around the waist
over the shirt and pants called
kain sinjang or kain samping.

The kebaya is the national costume
for women in Indonesia. It is a
basic blouse with a V- or U-shaped
neckline that comes down to the
waist or knees. It is crafted from silk,
cotton and other blended materials
and is adorned with brocade and
floral embroidery. The jas betawi
is the national costume for men,
consisting of a black blazer with a
gold trimmings and slacks along
with a colorful sarong and a songkok
or brimless, dark-colored hat.

National attire for women is the baju
kurung ensemble, a loose, longsleeved, collarless blouse worn over a
long skirt. For men, the baju Melayo
comprises a loose tunic with a cekak
musang collar, trousers and a sarong
tied around the waist.

For the traditional Peranakan

attire, women wear the Nyonya
kebaya with a translucent top, worn
over an undershirt and a batikdesigned sarong. For the men,
batik shirt and black pants are worn.

Text by Charisse Aquino-Tugade

Art by Rosalie Norico Mendiola

24 Agung Number 4 2015

Reading Norma Absing Respicios Journey of a Thousand Shuttles: The Philippine Weave

2015 Number 4 Agung 25

For anyone interested in traditional hand-weaving

and textiles and is looking for a place to start learning
about, Norma A. Respicios book Journey of a Thousand
Shuttles: The Philippine Weave is a very apt introduction.
The 154-page book, published by the National
Commission for Culture and the Arts and partially
funded by the United States Embassy Manila under its
Cultural Heritage program in 2014, is the perfect companion to embark on a journey of knowing the precious
craft of hand-weaving and an important aspect of Filipino heritage and culture. And Respicio is an excellent
teacher and storyteller for this.
Respicio really meant Journey of a Thousand Shuttles to be an introduction, part of an envisioned series of
seven books on Philippine textile weaving, corresponding
to the number of major culture groupings in textile craft.
It is hoped that this introductory book will allow
the reader, particularly the Philippine audience, to have
a more expansive and critical view of their textiles as an
artistic expression and a cultural heritage, Dr. Respicio
wrote in the preface.
She proves to be a most apt guide for this journey
of learning. Respicio is a professor in art studies at the
University of the Philippines with specialization on the
history and aesthetics of traditional art forms, particularly textiles. Regarded as an outstanding researcher, she
co-authored the 2010 book Tawid, The Living Treasures
of Ilocos Sur.
Respicio has been researching about Philippine textiles for many years now, particularly from 1981 until

the present. Not only that, she comes from a family

of Ilocano weavers. Her grandmother and grandaunt
were weavers while her great grandmother was an
expert cotton yarn spinner using the spindle whorls.
Thus, there is an intimate feel in the way she goes
through the story of weaving, and there are many
stories about the craft, which she deftly gathered to
weave into a tapestry that tells the colorful and rich
narrative of our culture.
Journey of a Thousand Shuttles starts by situating
the cultural practice in a place and blooms into map
pointing the locations of the different ethnic groups
with strong weaving traditions as well as the materials they use. The book proceeds to tell the history of
weaving in the country. Different sections delve into
the different fibers used for weaving (abaca, bast and
plant fibers, cotton, pineapple leaves and silk), the
dyestuffs, the looms (back-strap and pedal), the design techniques and the weaving communities. The
book also illustrates the economic, religious/spiritual, cultural and social significance of the textiles, ending with comments on the present situation.
The book is interspersed with interesting bits
of information and attractive photographs, making
the learning journey a colorful and pleasureable one,
with the authors voice and words inviting and gracious.
Journey of a Thousand Shuttles was a finalist in
the Art Category of the 34th National Book Awards.
It has also been accepted to be part of the New York
Public Librarys collection.

26 Agung Number 4 2015

Cinema Rehiyon 7

Spotlights Cebu
By Maria Glaiza Lee

ot many people are aware that Cebu has a very rich and colorful film
history. During the golden years of Philippine cinema, far from the
mainstream film grid, there was a blossoming of a cinema industry that
reflected the social realities in the province of Cebu, showing the inner lives, sentiments and inclinations of its people.
As early as 1906, movie houses had mushroomed throughout the province
where large crowds would gather to watch homegrown movies such as Piux Kabahars Bertoldo ug Baludoy, considered as Cebus first talking film.
The oldest theater in Cebu was Teatro Junquera, which was originally built
in 1895. When the fire razed it down, the owners rebuilt and renamed it Cine
Oriente. Perdo Royo transformed his cockpit into a movie house and called it
Cine Royo. In 1927, Cine Magallanes was opened.
After a short respite because of World War II, the Cebuano film industry
made a comeback with Manuel Velezs Sa Kabukiran in 1947 and continued to
flourish. From 1950 to 1957, the second golden era of the Cebuano cinema, there
were about 30 Cebuano film production companies that had produced over 50
movies. Until the later part of the 1970s, the Cebuano local film industry continued to produce films such as Bulawan sa Lapok, Ay Takya, ay Takya, and Ulan
Udtong Tutok, among others.
The succeeding years have seen the slow decline in the local movie scene.
Producers suddenly shifted to television for economic reasons. Cebuano actors
started looking for more lucrative options. What was once a booming industry
became a non-sustainable economy, hence, the beginning of the long hibernation
of Cebuano cinema.
Lifeline, 1969
The NCCA recognizes Cebu as the second largest film-producing region in
the country after Metro Manila, especially during the 1950s and 1960s. Cinema Rehiyon, the flagship project of NCCAs National Committee on Cinema
(NCC), headed by filmmaker William Mayo, aims to enrich Philippine cinema
with largely undiscovered filmic creativity from the regions and made its way to
the heart of the Central Visayas.
Every year, the Cinema Rehiyon has the mission to reinvigorate national
cinema by putting the spotlight on the regions. Before Cinema Rehiyon, Cebu
has contributed talents both on-screen and off-screen, as well as a unique cinema
culture to the diversity that has always been present yet understated in Philippine
cinema, enthused festival director Maria Victoria Bambi Beltran.
With the theme At the Crossroads of the Seventh Art, this years festival
was held in Cebu to recognize Cebus role in Philippine cinema.
Cebu has a unique situation. A local industry sprung from the province
around 1932 to 1975. Also, there is a resurgence of a new breed of Cebuano filmmakers, shared NCC vice head Teddy Co.
Kicking off Cinema Rehiyon 7 was Badlis sa Kinabuhi (Lifeline), a 1969 Cebuano box-office hit directed by Leroy Salvador and starred Mat Ranillo Jr. and
Gloria Sevilla. Through the years, Cebu has lost most of its more than 200 films
that have been produced during the last decades, including Badlis sa Kinabuhi.
But through joint efforts, what was once thought to be lost has been resurrected.
The newly- restored Cebuano film follows the story of a Cebuano family

2015 Number 4 Agung 27

The Cinema Rehiyon opening film is the classic Cebuano film Badlis sa Kinabuhi, first shown in April 1969. Long thought to be lost, Badlis sa
Kinabuhi, directed by Leroy Salvador and written by Junipher, stars Gloria Sevilla and Mat Ranillo Jr.

that has been torn apart when the mother

(played by Sevilla) kills her harsh stepfather who tried to rape her. Playing significant roles were Mat Ranillo Jr., Felix De
Catalina, Danilo Nuez, Aurora Villa,
Siux Cabase, Frankie Navaja, Jr. and Remedios Atillio Alivio.
In 1970, the film made its debut in
its original Cebuano version in Manila
and did well at the box office. It even received 12 nominations at the 18th FAMAS
Awards, winning the Best Actress award for
Sevilla and Best Child Performer award for
Frankie Navaja Jr. A posthumous award
was given to Ranillo, who died the previous year in a plane crash.
Badlis sa Kinabuhi was the Philippine
entry to the ASEAN Film Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, and was showcased under

the informative division of the Berlin Film

Festival. Years after, Sevilla and her daughter Suzette Ranillo won the FAMAS Best
Actress and Supporting Actress awards respectively for their 1974 film Gimingaw
During Cinema Rehiyon 7, Sevilla received the Hara Humamay Award from the
Cebuano Cinema Development Council.
Aside from Badlis sa Kinabuhi and Gimingaw Ako, Sevilla also starred in and won the
Best Supporting Actress award for Madugong Paghihiganti. In 2007, FAMAS gave
her a Lifetime Achievement Award. Today,
Sevilla continues to appear in Philippine
films and television. She recently won New
Wave Best Supporting Actress award at the
40th Metro Manila Film Festival in 2014
for the film M Mothers Maiden Name.

The King of Visayan Movies, Ranillo,

was awarded the Rajah Humabon Award.
The Bulakna awards went to actress Pilar
Pilapil and Suzette Ranillo. Cebuano actors Julian Daan and Undo Juizan (first
Cebuano FAMAS Best Child Actor awardee for Salingsing sa Kasakit) took home the
Lapu-Lapu Award.
Cinema in the Regions
From August 6 to 9, 2015, the Cinema Rehiyon 7 showcased 17 full-length
features and 57 short films sourced from
all over the country and chosen to celebrate
the diverse Filipino heritage and present a
discourse on cinema in the regions being a
big part of the national film industry.
Screened at SM City Cebu, Cine Oriente and Film Media Arts Academy, the

28 Agung Number 4 2015

During Cinema Rehiyon 7, Gloria Sevilla received the Hara Humamay Award from the Cebuano Cinema Development Council, while fellow
Cebuano actors Suzette Ranillo and Pilar Pilapil received the Bulakna awards. Kidlat Tahimik (below) was also present at the festival, where his
Balikbayan #1: Memories of Overdevelopment Redux III closed the event. /Photos by Marvin Alcaraz

films were clustered into thematic categories. The category delving in the aftermaths
of super typhoon Haiyan (locally called
Yolanda) featured T.M. Maloness Dapya
Sang Paglaum, Charena Escala and Rowena
Sanchess documentary Nick and Chai, and
Thomas Fitzgeralds Tigdong.
Films focusing on indigenous traditions included Nef Luczons documentary
on the Panay Bukidnon titled Father Said,
Lets Return Home, Lester del Valles Walang
Rape sa Bontok, Adjani Arumpacs War is
a Tender Thing, and Ivy Universe Baldosas
Other notable works were Boyong
and Sendongs Busol: The Last Headhunters,
Remton Zuasolas Soap Opera (the festivals
pre-opening film), Baby Ruth Villaramas
Little Azkals, Bagane Fiolas Sonata Maria,
John Paul Laxamanas Magkakabaung, Lemuel Lorcas Mauban: Ang Resiko, Charliebeb Gohetias Chasing the Waves, and Alec
Figuracions Bitukang Manok.
In between the screenings were the
various forums such as Re-Imagining Regional Cinema, which looked into the no-

2015 Number 4 Agung 29

tion of cinema from the region and revisited their aspect of authenticity, subversion and contribution to the national cinema,
and The Regional as the Other in Cinema, which explored to
what degree the region has accepted the peripheralization that
the regional film industry has produced.
There were also talks, including Getting the World to See
Your Films, which addressed the crisis of arts and discussed
audience development, film education and marketable forms
and contents; and Film As Heritage: Restoring and Remembering Cebuano Film Classics.
Closing the festival was Kidlat Tahimiks Balikbayan #1:
Memories of Overdevelopment Redux III, a tribute to the preHispanic Cebuano. It presupposes that Enrique of Malacca, a
Visayan slave brought by Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, could possibly be considered the first man to circumnavigate the world. Tahimik starred as Enrique, with George
Steinberg, Kawayan de Guia, Wigs Tysman, Katrin de Guia,
Kabunyan de Guia and Danny Orquico. The film won the
Caligari Film Prize at the 65th Berlin International Forum of
New Cinema in February 2015. It was also screened and wellreceived at the Singaporean Biennale and the 39th Hong Kong
International Film Festival in April.
Now on its seventh year, Cinema Rehiyon features works
of Filipino filmmakers from all over the Philippines, especially
outside of Metro Manila, raising awareness on the efforts on
and progress of filmmaking in the different regions. It becomes
a platform for these films from the regions, most of which are
in local languages and showing culturally-rooted narratives, to
be exhibited and appreciated by a wider audience, and for the
filmmakers to interact with fellow filmmakers and stakeholders.
Cinema Rehiyon has been a major part of the Philippine
Arts Festival, NCCAs celebration of the National Arts Month
every February. The first two years of Cinema Rehiyon was held
at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City. Since
2011, it was held in different parts of the countryDavao
City in 2011; Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, in 2012; Los
Banos, Laguna, in 2013; and Cagayan de Oro City in 2014.
This years Cinema Rehiyon was led by NCC head William Mayo, NCC vice-head Teddy Co and festival director
Maria Victoria Beltran. Other NCC members include Rosanni
R. Sarile (secretary), Ramon Sixto C. Nocon (assistant secretary), Tito G. Valiente, Patrick F. Campos, Archi R. Adamos,
Ramon F. Ramos, Ellen O. Marfil, Katrina Ross A. Tan, Lou
Rafael B. Canedo and Martin R. Masadao (members).

The forum /Photo by Marvin Alcaraz


Presently located at the Colonnade Mall in downtown Cebu
City, Cine Oriente is widely considered the oldest surviving movie
house in Cebu. It started out as a theater where musical programs,
operas, plays, vaudeville and even silent movies, were shown. It was
known as Teatro Junquera, established in 1895.
Teatro Junquera was witness to many significant events. It was
here Governor General William Howard Taft and the members of
the Philippine Commission spoke before Cebuanos in 1901. Vicente Sotto staged his play Ang Gugma sa Yutang Natawhan in 1902.
In 1915, Don Jose Avila purchased Teatro Junquera and renamed it Cine Oriente. By 1920, Cine Oriente became the premier venue for silent films in Cebu City. With this, Avila started
his career in show business, which eventually earned him the title
Father of Cebu Cinema.
In March 1930, Cine Oriente initiated Cebuanos into sound
film by premiering The Singing Fool, a Warner Brothers part-talkie
musical drama.
Between 1941 and 1945, the theater was destroyed, along
with many areas of the city, during the Japanese invasion. After the
war, Cine Oriente was reconstructed in 1952 with Don Joses son,
Jesus Avila, taking on the business.
Cine Oriente was burnt down in 1969, but two years after
it reopened. In the early 1980s, it underwent major renovation,
unveiling the refurbished look in 1984. In 1995, it underwent another extensive renovation. The other theater was demolished to
become the present mall. Oriente became the first movie theater
in Cebu City to use Dolby Digital Surround Sound in 1996.
On May 2013, Cine Oriente closed for renovation and was
reopened after several months, in December 2013, to feature new
digital projectors for high-definition quality viewing experience.
Oriente has a long history. It has transitioned from stage
plays in the early 1900s to the silent movies, to 35-millimeter films
with sounds, and finally to what you see today, a digital system with
Dolby surround. For generations, this theater has been the source
of entertainment for the Cebuanos, screening English, Tagalog and
Cebuano films. We will continue to support Cebuano films, says
Rene Avila, the grandson of Don Jose Avila.

30 Agung Number 4 2015

Wikang Filipino at Pam

Ang Pagdiriwang ng Buwan ng Wika

inangunahan ng Komisyon sa Wikang

Filipino (KWF) ang pagdiriwang
ng Buwan ng Wika tuwing Agosto,
alinsunod sa Pampanguluhang Proklamasyon
Bilang 1041. Ngayong taon, ang tema
ng pagdiriwang ay Filipino: Wika ng
Pambansang Kaunlaran.
Layunin ng taunang pagdiriwang
na mahikayat ang ibat iabng ahensiyang
pampamahalaan at pampribado na makiisa sa
mga programang nagpapataas ng kamalayang
pangwika at sibiko, at nagpapakita ng
kahalagahan ng wika na higit pa sa
pambansang kaunlaran.
Pormal na sinimulan ang pagdiriwang ng
Buwan ng Wika sa pamamagitan ng pagtataas
ng watawat noong ika-3 ng Agosto 2015 sa
Taguig City Hall sa lungsod ng Taguig. Sa
pagpapaunlak ng pamunuang panglungsod
ng Taguig, nakiisa ang KWF sa pagtataas
ng watawat na sumasagisag sa isang buwang
pagdiriwang na siksik sa mga aktibidad para
sa wikang pambansa, ang Filipino.
Sa nasabing programa, tinanggap ng
punong lungsod na si Maria Laarni Cayetano
ang Kampeon ng Wika mula sa KWF
para sa kaniyang masigasig na paggamit
at pagpapalaganap ng wikang Filipino sa
kanyang nasasakupan. Bilang pagsuporta
sa adhikain ng KWF at sa pagtataguyod ng
wikang pambansa, nagpasa ng resolusyon
ang sangguniang bayan na naghihikayat sa
malawakang paggamit ng Filipino sa lahat ng
opisyal na korespondensiya ng lungsod.
Dinaluhan nina National Artist at
tagapangulo ng KWF Virgilio S. Almario,
direktor heneral Roberto T. Aonuevo, mga
komisyoner na sina Lorna E. Flores, Jimmy
Fong at Orlando B. Magno at mga piling
kawani ng KWF ang nasabing pagdiriwang.

Sa kanyang talumpati, idiniin ni

Almario na magkakabit ang pag-unlad
ng wikang pambansa at ang pambansang
kaunlaran.Idinagdag niya na ang mataas na
pagpapahalaga ng mga Filipino sa sariling
wika ay katumbas ng mataas na pagpapahalaga
niya sa kanyang sarili bilang Filipino.
Nais naming itampok ang Filipino
blang isang wikang patuloy na umuunlad.
Makikita ito sa paggamit ng Filipino sa ibat
ibang larang gaya ng siyensiya, teknolohiya,
pilosopiya, at iba pa, wika ni Almario.
Nitong ika-20 ng Agosto, hinirang din
ng KWF ang lungsod ng Muntinlupa bilang
kauna-unahang lungsod na Kampeon ng
Wika dahil sa aktibo nitong pagpapalaganap
at paggamit ng Filipino sa ibat ibang aspeto
ng pamumuhay mula pa nang maitatag ang
lungsod noong 1995. Ngayon pa lamang
kinilala ang isang lungsod sa Filipinas blang
Kampeon ng Wika.
Tinanggap ng punong lungsod ng
Muntinlupa na si Jaime R. Fresnedi ang
pagkilala sa lungsod. Dumalo sa nasabing
pagtitipon sina komisyoner Purificacion G.
Delima at direktor heneral Aonuevo.
Patunay sa malawakang paggamit ng
Filipino sa nasabing lungsod ang pagsunod nito
sa E.O. 335 na humihimok sa mga kagawaran,
kawanihan, ahensiya at instrumentalidad ng
pamahalaan na gamitin ang pambansang wika sa
lahat ng opisyal na transaksiyon, komunikasyon
at korespondensiya.
pamahalaang panlalawigan ng Pangasinan,
katuwang ang KWF, ang Pambansang
Kongreso sa Pagpaplanong Wika noong
ika-5 hanggang ika-7 ng Agosto sa Sison
Auditorium, Capitol Compound, Lingayen,

Dinaluhan ang naturang programa ng

mahigit sa isang libong katao, kasama ang
mga guro, kawani ng ibat ibang ahensiya ng
pamahalaan at lokal na yunit ng pamahalaan,
mga manunulat, at interesadong mga
indibidwal mula sa ibat ibang panig ng
Kabilang sa mga tagapanayam sa unang
araw sina Dr. Galileo S. Zafra ng Unibersidad
ng Pilipinas Diliman para sa kasaysayan at
tunguhin ng ortograpiyang Filipino; Dr.
Jimmy Balud Fong, komisyoner para sa mga
wika sa kahilagaang pamayanang kultural at
propesor sa UP Baguio, para sa mga wikang
katutubo at ang wikang Filipino; Celso
Santiago ng Presidential Communications
and Operations Office ng Opisina ng
Pangulo para sa Wikang Filipino bilang
Wikang Opisyal; Dr. Ruth Elynia Mabanglo
ng University of Hawaii para sa Pagtuturo ng
Filipino bilang Ikalawang Wika.
Tagapanayam naman sa ikalawang araw
sina Dr. Joseph Salazar ng Ateneo de Manila
University para sa Adyenda sa Araling
Kultural; Dr. Mario Miclat ng Pambansang
Lupon sa Wika at Salin (National Committee
on Language and Translation) ng Pambansang
Komisyon para sa Kultura at mga Sining
(NCCA) para sa Adyenda sa Pagsasalin;
Leonor Oralde-Quintayo, tagapangulo ng
Pambansang Komisyon sa mga Katutubong
Mamamayan o National Commission
on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), para sa
Pangangalaga sa mga Wikang Katutubo; at
Dr. Purificacion G. Delima, komisyoner para
sa wikang Ilokano, para sa Gramatikang
Ipinagdiwang din ng lungsod-pulo ng
Samal ang Buwan ng Wika sa pamamagitan
ng seminar-workshop na Uswag: Dangal

Ang Pambansang Kongreso sa Pagpaplanong Wika sa Lingayen, Pangasinan, (ibabang larawan, kaliwa) at ang seminar-workshop na Uswag:
Dangal ng Filipino 2015 sa Samal (ibaba, kanan) /Mga larawang-kuha mula sa KWF

2015 Number 4 Agung 31

mbansang Kaunlaran

Pormal na sinimulan ang pagdiriwang ng Buwan ng Wika sa pamamagitan ng pagtataas ng watawat noong ika-3 ng Agosto 2015 sa lungsod ng
Taguig na pinangunahan ng punong lungsod ng Taguig na si Maria Laarni Cayetano at tagapangulo ng KWF Virgilio S. Almario

ng Filipino 2015. Nilahukan ang seminarworkshop ng mahigit 150 guro, prinsipal at

iba pang opisyal pang-edukasyon ng Samal.
Sa buong buwan ng Agosto, nagkaroon
na ibat ibang aktibidad sa ibat ibang parte ng
bansa. Idinaos sa Cebu Normal University
ang isang seminar-workshop na may paksang
Guro at Mga Hamon sa K to 12 sa Grade
10 noong ika-4 ng Agosto. Ginanap naman
sa ika-11 ng Agosto sa Lyceum University ang
Panayam: Filipino, Wika ng Pambansang
Samantala, sinimulan ang taunang
pagdiriwang ng Buwan ng Wika sa Western
Visayas University sa lungsod ng Iloilo sa
pamamagitan ng pagtatanghal sa mga dulang
Ilonggo noong ika-14 ng Agosto. Kasunod
nito ang dagliang talumpati at masining na
pagkukuwento na ginanap noong ika-19 ng
Agosto at Ginoo at Binibining Wika 2015
noong ika-26 ng Agosto. Idinaos din ang

Pista sa Nayon, tampok ang Mga Laro ng

Lahi, noong ika-28 ng Agosto.
Tagisan sa talino, pagsusulat ng islogan
at paggawa ng poster ang hatid ng Western
Mindanao State University sa pagbubukas
ng pagdiriwang ng Buwan ng Wika noong
ika-7 ng Agosto. Sinundan ito ng patimpalak
sa pagsusulat ng sanaysay at kundiman
noong ika-16 ng Agosto, at balagtasan at
interpretatibong sayaw noong ika-21 ng
Ipinagdiwang ng Central Bicol State
University of Agriculture ang Buwan ng Wika
sa pamamagitan ng paligsahan sa pagsulat
ng sanaysay, tula, tigsik, islogan, pagbuo ng
poster, talumpati, modernong balagtasan at
pag-awit. Gayundin, idinaos ang paligsahan
sa mga laro ng lahi at timpalak sa Mutya at
Lakan 2015.
Sa Mindanao State University sa
Marawi, nagkaroon ng palarong Pinoy,

Pinoy Cheers, at eksibit sa mga pagkaing

Meranaw at kakanin. Samantala, sa Sulu
State University, ginanap ang isang forum
tungkol sa ortograpiya noong ika-26
hanggang 27 ng Agosto. Kasunod ang
patimpalak na Mutya at Ginoo ng Wika.
Dinaluhan din ng mga piling
manunulat at mga estudyante ang
Kumperensiya sa Wika at Panitikan sa
Bulacan State University. Pinangunahan
ng KASUGFIl ang isang taunang panayam
ng mga guro sa Filipino na may temang
Ang Pagtuturo ng Panitikang GenderBased, Isang Hamon sa Pagkakakilanlan sa
lungsod ng Imus sa Cavite. Tampok din sa
pagdiriwang ng Buwan ng Wika ang mga
Seminar sa Korespondensiya Opisyal sa
lungsod ng Pasig, Kagawaran ng Interyor at
Pamahalaang Lokal, lungsod ng Paraaque,
Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation,
Komisyon ng Serbisyo Sibil, at iba pa.

32 Agung Number 4 2015 NEWS BRIEFS


The Bulacan Arts, Culture and History
Institute, Inc. conducted a three-day training session from March 5 to 8, 2015, in
Basco, Batanes, for local government unit
executives to help develop greater awareness, understanding and appreciation of the
Philippine culture towards the evolution of a
consciousness that will improve the quality
of lives of Filipinos.
During the three-day seminar, the topics that were discussed included the institutionalization of local cultural education
courses in the Institute of Local Culture and
Governance, the cultural vibrancy in local
governance culture-based youth empowerment and the development of culture-based
tourism programs, among others.
They also shared experiences and approaches in managing heritage sites, cultural
events, artist development and cultural education. They were encouraged to develop modules on LGUs cultural education plan, and
formulate local ordinances to institutionalize
culture and arts programs by creating a Culture
and Arts office with annual budget allocations.
Batanes governor Vicente Gato welcomed the participants, composed of provincial and municipal heads and city executives such as governor, vice-governor, board
members, mayor, vice mayor, councilors,
department heads, planning officer, tourism
stakeholders, and community school heads,
among others. The governor sought the help
of everyone, including the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, to work for
the inscription of Batanes in the UNESCO
World Heritage Sites list.
Dr. Orlando Magno, NCCA commissioner of the Subcommission on Cultural
Dissemination, said that the project was
aimed to develop concrete proposals for the
consideration of the NCCA and the LGUs
that will prepare the education sector to
deal with a new world system, help people
to function in their own culture and address
peoples cultural needs, rights and responsibilities. Director Sonny Cristobal introduced

the Philippine Cultural Education Program

(PCEP), where they learned about how to
access funding assistance from NCCA.
Richard Philip Gonzalo presented the
conference rationale and objectives such as
fostering nationalism, encouraging critical
and creative thinking among the different
sectors and exercising leadership skills in
culture-based initiatives.
Divided into five groups, the participants were also engaged in a cultural mapping exposure session and tasked to go
around their communities to rediscover what
makes Batanes special. The Heritage Group
visited the Basco Cathedral, the Batanes National Science High School, which houses
a small museum, and the Amboy House
which is a renovated traditional Ivatan house
currently serving as a caf.
The Education Group headed to the
different schools around the area, while the
Tourism Group visited the airport, an inn,
souvenir shops and other tourism-related
places. The Arts Group went to the cathedral and an art museum, as well as witnessed
the preparation and cooking of traditional
Ivatan rice and the making of handicrafts.
Maricel C. Diaz


The local government of Surallah organized the Regional Trainers Training for

Rondalla and Choral Conducting Management, a five-day training for conductors

and members of various rondalla and choral
groups in Region XII, from May 25 to 29,
2015, in Surallah, South Cotabato.
The training aimed to establish a
rondalla and choral community in the region, as well as train and develop conductors and members of various music groups in
rondalla music playing and choral singing.
UP College of Music faculty members
Elaine Espejo-Cajucom and Arwin Q. Tan
facilitated the training. Espejo-Cajucom
is the trainor of the UP Rondalla and Espejo Rondalla, while Tan is the founder and
choirmaster of Novo Concertante Manila.

For the rondalla training, about 115

people participated, including Cotabato City
Polytechnic State College, Surallah Central
Elementary School, Lambontong Elementary
School, Tupi National High School, South
Cotabato Family Rondalla and General Santos City National High School.
All rondalla participants underwent diagnostic activities such as playing the most difficult repertoire that they know so that the facilitators could determine the levels of skills both
of the teachers and participants, composed of
elementary and high school students.
The diagnostic test showed that no
rondalla group among the participating
schools could play the scores accordingly.
Conducting skills and even organizational
mastery of the conductors were wanting,
based on the performances of the group and
the way the teachers managed their group and
the instruments during the diagnostic session.
With the assessment result, EspejoCajucom was able to tailor-fit modules that
could be used for basic and advance players
and identified training activities for teachers and conductors. She divided each training day into three sessions: teaching of basic
playing techniques for the young and new
members, advance classes and teaching basic
organization techniques for trainers. She also
conducted critiquing of the repertoires performed during the diagnostic session.
Tan conducted the choral training,
starting with studying the basic techniques
and theories and continued with practicing
several pieces such as Sanctus, Kordero ng
Diyos, Holy, Holy, Ubi Caritas, Praise
the Lord, Ave Regina Calorum, Agnus
Dei, Ikaw anf Mahal Ko, Miserere and
I Will Arise. The participants came from
Cotabato City Polytechnic State College,
DepED in Cotabato City Division, Cotabato City Institute, Notre Dame University in
General Santos, Marbel Elementary School,
BNHS Sarangani and the LGU of Surallah.
On the third day, NCCA chairman Felipe M. de Leon, Jr. graced the training event
and delivered inspirational messages to the
rondalla and choral participants. This was
followed by a recital.
The rondalla participants were able to
perform two new pieces: The Philippine
Medley No. 1 (arranged by J. Dadap and
performed by the basic group) and Palladio by K. Jenkins (arranged for rondalla by
EJ Espejo-Cajum and performed by the advance group). They were able to re-stage the
five clinicked version of their existing repertoires such as CCPSCs Ilocana A Nasudi
(arranged by Edna Culig); Surallah Rondallas Lee Mack Ritenour jazz piece; Tupis
Spanish Eyes (arranged by Pacita Narzo);

NEWS BRIEFS 2015 Number 4 Agung 33

South Cotabato Family Rondallas Itik-Itik
(arranged by Edna Culig); and General Santos Citys New York, New York (arranged
by EJ Espejo-Cajucom).
The choral participants managed to perform six new musical pieces conducted by both
the conductors and choral members. Among
the conductors were Cyd Albon for Praise
the Lord by Hito Kiho; Nida Lumunsad for
Kordero ng Diyos by Ralf Hoffman; David
Capundan for I Will Arise by Alice Parker
and Robert Shaw; Jonar Narvacan for Ubi
Caritas by Maurice Durufle; Nida Lumunsad
for Holy, Holy by Ralf Hoffman; and Albaser Usman for Ikaw ang Mahal Ko by Jonathan Velasco. Arlene E. Flores

When he first heard the beautiful voices
of the parents of the students during a meeting, Steve Dagacan, a head teacher in the
Tamboan High School, thought about creating a play that would showcase their talents
as well as the traditions and cultural expressions of the community.
After proposing to the Department of
Education for the production of a musical,
he then tapped Sagada-based cultural worker
Bernard Makellay. Together, they immersed
themselves in the Kankanaey-Applai culture,
did some ethnological research and incorporated what they have learned into the musical.
Makellay, who acted as the director,
pooled together an artistic and production
staff composed of 10 teachers and 20 men
and women as cast. They started the rehearsals sometime in December 2014. Six months
after, from June 8 to 18, 2015, the play had
its final rehearsal-show where the community members were able to watch the run.
The play premiered on July 19, 2015, at
the Tamboan High School in Besao, Mountain Province. Located at the boundary of
Mountain Province, Abra and Ilocos Sur,
the school became the perfect backdrop for
the play. The school building and dormitory
used to be the Anglican Church and Seminary, which was built in the 1950s. In the
late 1990s, it was donated to the KankanaeyApplai and was used as a school since.
The play starts with a linayaan or gobgobbaw as blessing for the birth of Balisongen. As a tradition, only the first born
is accorded such special ritual in which the
elder asks the community what to name
the child. The relatives and other members
of the community would bring an etag or
salted smoked pork to the house of the baby.
Meanwhile, the mother recovers from the
birthing wound through the use of koba,

a bark that is traditionally used as sanitary

napkin but is found effective to heal reproductive wounds.
In the next scene, Balisongen grows
up into a good boy who performs tasks for
the community such as running errands
in the dap-ay, the place where the Council
of Elders meet to discuss and decide about
the welfare of the community. As he grows
up, he serves as a mendekat, a messenger to
neighboring villages.
Adulthood makes Balisongen realize
the rigors of life. One time, he is wounded
in the forest and women came to help him.
He also finds the woman he would soon
marry. He eventually finds work in a largescale mining company in Benguet, but soon
he longs for home.
When he comes back home, he seeks
for his love by going to the began, a house
where single ladies sleep and are being courted by the bachelors. He falls in love and asks
the ladys hand in matrimony by performing
the dok-ong where he gathers firewood and
presents them to the ladys house.
After a series of visits until the parents
agree to their matrimony, they perform the
sukat di makan, a ritual where both parties
exchange food to solidify their acceptance to
the dawak. The play shows the preparations
that the whole village does for the wedding
ceremony, as well as the various traditions
that come with it.
The play ends with Balisongen becoming the community leader. According to the
director and writer, Even though the title
suggests the life cycle, death is excluded because it is a sacrosanct taboo.
The play also aimed to promote and revitalize Tamboan indigenous traditions and
customs, such as dagdagay (traditional foot
massage using two sticks), pipidwa (a second
matrimonial celebration) and dalidummay
and daing chants. Joanna Melody Lerio


German artist Evamaria Schaller lay
down on the cemented ground inside the Apo
Art Space in Santiago City, Isabela, holding a
round heavy stone. Stuck on her mouth was a
deflated balloon, which served as a breathing
instrument. Slowly, she crawled towards one
of the walls inside the art space.
As the distance between her and the
wall got smaller, the balloon in her mouth
came to life. Halfway through her destination, Schaller stood up and blew air into the
balloon. After tucking the balloon under her
shirt, she ran towards the wall and crashed
her body against it, producing a resonating
sound as the balloon exploded.

The German artist used her body, material and space. She explained that it was all
about the picture and how to use these three
components in that very moment.
It can turn out into something funny. It
can be sad or something. It depends on the moment. I dont put effort into telling a story. I just
read pictures, and everybody interprets it in his
or her way. They are often works with the topic
of liminality explained the German artist.
Her 15-minute performance was one of
the performance arts during the Dugtungan
2015, a new media performance art competition organized by the Santiago Living Tradition Foundation, Inc. led by its president
Patrick Kahyan Uy Chong and project coordinator Juan Yuan MorO Ocampo.
Held from February 7 to 9, 2015, in
different venues in Santiago City, the performance art competition aims to nurture
independent artists and their creative artistic expression and promote art appreciation
in the community. Eighteen artists participated in the event, 14 of whom were from
Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and National
Capital Region, and four international artists: Thai artist Chimpun Apisuk, German
artists Schaller and Rolf Hinterecker and
Mexican artist Lala Monada.

Apisuk did a one-hour public performance art, titled Standing, at the market.
He paid homage to the farmers who, he
believed, are the real public, real people.
Collaborating with him were artists Nic Aca,
Lala Monada and two local Santiago artists
who played the guitars and wooden flute.
For her Sin Titulo, Monada created a bed
made of coal. She lay down on the bed and
even ate some coals.
Among the local participants, six joined
the competition. Juan Crisostomo performed Interpolation, trying to define and
amplify the line and sound out of a fast traveling plastic tied with the domain of a string.
Rommel Espinosa, meanwhile, showed his
sympathy to the Mamasapano victims, particularly the SAF 44, in his performance
called Your Journey is my Journey.
Mannet Villariba explored the fragility
of the societal system in Lifes Fragility, using
bubbles as metaphorical symbols. Mel Ara-

34 Agung Number 4 2015

NCCom Mounts Lecture on Journalism

and Screening of Documentary on Palawan
The NCCA Committee on Communications
(NCCom), headed by Estrellita J. Tamano, spearheaded a short lecture on the principles of journalism, conducted by Rodrigo G. Cornejo, NCCom vice head,
on August 7, 2015, at the multi-purpose hall of the
province of Palawan.
The lecture was attended by about 250 communications students and high school students from different schools in the province, including the Palawan
National School, San Miguel National High School,
Palawan Polytechnic College, Inc., Palawan State University and Western Philippines University, along with
faculty members.
Philippine Information Office head Gil Acosta
welcomed the students and guests. This was followed
by a short message from Tamano. The event also had
a screening of the documentary Likhang Yaman ng
The lecture ended with an open forum and discussion about the documentary.
neta presented Life as If, where he recycled
some surplus objects to create a junk musical
instrument which he connected to an amplifier and continuously played for 48 hours.
Kenneth Calayo Po used didgeridoo
(an indigenous instrument from Australia)
in his performance of Urbanization of Life
and Spirit. Using fish net, several canned sardines, some paint and a cauldron, Nic Aca
made an environmental and political commentary on what is happening in northern
Mindanao in his performance art.
Winners of the competitions were
Maneth Villariba, Rommel Espinosa, Mel
Araneta and Nic Aca, who received a Yuan
MorO Ocampo sculpture each. The judges
were composed of Yuan Ocampo, Santiago
City former cultural officer Susan Fiado and
visual artist Romeo Baoson.
Some local artists also showcased their
artworks. Sam Penaso presented Acid Tripping; while Lorina Javier performed Relive.
Boyet de Mesa made a social commentary
through Genocide by Uncle Sam. Martin de
Mesa did a performance about transgender,
titled Bagit Pamhod (My Love in Ifugao).
Patrick Chong also did a performance art.
Kaye Oyeks 10-minute performance art
featured burning a paper using a lit cigarette
that she continuously puffed amid the hypnotic sound of the metal pot. She allowed the
paper to completely burn, keeping the fire
alive by blowing it until she gasped for air.
The artists conducted art talks with the

NCCom vice head Rod Cornejo delivering a lecture to students in Palawan

students of Patria Sable Corpuz College, La

Salette University, and Northeastern College,
sharing ideas on performance art and its potential relations with photography and nudity.
Performance art is not dance, music,
literature, painting, architecture and theater.
But it has all the elements of what art should
be. Basically, it is an art expression, telling
of a story, your story, to liberate others,
concluded project coordinator Ocampo.
Mark Gregor O. dela Cruz

To further develop the skills of the
medical and health professional librarians
in the country, the Medical and Health Librarians Association of the Philippines Inc.
(MAHLAP) conducted the National Congress and Seminar Training Workshop from
March 25 to 27, 2015 at the Marco Polo
Hotel in Davao City.
Now on its 27th year, the seminar-workshop focused on how the Filipino librarians
can gain accreditations from the Philippine
Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges
and Universities (PAASCU), the Philippine
Association of Colleges and Universities
Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA)
and International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Headed by MAHLAP president Joena-

bie Encanto and vice president Maria Juliana

Noces-Gasmen, the seminar aimed to educate the participants on the processes, basic
documents needed, and evaluation tools
used to gain those accreditations.
Over 90 participants learned about the
ASEAN Integration 2015 and its objectives,
as well as the current situation of the country in regards to its implementation, and the
implications of the integration to the Philippine libraries and culture.
During the seminar, Corazon M. Nera
talked about the impact of the Outcome
Based Education (OBE) in the library collection. Dr. Ronie V. Amorado shared his
insights on ISO accreditation, while Dr. Ma.
Lindie D. Masalinto talked about the evaluation tools of PACU-COA. Michael Pinto
discussed about how to prepare a standardized library action plan and a library development plan.
Dr. Briccio M. Merced Jr. delivered a
lecture on the ASEAN Integration and its
implications to the libraries and Filipino culture. He emphasized on the Filipino cultural
identity and gave special attention to the traditions and practices of the indigenous groups
in the country which are slowly dying.
Because Mindanao is a culturally diverse island and home to a lot of indigenous
groups, there is a need to document these
practices and keep reference materials on
them in the libraries, he said.Carolle
Adrianne Manalastas

2015 Number 4 Agung 35

Filipino children in Cambodia attending the pilot class

On August 13 and 14, Dr. Alonzo

conducted a two-day training program for
volunteer teachers to provide an overview of
the module and at the same time conducted
a lecture on Filipino language. These were
aimed to empower the volunteer teachers
and give a more comprehensive background
on the language course.
Ruth Peano, one of the volunteer
teachers, expressed joy in participating in the
SRPPs language course: Nagagalak po akong
maging bahagi ng proyektong ito. As I had a
chance to live in different countries, I met a
lot of Filipino children who do not know how
to speak Filipino. They dont know about our
culture either. This is a beautiful way to impart to them our heritage.
Inaugurated in June 19, 2015, the Sentro Rizal of Phnom Penh aims to promote
Philippine arts, culture and language and
serve as a platform from where Filipinos in

Sentro Rizal in Phnom Penh Launches

Pilot Filipino Language Course

he NCCAs Sentro Rizal branch in

Phnom Penh (SRPP) launched its
pilot course on Filipino language on
August 15, 2015, at the Philippine Embassy
Grounds in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
In line with the celebration of Buwan
ng Wika, the program is aimed to educate
Filipino migrant children in Cambodia of
the importance of learning and preserving
the use of the Filipino language, as well as
other Philippine languages as key to retracing and appreciating their Filipino heritage.
The need to learn and speak Filipino
is more felt for Filipino children abroad in

Dean Rosario Alonzo,

Philippine ambassador to
the Kingdom of Cambodia
Christopher Montero,
NCCA deputy executive
director Marlene Ruth
Sanchez and Sentro Rizal
project development
officer Shaina Santiago
with volunteer teachers
who attended the

order for them to better understand and appreciate their cultural heritage and identity,
noted Christopher B. Montero, Philippine
ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia.
NCCA deputy executive director Marlene Ruth Sanchez attended the launching
of the language course along with University
of the Philippines College of Education dean
Rosario Alonzo, who devised the language
module which will guide the program. Called
Masayang Matuto ng Wikang Filipino, the
12-session module will be used in teaching Filipino language courses to Filipino overseas children in the other Sentro Rizal branches abroad.

Cambodia, as well as in other countries with

Sentro Rizal branches, can reconnect with
their cultural and artistic heritage.
Filipino families in Cambodia are highly
encouraged to enrol their children in the said
program. Twenty-two Filipino children have
already enrolled in the free Filipino language
course starting in August until October 2015
with classes scheduled every Sunday.
For more information on the Filipino
language course offered in SRPP as well as
other Sentro Rizal activities, you may call the
Sentro Rizal office through 527-2192 loc.
605 and look for Shaina Santiago.

Ilocano textile, by a weaver in Pinili, Ilocos Norte, in weft impalagto crossed by warp-float pinilian. Exhibiting the inubon nga sabong design, the upper
portion is the front side while the lower is the back.

the Filipino
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