Kapwa Collective Guiding Principles

We are Kapwa Collective and we understand that the world we
live in is in a deep ecological crisis.
Moved by an understanding of the Filipinx value of Kapwa, we
recognize that embodying the interconnectedness of our inner selves
with everyone and everything in Creation is the key to our survival
and resistance.
As People of the Diaspora and Settlers on Turtle Island, we are
always in the process of reconnecting with our Indigenous Selves.
We strive to learn from and share knowledge with Culture Bearers
and Knowledge Keepers as a way to bridge different communities.
We move in parallel towards a common goal, respecting each
other’s right to self-determination.
Storytelling, playing together, and intentional place making are
means towards healing.
Relationships are built over a long time.
Our Ancestors are always with us; and we work towards a future
where our children and those who will come after us can live on this
Earth in a Good Way.

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A Story of Kapwa
Kapwa Collective is a group of Filipinx-Canadian artists, critical
thinkers, and healers who work towards bridging narratives between
the Indigenous and the Diasporic, and the Filipinx + the Canadian.
We facilitate links among academic, artistic, activist, and other
communities in Toronto.
The Kapwa Collective functions as a mutual support group based on
a Philippine core value. Virgilio G. Enriquez, known as the founder
of Filipino Psychology (or Sikolohiyang Pilipino) initially proposed a
concept of personhood centered on the core value expressed in the
word kapwa. As described by the scholar Katrin de Guia:
Kapwa is a Tagalog term widely used when addressing
another with the intention of establishing a connection. It reflects
a viewpoint that beholds the essential humanity recognizable in
everyone, therefore linking (including) people rather than separating (excluding) them from each other. Enriquez felt that this
orientation was an expression of ‘humanness at its highest level’.
~ (from Kapwa: The Self in the Other, Worldviews and Lifestyles of
Filipino Culture-Bearers)

Kapwa Collective believes it is important to create links with the
Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines, Canada and around the
world, as we seek to understand our own place in the world as
People of the Diaspora and Settlers on Turtle Island. Increasingly,
we understand that incorporating Indigenous knowledge, systems,
beliefs, and practices is important towards our survival as a species
in this world that is in a deep ecological crisis.

Over the past two years, Kapwa Collective has participated in
international collaborations including the KAPWA-3 Conference on
Indigenous People in the Academe (Baguio City, Philippines), the
Second International Babaylan Conference/ Gathering “Katutubong Binhi/Native Seeds: Myths and Stories that Feed our
Indigenous Soul” (Westminister Woods, U.S.A.), and the 2015
Centre for Babaylan Studies Symposium - “Panaghinabi: Fruitful
Conversations, Bridging Indigenous and Christian Traditions of
Spirituality” (Glouster, U.S.A.).
We have also explored indigeneity with various local communities
including Diasporic Intimacies: Queer Filipinos/as and Canadian
Imaginaries, SUM Degree/Restless Precinct, Female Eye Film
Festival, and the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival.
We are honoured to be mentored by First Nation leaders such
as Lee Maracle (Stö:lo Nation) and Laini Lascelles (Lanaape
Traditional Healer and Wolf Clan member), members of the
Center for Babaylan Studies, and Filipino Canadian community
leader, Martha Ocampo.
We are grateful for these experiences, as they have allowed us to
plant seeds that nourish our indigenous souls towards the process of

Kapwa Playshops are a facilitated and intentional art activity
shared with the community. We believe that play is an essential
part of the collective process.
This is an example of a Kapwa Playshop we offered at Restless
Precinct – an outdoor site-specific art project in the Guild
(Scarborough, Ontario).
The intention behind this Kapwa Playshop was:
to heal ourselves, our communities, and our relationship to the
> to explore our place on Turtle Island as Settlers who trace
lineage from the Philippine archipelago.

We share with you the steps we followed. We welcome you to
share it with your own communities, in the spirit of kapwa!

Kapwa Playshop:
“Katutubong Binhi (Native Seeds) Offering”
How to make plantable native seed
paper as an offering to the Land
Trees and plants give us the paper we use everyday. By recycling
paper and working with the seeds of plants that are native to
our local environment, we learn about how we can do our part in
caring for Nature.
This Kapwa Playshop is not only a great way to create something
beautiful, something that can be given back to the Earth, but also
a way to reconnect to the Spirit and teachings of the Land.
This intentional papermaking activity can be done with a group
and especially with children. It is a great activity to enjoy outside,
especially on a warm and sunny day!

Materials and Equipment to Gather
Scrap paper suc h as used writing
paper, paper bags, unused paper
napkins, envelopes, and greeting
cards (note: do not use waxed or
high gloss papers.)

A blender not used for
food purposes, or...

Two stones that fit in
your palm for manual
pulp making

Seeds of plants that are
native to your area


Fine mesh material suc h as the
kind used for window screens

2 wooden frames of the same size
(e.g. picture frame, canvas frame)

Staple gun

Containers that are large
enough to fit the frames &
are at least 6 inc hes deep
Rags or dishcloths for
cleaning up


1. Make the deckle by cutting the mesh material to fit the size of
one of the frames. Staple it to the frame, making sure the mesh is

2. The other frame will be your mould.

Making the pulp

Option 1: Making pulp manually with 2 stones

1. Tear or cut the paper into small pieces about 1”x1” size.
2. Place into a container of water, with one part shredded paper
to one part water.
3. Soak the paper in water overnight.
4. After soaking or when the paper is soft, grind the paper in the
water between the rocks. Do this until you have made an even,
smooth pulp with the consistency of thick soup. Make sure there are
no solid clumps. Add water as necessary.

Option 2: Making pulp with a blender

1. Tear or cut the paper into small pieces about 1”x1” size.
2. Half fill the blender with equal parts shredded paper and water.
3. Blend until there are no solid clumps and the pulp has achieved a
consistency like thick soup. Add water as necessary.

Making the Paper

1. Pour the pulp mixture into a container with water. The
thickness of your paper is determined by the thickness of
this pulp mixture. If mixture is too thick, add water.
2. Add the seeds of native plants into the mixture.

3. Fit the mould on top of the deckle. Dip the mould and
deckle into the pulp mixture and align it parallel to the
ground. Allow some of the pulp fibres to flow over it.
4. Gently shake the mould and deckle to create an even
layer of pulp on the screen.

5. Slowly lift the mould and deckle and let the pulp fibres
settle on the mesh. Let the water drain through. Tipping
the mould and deckle slightly and slowly from corner to
corner can help drain excess water.
6. Hold the mould and deckle over the container until the
dripping has stopped.

7. Remove the mould and set aside.

8. In one swift motion, flip the deckle over and place the
pulp onto a clean and dry cloth or newspaper.
9. Without removing the deckle, sponge the back of the
mesh to further extract excess water. Wring the excess
water back into the container of pulp mixture.

10. Once all the water has been sponged off, carefully lift
the deckle from the fibres.
11. Leave the paper to dry under the sun or in a dry place

12. Once completely dry, gently pull away the cloth or
paper from the plantable paper. Your plantable paper
with native seeds is now ready!
13. If your paper is crinkly, you can smooth it out by
keeping the paper pressed between heavy books or
carefully ironing it in between dry dishtowels.

14. Once you have your plantable paper ready, we
encourage you to write a letter or note in honour of
Mother Earth.
15. You can also plant your paper by placing it on soil
where it can get enough sunlight. Lightly cover the paper
with more soil and water thoroughly. Care for it daily
and watc h it grow!

maraming salamat (many thanks)
for planting se e ds with us!

written + designed by kapwa collective
illustrations by althea balmes