Archive for August, 2009

in good hands

Posted in artifacts, culture, history, lifestyle, locales, people, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2009 by mijodo

man toiling at burnay factory

It has been said, time and time again, that probably among all Filipinos, the Ilocanos could be the most hardworking people. Pretty much, the environment and the climate, may have pushed the folks from Ilocos region to work harder and toil longer.  The soaring heat during summers makes cultivation and farming more arduous. Searing photos have been taken of cracking soil, as water resource gets depleted and becomes more precious.

Since production delivery becomes scant,  Ilocanos have learned to stretch whatever stock and possessions they have until the next crop yield. In due time, Ilocanos earned the monicker of being the “most frugal Filipinos.”  Apparently, they somehow have been proud of such description as it captures their resilience and the know-how in handling their finances.

As Ilocanos try to come up with greater agricultural production efficiency through the centuries despite the conditions, they have also gone to other homebased entrepreneurial activities, which have been esteemed and marvelled for several centuries as well.  Such traditional crafts have also made use of the great handskills of the people from the north. Ladies have gone to abel-weaving while the men have gone to burnay-pottery.

Abel weaving is a centuries old craft that produces abel- iloco or inabel, using wooden loom equipment. The cotton threads, used in abel weaving, during the old times were usually dyed before the weaving which should produce interesting folkloric color combinations that only the Ilocanos could produce.  It is said that abel weaving started out in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, but there has been production coming from parts of Ilocos Norte as well.  As the weaves are thick and coarse, the cloth is usually utilized as rags, blankets and other home products. However somehow today, designers have treated the same inabel material for high fashion.

Introduced by Chinesed merchants, burnay is an earthenware produced in different sections of Ilocos region, but is said to be popularly made in Ilocos Sur. Burnay has been used as a vessel to store grains and rice, and to ferment kitchen needs such as bagoong, wine or vinegar. Burnay-makers would use special clay such that water would not seep out from the jars, and maintain cool temperature. Such vats are sturdy enough because of the way they have been baked. Consequently, jars, done centuries back, are much sought after by antique collectors.

It is a testament to the Ilocanos that such old traditional backyard activities have survived until now. They have honed these specific handskills through history, just like any other Ilocano way of life activities – with effort, adept, and passion.

food trippin’

Posted in culture, food, lifestyle with tags , , , , on August 19, 2009 by mijodo

pastaice cream and rolls tomato, lemon and viandcanapecinammon bread

Food, glorious food. Food nourishes the body, and gives the vitality and vigor to enjoy life. Food is appreciated by the palate and the taste buds. But it should not stop there. Food should also be pleasing to the eyes, and should whet the appetite. And hopefully, photographers can come up with enticing pictures of the many varieties and assortment of the delicious, scrumptuous and fabulous food that we truly love and desire.

And sometime last week, I had the time to take some food images, under the helm of the most respected food photographer, Mr. Mark Floro. And with his words of encouragement, and lighting techniques, there is much chance that I should do more, after initial interests –, and

Hopefully the shots did provide the magic to crave for more pics. And hopefully it might interest you that I take some commercial photos for your food product. Let me know then (0917-9699894, 4180776), and let us have some more food trippin’ and food clickin’.

long yellow journey

Posted in culture, events, history, locales, people with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2009 by mijodo

yellow flowers for the great lady of democracy

On August 21, 1983, almost 26 years to the day, I saw my Mother sobbing, while watching television.

On the tv news, a person named Ninoy Aquino had been killed as he was disembarking from the plane at the international airport.

The following day, while discussing what had happened, a classmate just casually commented, “Ninoy was just a man,” downplaying his death.

I knew better. I knew that Ninoy had primarily come back from exile to put to a stop the excesses of the dictator, Marcos.  And after Ninoy’s long burial procession which had taken 12 hours from Sto. Domingo Church, protest and demonstrations were all over the Philippines, particularly in Metro Manila. Since I was young then, there was little I could do, except to listen to radio news which dared to cover protest actions against Marcos, and to the stories from Mom who would be in every Ayala Avenue march.

Through it all, yellow was used as the color that signified anger and rage against the Marcos tyrrany. The color also meant love and nationalistic fervor for the Philippines. Yellow banners and cartolina to put harsh message across, confetti from the yellow pages of the directory, and yellow protest shirts were liberally used as solidarity tools to topple a despot ruler.

Three years later, still at school, during the snap elections of 1986 between Marcos and Ninoy’s widow, Corazon Aquino, I was already given parental consent to participate more actively in the process of patriotism. I, together with some friends, became Namfrel volunteer to guarantee the fairness and honesty of the elections. As a freshman college student, the task was scary as I personally witnessed the election shenanigans during that time.

At the polling precinct where I had to safeguard election boxes, I reported to our officers a person who was giving some amount to voters, after making their choice. At the Makati City Hall, a fellow volunteer and I had to climb the second floor, not exactly knowing where to look for the missing election boxes, as suspicious brownout suddenly occurred.  

After the elections, my friends and I stationed ourselves at Radio Veritas where we would take down notes from callers who were observing the aftermath of the elections. Radio Veritas then was the only station which gave fair assessments to the election situations.  It was certainly a privilege to be part of media. And on February 22, starting that day, I was told by the station manager that together with other volunteers, I could talk on the radio with the radio talents. I was excited. Maybe I was not expected to talk about my personal views, but just give out the comments provided by the listeners. But then it was ok. In fact I was able to do my task that very day.

But my socalled career was cut short. It had to give way to breathtaking events in EDSA. General Ramos and Defense Minister Enrile left Marcos’s side. Radio Veritas had to close down for safety, and hours later had to broadcast somewhere else as Radyo Bandido. And on February 25, 2005 Marcos left. And the widow dressed in yellow was installed President.

The dictatorship has been broken. And Philippines enjoys relative freedom. Since Cory had been president and had retired from the office 6 years later, there have been numerous occasions where the color yellow has been used again to show indignation and love for country. Again in EDSA Dos, yellow was used to oust an unfit president. And again several years later, yellow was utilized to make several attempts to take down another president.

On August 1, 2009. Cory Aquino succumbed to death after a long fight with cancer. And this time around, Filipinos would want to give tribute to Cory who enabled justice and freedom to reign again in our country despite the inconvenience to her as she had seen herself as just  a “simple housewife.”  Our parting gift to the great and most beloved  mother of Philippine Democracy – yellow flowers laid at her unpretentious home.