Archive for philippine culture

(lg2a) sorry, we just don’t have any space

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, events, history, interior design, letsgopinas goes to america, lifestyle, locales, people, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2010 by mijodo

 

 

After some little shopping at Madison Avenue, in New York City, my sister Christie accompanied me and our niece, Ernestine to Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Met as it is popularly monickered.

We were ready to pay for the entrance fee however for some reason, the lady assistant attending to us said fees were waived that day. Instead we could make some donation, if we wish too. My sister handed in 25 Dollars for the three of us, and rented out two audio guide players to accompany us throughout the exhibits. My sister, who has been there many times, was pleasantly surpised about the fee arrangement.

And I was giddy about coming into the halls and the cloisters of the much vaunted and iconic Met. Aside from the financial district, and the skyscrapers defining New York City, it is the plethora of cultural staples that mark New York City as a “global city.”  Plays and music of Broadway, distinct ethnic communities, and a number of significant museum buidings just put New York into that cliche as the city “that never sleeps.”

Well, I almost never slept, right after the museum visit. My thoughts wandered after a seemingly innocent comment from another lady assistant inside the museum.

After taking a look at the Egyptian collection, the Americana artifacts, classical European statues and paintings, I checked out the Asian treasures, particularly the ones from South East Asia, afterall Philippines is part of that region. However I noticed right away, that only relics from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand were occupying the huge corner space of the museum.

My instant reaction was to look for the museum person probably guarding the South East Asian pieces. “Do you have some artifacts from the Philippines?” I asked, hoping that the lady knows that Philippines is part of that particular Asian region.

“Sorry, we just don’t have any space,” was the lame excuse of the lady.

I did not push the issue. I felt sorry for the Philippines. In the huge halls of the august museum, there seemed no representative piece from my country. “Not even the Man in the Barrel woodpiece from Baguio,” I told jokingly to my sister.

I was incensed and disturbed. Didn”t the Metropolitan Museum of the Art know that Philippines is part of South East Asia? Or did the Met think we only have “rebultos and santos,” such that this Philippine collection might only mar a decidedly Oriental character of the space which is full of ceramic plates and buddha statues all around. But the Philippines does have pre-hispanic ceramic plates and jars excavation finds. Probably our National Museum should lend some of our collection pieces used by our pre-Christian ancestors – mostly Aetas and Indo-Malay ascendants.

The seeming  faux pas on Met’s side begs a deeper question. Is the Philippines’s culture and civilization not significant for the visitors to see and understand. Apparently, we as a people from the Philippines know that we had a culture similar to our Asian neighbors, but the Western countries which colonize our islands apparently had severe influence in our way of living up to this moment.  Probably to many outside the Philippines, we, as a people, are neither here nor there – brown skinned, chinky eyed Asians who have unwavering loyalty to Catholicism (from the Spanish), and talk and write good American English.  

Obviously, the Philippine archeological antiquities will never be found in the European collection nor in the Americana mementos of the Met or probably in any sensible museum.

Too bad for us, Filipinos and too bad for Met’s visitors, as there is much to take and see from our unique Filipino heritage – buddhas or no buddhas.

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land of the other giants

Posted in artifacts, culture, locales, people, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2009 by mijodo

relief mural translation of botong francisco's painting on the "cry of pugadlawin" by bonifacio as depicted by the artists of angono 

The “higantes” may give some color to the festivities of Angono https://letsgopinas.wordpress.com/2008/11/26/land-of-the-giants/), but it is the native cultural luminaries who are the true giants of this Rizal town. In fact, two of them have been conferred the honors of becoming National Artists.

One cultural treasure is the musical composer and professor Lucio San Pedro. He (together with lyricist Levi Celerio) created the haunting lullaby “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan”, and folksy song “Ang Pipit.” 

Another cultural genius from Angono is Carlos “Botong” Francisco. His works dwell much on Filipino history and  traditions. He created masterpieces such as “Muslim Wedding” and  “Bayanihan” (this one was commissioned by Filipino Drug Corporation – Unilab).

The people from Angono have been so proud of Francisco such that the young artists of this generation paid homage by translating his pieces into relief murals along Aurora Street where his house stands. Perimeter walls of residential homes have been used as canvasses.  Thus the street has become a virtual museum where everyone can sense Francisco’s artistry and patriotism.

It is just appropriate that the other youth of this country should look up to such men who created culturally elephantine works and stood tall in the process.