Archive for philippine history

(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.

Advertisements

two tall

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, history, locales, people, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2010 by mijodo

Lapulapu of Luneta Park. David of Davao City.

Two behemoth structures that call attention from their territory’s populace and guests. Two gigantic personas that awed and inspired their respective people at their respective time and place. One is from the pages of Philippine history; the other is  from the books of the Bible.

There is a replica of Michaelangelo’s statue of King David at the beachfront of Davao City. As written in the Old Testament, King David was the one who slung a rock at the forehead of the taller and much heavier Goliath who had been a menace  to Israelites.

And this tall structure made a commotion, a few years back among the politicians and the citizens of this economically progressive city of Davao. As the reproduction has David, nude and looming above the reflecting pool, some quarters wanted it removed; some, as a compromise, just required it to have some pants.

Apparently until now, the statue still depcits David in its naked glory, perhaps, just cooling his heels for the another round of fight, against censorship and prohibition, after the local elections this year.

Another controversial behemoth statue is the one at Rizal Park in Manila. Supposedly, this park should only honor, Jose Rizal, the Philippines’s national hero, and no one else as the park’s name implies, but apparently there is the great bronze figure of Lapu-Lapu, lording it over between the Department of Tourism and Department of Finance Buildings at the then known, Agrifina Circle of Luneta Park.

Some knowledgeable people of history and even landscape architecture raised voices against Lapulapu’s monument inside the national park. Some historians and chroniclers cited that Lapulapu had lead against the foreign invasion of the Spanish conquistadors, when the Philippines as a nation was not even created yet, hence Lapulapu should not be exactly called a Philippine hero yet. 

And some just didn’t like how the sculpture blends in with the aesthetics of the park, itself.  Lapulapu’s figure was too tall, and just did not create the balance and proportion with Rizal’s monument.

Apparently, regionalism deepened the controversy as some Cebuanos have taken the opposition to the marker as an insult to Visayans since Lapulapu had been a datu from Mactan, Cebu.

Whether such monolithic statues of King David or Datu Lapulapu have served well, in terms of beautifying and enhancing their respective places or not, there is no doubt such great people have affected other men and women to be wilfull and assertive against supposed enemies and antagonists.

wedding of the year

Posted in architecture, artifacts, events, fashion, history, lifestyle, locales, people, religion, sports, tradition, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2009 by mijodo

sta monica church of sarrat 

The story could have come from a tv soap opera in epic proportion.

A story of strong political couple, willfully ruling a place for some decades, with a vision of creating a perfect  familial image.

In the early 1980s, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos might have  tried mightily to control the minds of the Filipinos from their Malacanang Palace, but surely enough, they were not able to restrain the heart of their first daughter, Imee.

Apparently, Imee, who was already making her own political mark, as National Chairperson of the Kabataang Barangay, fell in love with a married sportsman, Tommy Manotoc. Obviously, during that time when there were no cellphones, no text messaging, no emails, and even no freedom of the press, such salacious, portently scandalous story would have to be spread through hushed tones, and word of mouth.

And the story took a wilder, more frighteningly turn.  Tommy Manotoc was kidnapped. The alternative press such as We Forum, the precursor of Malaya Newspaper, had a heyday reporting the story, albeit there was a strong possibility of the paper being clamped down by Malacanang. Then all of a sudden Tommy Manotoc just came out of nowhere, reportedly from the New People’s Army camp in the mountains of Sierra Madre. But of course, the popular conclusion about this sordid tale was that Imelda masterminded the abduction.

Some years later, during in first few months of 1983, the youngest daughter, Irene would marry Greggy of the pedigreed and landed Araneta clan. Although Imee could maintain relationship with Tommy, and even start family of their own, they were not able to get the grand nuptials that the Marcoses wanted for them. Tommy who was able to get a divorce from beauty queen Aurora Pijuan could not merit another marriage as the Catholic Church would not allow such. Thus this time around, the Marcoses saw to it that a fabulous wedding would have to be prepared for Irene and Greggy.

Ryan Cayabyab, Irene’s personal friend and musical mentor from University of the Philippines, involved himself in composing a whole wedding cantata.  European designer Renato Balestra was tasked to do the Italian silk and Philippine pina cloth wedding gown.  The exclusive, and red bricked Fort Ilocandia Hotel in Laoag was rushed to beat the nuptial date deadline, as it was where many of the invited foreign dignitaries, esteemed government officials and chic members of the society would stay before, during and after the wedding. It was also the venue for the reception.

And of course, Irene and Greggy chose the heritage church of  the sleepy town of Sarrat, where the Edralin side (mother) of Ferdinand Marcos came from, and where the ancestral house still stands. The Baroque and Neo Classical Sta. Monica Church had to be cleaned up, spruced and refurbished for the wedding.  Hundreds were deployed to paint the walls of the edifice, and install large airconditioning  machines in the cavernous church building. And beside the church,  a huge tent was put up for the town’s local officials and people who might  not have the necessary credentials and status to get inside the official reception area, and yet should partake in the lavish food prepared.

True enough, it was the grand social event of that year for the Philippines as  the Marcoses, particularly Imelda would have envisioned. The local press put the event as the banner story, and paralleled it with the Diana and Charles’s royal wedding, a year before.

Some months later in  August, 1983, a strong earthquake shook the church. And some days later, again in August, Ninoy Aquino arrived and shook the Marcoses. And the seeming  telenovela story continued.

buried in secret

Posted in architecture, artifacts, culture, history, locales with tags , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2009 by mijodo

the charming chapel of paco park

It could be a romantic place. In fact it has been a venue for weddings. And I have been into one. Afterall, there is this old chapel, just big enough to accommodate the groom’s and the bride’s families. There is manicured lawn, and if it is not syrupy enough, one can even have a fountain gushing for the matrimony. Seriously, it is a beautiful and elegant place, this Paco Park.

But if you look closely at the place, actually it is a cemetery, full of catacombs and niches. Paco Park in Manila during the Spanish era was a burial place for well heeled aristocrats. It is interesting to see the names and dates of those interred at this place. You just wonder what life had been during those times, eons ago.

There are several pocket sections inside this intimate park. In fact there is a corner for the unborn children. Then as I walk around, there was a marker which  information I was blown away. Apparently, where the marker was, that was the exact place where Jose Rizal, our National Hero was buried, unbeknownst to the Spanish authorities after his execution in Bagumbayan, the nearby Luneta Park. Somehow for a history buff like me, it was my first time to know such curious fact.

Then I get to imagine what could have happened right after Rizal’s death. The family just trying to haul the lifeless body of the hero, and giving him a decent burial at least. But then everything has to be hushed-hushed lest the authorities find out, and worsen the situation even more for Rizal’s family. Thus in the interim, secrets had to be made, right after Rizal’s demise. 

Sometimes secrets like rizal’s entombment and like the  mysteries of the disappearing articles in this blog, just have to be made – or things may go awry. In time, everything will be unfolded.

the flag to its nation

Posted in artifacts, events, locales, people with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2008 by mijodo
Author’s note: I am featuring an article I had done for the new website, brownheritage.com (http://brownheritage.com/index.html).  I hope the readers here enjoy my other articles and the other articles written by my fellow writers in the said site.
                     
The flag was just not cooperating. I was about to take this supposedly great picture for Philippine Independence Day, but the flag was too lifeless to create a searing picture that could stir up one’s patriotic fervor. Alas the wind  was not helping.
 
As it has been told, ours is the only National Flag that can convey that the nation is at war. Once the flag is hoisted having the red horizontal band as its upper part, then war is declared with another state such as when the Commonwealth was against the Axis Nations, like Japan during World War II (1941-1944). The red is known to mean courage while the blue section – peace and unity.
 
But in relatively calmer times, it has been a rallying point to many Filipinos, most specially in international sports and competitions. The victorious boxer drapes himself  in a cloth that had been  created originally by Marcella Agoncillo for Emilio Aguinaldo’s Declaration of Independence from Spain (1898). The Filipino audience sees the blue and the red, and claps for the new hero that has just made the whole islands of  Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao proud as symbolized by the three stars in the white triangle part of the Flag.
 
In modern history, the flag has been used to bear witness in creating social changes either made in peaceful revolutions or tempestuous conflicts. The need for reforms is made more consequential, once the National Hymn or even Bayan Ko is performed in public gatherings such as in EDSA or secret hideaways in the boondocks and hills of the provincial areas . Afterall, the flags eight rays of the sun represent the first eight provinces that revolted for independence in 1896. These were Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Cavite , Batangas, Laguna, and Manila .
 
 
But to the youngster, it is where they make their solemn pledge of allegiance or “Panatang Makabayan” on a daily basis. After reciting a daily prayer to his Creator, the school kid stands up erect in front of the waving flag and makes the oath to be the good citizen that is expected of him by his family, his school, and his government.  And the flag’s emblematic sun shows how the Filipinos have shone through to build progress for their nation despite the incredible odds and chaos through the years.
 
And to just instill life to the flag for the photoshoot, I asked my assistants to toss the flag a little bit. Let their hands be the propeller of action to the almost motionless nation flag. Lo and behold, with the help too of nature’s wind, the flag started to undulate and reveal its glory.  The flag was able to make its own dance – carefree and confident. The Philippine flag was already ready for its own close-up.