THE IFUGAO HUT HEALING PROJECT
From April to December of the year 1904 was the St. Louis World’s Fair in Missouri. The fair celebrated the hundredth anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase from France. It was described by the media as an international and historical exposition that showcased how the U.S. progressed and progressed as a new colonial nation.
To highlight the “U.S. achievements” Americans brought a number of indigenous peoples and those from whose home nations were colonized by the U.S. for display in villages or reservations within the fair grounds. These indigenous groups were brought to show to the American people how “backwards” and “uncivilized” they were. The people from the Philippines, which was recently purchased from Spain and turned into a colony, who were brought over to the fair to be showcased in a human zoo were seen as “primitive” to their onlookers.
One of these groups were the Igorot from Northern Philippines. In media advertisements they were described as a group of “savages,” “headhunters,” and “dog-eaters.”
For the duration of the fair, 110 members composed of men, women, and children were placed on display in the Igorot Village. They are “studied, inspected, stared at, peered at, denigrated, pitied, and despised,” by thousands of fairgoers. As part of their acts the fair administration required them to perform daily dog feast for their meals for their white American audience to make a profit out of their explotation. The Igorot Village eventually became the most popular exhibit at the fair from their abuse, exploitation, and being used as a human zoo.
Today descendants of the Igorots in the U.S. don’t want to be called by their ethnic group names. They, with a large number of Pilipin@s, feel a sense of shame, guilt and depression which comes from the abuse their ancestors went through during the World Fair and in which caused stereotypes among Pilipin@s such as us being dog eaters. The stigma caused from the human zoos during the World Fair has stayed even today.
The Goal of the Project:
The Ifugao Hut Healing Project was initiated by Mamerto Tindongan, an Ifugao descendant and mombaki (shaman) who has a knowledge of the indigenous healing traditions of Northern Philippines. He is a Pilipin@-American immigrant based in Ohio, who practices a combination of both Eastern and Western healing traditions. He believes that performing a ritual at the former site of the St. Louis World’s Fair will help address the deep psychic wounds of his people and the colonial relations between Pilipin@s and the United States.
The project is meant to honor those who were mocked and put on display in the Igorot Village and their descendants. The goal is for Mamerto, who is also an expert wood carver and professional sculptor, to build a traditional Ifugao hut. It will be patterned after the same hut found at the 1904 Igorot Village. It will be composed of transportable parts, to be taken and reassembled in St. Louis, Missouri. The hut will serve as the symbol of peace and the central structure whereby healing rituals can be offered to Pilipin@ communities, as well as non-Filipino communities.
There is a crowdfunding fundraiser for the project. For those interested and willingly to help donate to the construction of the hut here is the link to the fundraiser.
If you want to see the video for the project with Mamerto talking and showing the idea behind the hut visit here.
I actually talked about this on this post 2 years ago, however it’s a bit outdated and since I made that post I realized I made a few mistakes in terms which others who are fluent speakers of Tagalog or another Philippine language have pointed out to me.
But the point of the post is still very relevant and I strongly support the movement of pushing, thinking of, and having a discussion of a new, indigenous name for our country and to finally stop referring to our islands as being named after King Philip II of Spain and stop referring ourselves as people under his name.
As I am not fluent in any Philippine language I can’t suggest a name. I strongly believe it should be something the majority of the people of our different ethnic groups who speak their own languages will agree on and it won’t be a name that represents only one ethnic group (like many people wanting it to be Maharlika when that term is a Tagalog term and was a social class of only the Tagalogs). Probably including the word bansa or bangsa, meaning nation or people, which the terms are pretty much common throughout all the languages in the Philippines and even in with our neighbors in Indonesia and Malaysia (no surprise there considering our languages are related).
But like I said since I am not fluent in any of our indigenous languages from the Philippines I can’t give a suggestion for a new name for our motherland. This is a discussion I’ll gladly join in however I’ll leave it for linguists and those who know more of our languages than I do who can suggest some names.
I haven’t personally looked at books so if anyone has a recommendation for books and resources to learn Binisaya feel free to suggest.
Thank you! And I’m glad the blog has helped!
Kularts Conjures Up Maség (Typhoon): A Philippine Dance Production
What is Maség?
Set in the Philippines circa 1400’s, Maség uses The Tempest as framework to tell a magical tale of a power, intrigue, and witchcraft through indigenous Philippine Dance and original choreography.
Kularts, the nation’s premier presenter of contemporary and tribal Pilipino arts, is producing this groundbreaking work with Philippine Master Dance Artist Jay Loyola and Composer Florante Aguilarat the historic Brava Theater in San Francisco on November 15 and 16, 2014. Kularts is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit arts organization. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
On an imagined typhoon-battered island of Puló in Palawan, Philippines, Maség, is a mystical story of a once powerful and righteous tribal shaman chieftain who is exiled with his daughter to the Puló Island where he plots his malicious revenge.
He manipulates and enslaves the spirit deities of the island, into conjuring a powerful typhoon to sink his enemies’ ship.
Once shipwrecked, his enemies are separated and on the island. The exiled tribal chieftain puts spell on his daughter Matinlóh to seduce his enemy’s son, Kisig.
Struck by his own unspeakable acts of injustice and manipulations, Masikampo Panglima suffers gut-wrenching internal conflict threatening to destroy his very soul. Will he abandon his vengeful streak and end the hateful feud between their families or continue on the path of self-destruction?
The Lost History of Philippines Before 1521
Before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, during the pre-colonial period, the archipelago of Philippines was inhabited by numerous tribal kingdoms. Ruled by rajahs, the kingdoms were organized into small political groups, each known as barangay.
Barangay originated from “balangay”, a seaworthy vessel used to ply the maritime waters of the South and Southeast Asian trading routes. The kingdom nations traded with kingdoms now known as Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, China, and Thailand. In the late 1300s Makhdum Karim, the first Islamic missionary brought Islam to the Archipelago. By 1500’s Islam was widely practiced in the archipelago and many tribal nations aligned with the Islamic sultanates of Sulu and Borneo. At the time of Spanish arrival in 1521. Manila was a Muslim kingdom, ruled by Rajah Sulayman, who fiercely fought the Spaniards until 1574.
Dancing and Music
The full-length dance work to be choreographed by Philippine Master Dance Artist Jay Loyola, formerly a principal dancer for the prestigious Philippine Bayanihan Dance Company and trained as choreographer under the National Philippine Artist Lucrecia Urtula Reyes, will be performed by fourteen dancers to an original score of haunting melodies and driving polyrhythmic percussion by Florante Aguilar, creator of the award-winning documentary, Harana: The Search for the Lost Art of Serenade.
Binitay: Journey of a Filipin@ Adoptee
Documentary by James Beni Wilson
"The child when found, was placed inside a plastic bag hanged on a banana palm in the upland portion of barrio Mabuli, Tabogon, estimated to be 90 kilometers away from Cebu City."
This was the opening line to the written document of the reason of abandonment of the adoption case papers of a good friend of mine who I met here on Tumblr and who I had the pleasure of finally meeting face to face during the FANHS Conference in San Diego last week. Last year he went on a deep, personal journey of finding out who he was and where he came from.
All of us struggle with getting to know who we are and knowing ourselves as Pilipin@s especially those of us who are born outside the homeland. However James story is special, one that takes him to finding out where he was born, the story of how he came to the U.S. by being adopted to a white family in Michigan, learning the truth of how he came into the adoption center in the Philippines, seeing his foster family for the first time since he was adopted, and finding the identity of his biological mother and family.
He made a kickstarter last year to help fund his trip back to the Philippines to try and uncover the story behind why he became an adoptee and what happened to his real family. Thankfully it became a success and he was able to go back to his birthplace in Cebu and go on this heartwarming journey.
He has now recently finished creating his documentary as a Pilipin@ adoptee here in the states and I would like to share with you all, especially to any other adoptees, especially Pilipin@ adoptees who may resonate with his experiences.
I encourage you all to watch his documentary, his journey growing up in a white family, not meeting any Pilipin@s until the age of 17, of his struggles of racism and identity while growing up, and how he managed to find out who he is and where his story begins.
To watch the full documentary visit the Binitay: Journey of a Filipin@ Adoptee Blog.
If you have any critiques, comments, or questions feel free to comment on the film page on the blog. James is looking for good, thought out critiques of the documentary to help him see what he can do better for the documentary so feel free to write your thoughts.
And for those who are also Pilipin@ adoptees here are a few links, some that James runs or is a part of that you may be interested in and be a part of.
Battle of Bud Dajo 1911
Genocide against the Moro people wherein women, children, and the elderly were ruthlessly massacred; a battle between the Sulu Sultanate (1450s to 1910s) and the United States of America; also considered one of the last battles of the Sulu Sultanate’s and the Philippine Republic’s wars against the USA.
Learn your history folks. If you really think the U.S. hasn’t done shit to us and “freed us from Spain” and are our “saviors” read up on the Philippine-American War. Of the concentration camps, ruthless killings, the kill anyone over 10 order, the burning of towns and villages especially on Samar and Leyte, the water cure tortures, and the genocide of our people under the watchful and knowing eye of the U.S.
We were betrayed.
We were massacred.
Those who fought against the U.S. military were considered insurgents, terrorists, people who had to be put down, which they literally did with the concentration camps. All in the name of U.S. colonialism and imperialism which started with the Philippines and continues today with other countries.
Studio Salimbal's theme was a Space Opera themed character. This character is loosely based on the Philippine myth of Haliya (Bicolano moon goddess) and Bakunawa (moon eating serpent).
-No one knows her true identity as she is only known for the Babayin letter in her necklace “KA”
-Lost her left arm for reasons unknown.
-She commands the ship “Haliya” along with a ragtag team of mercenary ladies. (mostly who escaped their invaded home planets)
-Wanted as a criminal under the 6 out of 7 planets, which are currently controlled by Bakunawa’s Legion. (based on the Bakunawa’s myth of consuming moons)
A hundred thirteen years ago today, two Filipinos were hand picked for a top secret project. The two were sent to the United States to start filming a propaganda film, set to the music of the times. They were chosen when a full body shot of the two was discovered and sent to the producer’s office in Los Angeles. They were said to be, based on the photo (see: above) “the perfect characters” for their project. Watch the film here.
#todayinhistory — On August 8, 1901, the Philippine Constabulary was established to be the local police force. It is now known as the Philippine National Police.
Two members of the Philippine Constabulary posing for a photo in the New York Tribune in 1905.
(Photo courtesy of the U.S. Library of Congress.)
Mark your calendars! On Sunday August 10th, 2014 Kapwa Collective and Pinoy Culture will be at the Kultura Filipino Arts Festival Finale/Marketplace open from 12-7PM.
Explore the best selection of Filipino/English children’s books in Toronto. Experience the beauty of T’nalak textiles and T’boli handicrafts. Learn about our TBOLIxTO cultural exchange.
* Partial proceeds support the T’boli School of Living Traditions, Lake Sebu Philippines.
Salamat to Kapisanan Philippine Centre for Arts & Culture for sponsorship support. Teybong S’lamat to our friends at the Lake Sebu School of Living Traditions. Photo credit: Edwin Mercurio
For those in the Toronto area here is an event near you that you may be interested in attending. Note that the Pinoy Culture mentioned here is not the blog, it is a bookshop separate from the blogger and blog.