Text and Photos by Euden Valdez
“Takot kami dati sa mga Unat.”
This was an overheard statement from an Aeta from an upland community in Limay, Bataan during a group’s Christmas outreach. The elderly woman was referring to lowlanders or Filipinos outside their tribe. Unat is a Filipino word that means someone with straight hair, that differentiate them from Aetas who have curly hair.
We can’t blame these Aetas, or any other indigenous tribes in the country, for harboring fear toward their fellow Filipinos who have periodically abused and displaced them in the past and even to this day.
A lot has changed, many indigenous peoples (IPs) are now more accepting of us and our ways. Still, it remains our obligation to show these marginalized and underprivileged tribes that they can trust us, and that they can rely on us.
This can be done by reaching out to them more and by uplifting their lives through our own little yet creative ways big or small, and through random acts of kindness whenever possible.
(Released, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)
ALIN NISA was among the 720,000 Rohingya who fled persecution and violence in Myanmar last year. When her village was attacked, she and her family was forced to escape in the dead of the night at 3 a.m.
They had nothing but the clothes on their back. With her husband, mother-in-law and two young children, she crossed mountains and rivers. Along the journey, they walked across water-logged paddy fields, in torrential rain, sometimes through the night.
After a perilous journey of 10 days and 102 kilometers, they arrived at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh.
Now safe in Bangladesh, the family has built a shelter, using plastic sheeting and bamboo - all provided by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). They also received a cooking kit, mats and blankets.
Text and Photos by Euden Valdez
FOR two weekends of October, audiences near and far Bonifacio Global City in Taguig were treated to the Filipino musical talent spanning all genres and decades.
Over a hundred solo artists, bands and icons played in celebration of original Pilipino music at this extraordinary festival co-curated by Moy Ortiz, Noel Ferrer and new National Artist for Music Ryan Cayabyab.
Here are some of the performances we caught at the Maybank Theater of the BGC Arts Center:
(Released, Cultural Center of the Philippines)
FOR their significant contribution to the development of Philippine arts and culture, seven Filipinos were bestowed the highest honor given to our artists.
Visual artist Lauro “Larry” Alcala, theater advocate Amelia Lapeña Bonifacio, music master Raymund “Ryan” Cayabyab, filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik, architect Francisco Mañosa, and literary writers Resil Mojares and Ramon Muzones were conferred as National Artists by President Rodrigo Duterte last October 24 at Rizal Ceremonial Hall of Malacañan Palace.
Know more about these exemplary individuals:
Text by Euden Valdez
This was the rejection I received as an outdoor enthusiast and aspiring mountaineer when I once suggested to include potatoes in a soup dish for a dinner at camp.
But had I known by then how potatoes could provide enough nutrition to pump up the hike’s next leg, I would have insisted—like Princess Sarah always does for her “patatas.”
By Euden Valdez
IN Japan, Japanese women both young and old would be seen wearing the kimono whether casually on the streets or formally on occasions. This, a millennia after its invention.
The “prototype” kimono was first worn as early as the 8th century during the Heian period (794-1192). By the 18th century during the Meiji period (1868-1912), the kimono we knew today came to be.
Meanwhile in the Philippines, the equivalent terno, a beautifully silhouetted gown featuring the iconic butterfly sleeves, can only be seen on stages of beauty pageants orfashion shows. In recent times, during the State of Nation Address. This even if it is much younger traditional dress.
Photos by Euden Valdez
ESTABLISHED in 1987, the Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video has become the longest-running independent film and video competition in Asia. Throughout the three decades, it has discovered and developed cinematic talents in the country.
Last Augustust 4 to 6, Gawad CCP Alternatibo held its 30th edition at the Cultural Center of Philippines in time with the Cinemalaya Philippine Independen Film Festival. It cited the best efforts of Filipino filmmakers in four categories: Animation, Experimental, Documentary and Short Feature.
By Euden Valdez
“MAYBE in the future, if I am able to develop a rich enough material on the subject,” said filmmaker Kip Oebanda when asked about creating a film about the life of “Kumander Liway,” a former National People’s Army (NPA) leader in Negros Occidental during Martial Law. (In detention, but independent, Inquirer.net)
The year was 2014.
Oebanda did not want to rush because the story was “deeply personal and serious.” So in the years to come, he wrote and directed instead three independent films, “Tumbang Preso” (2014), “Bar Boys” and “Nay” (2017), which nevertheless showcased his capacity as a storyteller. In between, continuously researching and developing the biographical film--but always doubting.
“Ayoko talaga siyang gawin noong una, honestly. Why would I put myself in a dangerous position. ‘Liway’ will inevitably have a political slant,” Oebanda said. (The Reel Life of Kip Oebanda, Manila Bulletin)
But “the time is right,” so he said.
By Euden Valdez
THESPIAN Bodjie Pascua returned to the big screen in this year’s Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival. Starring in the full-length entry “Pan de Salawal” (The Sweet Taste of Salted Bread and Undies), Pascua portrayed Sal, an ageing baker who has lost the will to live after being diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.
While his character was a far cry from the jolly, lively Kuya Bodjie we used to know in a kiddie TV show, Pascua managed to warm the hearts of Cinemalaya audiences with the help of 7-year-old child actor Miel Espinosa.
The tandem of Sal (Pascua) and Aguy (Espinosa) showed how one’s “dying” outlook in life could change with a just a “little” nudge.
“Sana nakangiti kayo pagkatapos ng pelikula (Hope you are all smiling after the film)” said writer and director Che Espiritu at the gala screening last August 6 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
(Released by the CCP
BEYOND showcase of competing films in full-length and short categories, the 14th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival is also giving its audiences a myriad of films in various genres, catering to different cinematic preferences and experiences.
is a former dyarista, now digitista who has been writing whenever the tides, the winds, the earth take her somewhere familiar, somewhere new.