Displaying items by tag: culture

KAAMULAN: 'ALL IS NOT LOST'

The majestic gathering of warrior tribes, bonding in search for peace and prosperity was more than a fitting backdrop for visiting President Duterte’s call for friendship with China. Last Saturday’s Kaamulan festival in mountainous Bukidnon province also showcased the enduring indigenous culture that thrived in pre-Islamic and pre-Spanish times as depicted in extensive street dancing, culminating in a day-long presentation by some 5,000 performers.

Over a hundred thousand people, many travelled from afar, filled the sprawling Capitol Grounds of Malaybalay City to witness the spellbinding dances of at least eleven contingents of 500 each.

The rituals dramatized themes of war and reconciliation; conflagration and recovery; peace, brotherhood, friendship, courtship, harvest and thanksgiving.

“Kaamulan is unique in that it is a kaleidoscope of the rich and colorful culture of our ancestors that people, foreigners and Filipinos alike, came to see… All is not lost, as cultural festivals like this help preserve our identity as a people,” said Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo, also a Mindanao native herself.

The only authentic ethnic festival in the country features the cultures of seven distinct tribes in central Mindanao, namely Bukidnon, Higaunon, Talaandig, Manobo, Matigsalug, Tigwahanon and Umayamnon.

She said the hand-woven garments, elaborate headdress, and handcrafted warrior gears, planting tools, as well as the intricate musical instruments show the Filipino ancestors sophistication and high degree of civilization.

Teo arrived with the President, along with special guest Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, on the invitation of Bukidnon Governor Jose Maria Zubiri, Jr.

“Quite a number of local families, in coordination with the DOT and the provincial tourism office, opened their homes to visitors for an overnight stay. This is genuine Filipino hospitality at its best,” said Teo.

The DOT head said Duterte’s acceptance of China’s offer of friendship reflects the essence of Kaamulan where tribal leaders forged peace pacts and trade relations. “I want friendship... In fact, we are brothers,” declared Duterte, admitting feeling a strong kinship with the Chinese, whom history attests had never committed any atrocity against Filipinos.

Duterte and Zhao led the groundbreaking of a P1 billion drug rehabilitation facility in Malaybalay which is funded by a Chinese group Friends of Filipinos. Beijing pledges to encourage at least two million Chinese visitors to the Philippines this year.

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‘Kodakan’ (Promoting Filipino Heritage in America)  

President Franklin D. Roosevelt said these words in 1943: "We have faith that future generations will know here, in the middle of the twentieth century, there came a time when men of good will found a way to unite, and produce, and fight to destroy the forces of ignorance, and intolerance, and slavery, and war.” Fast forward to the year 2017 and what President Roosevelt said 74 years ago is still relevant.
We again witness ignorance and intolerance manifested by rising anti-immigrant sentiments and attacks in the U.S. The rise of bashing incidents, violence, and hate crimes against immigrants and people of color have been fanned by conservative and nativist rhetoric that depicts immigrants as a “baggage to American society” rather than the realistic picture of hard working people who contribute their talents and labor to make America a better country.
The Filipino community in America is not immune to the anti-immigrant trend.
The fact that Filipinos have settled in North America long before Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states, and even before the Philippines was granted independence by the United States, does not exempt our community from the immigrant bashing that is happening around. We need to continue educating mainstream America about who we are and the contributions that we have made as a people in American society.
Education is an important component but reality check tells us that there is not much written about our history and culture as a people in the U.S. Even in cities and places where there are many Filipinos, historical materials and studies about Filipinos are not always available and accessible in libraries, resource centers, schools and institutions of higher learning.
There are many immigrant stories that need to be told, many photos and multi-media materials that need to be gathered, stored, and shared so we can tell our own story about our community. There should be no more waiting. With the immigrant bashing going on around, the time to do this is now.
With the advancement of information and communication technology and the extensive use of internet and social media in our daily lives, we can now expect that our own narratives and Filipino heritage can be easily and properly documented. It is also much easier now to store information for future generations.
There are many activities and developments in connection with this undertaking to promote and preserve Filipino heritage in the U.S. particularly in San Francisco.
First was the recognition and adoption of the city’s South of Market area as the Filipino Cultural Heritage District (SoMa Pilipinas) on April 12, 2016. Last year, a number of our community members also shared their stories through the StoryCorps and the Center of Asian American Media.
This year the Filipino community in partnership and cooperation with the San Francisco Public Library came up with the project “Kodakan Photo Day: Shades of San Francisco: A Search for Visual Filipino History of San Francisco.”
“Shades of San Francisco” is embracing the mission to collect and copy photographs from the family albums and private collections of current and former San Francisco residents. These photos will then be exhibited and added to the San Francisco History Center’s photo archives to create a permanent record of the daily lives of San Franciscans as well as the historical, political, and cultural contributions of the many neighborhoods and ethnic communities that make up the City and County of San Francisco.
Shades of San Francisco (Kodakan) will take place for the Filipino community on May 13, 2017 from 10am to 4pm at the San Francisco Main Public Library (100 Larkin Street in San Francisco).
We should support this noble cause. On photo day, please bring copies of your photos from your photo albums, loose photographs, and digital photos, including old materials and literatures about Filipinos and the Filipino community in San Francisco so the library will have more archival collections about us and our contributions as a people to the San Francisco community as a whole.
Let us continue to promote and preserve Filipino social and cultural heritage in America.

Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California. His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases. Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio "Jojo" Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.

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2017 ASEAN-China Year of Tourism Cooperation

PHOTOS BY TEDDY PELAEZ

Asean, China back cooperation program

MANILA— A new era in international tourism looms as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China reaffirmed full commitment and support for the 2017 ASEAN-China Year of Tourism Cooperation program during its launching attended by Chinese officials at the Philippine International Convention Center on Thursday night.

The leader of host country The Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte, hailed the “reawakening of an age-old kinship” with China that dates back to pre-Spanish barter trade and tourism.

“Through regional cooperation and diplomacy tourism, the goals to increase visitor arrivals, promote cultural exchanges, generate more livelihood for local people, improve infrastructure, and diversify investment in tourism activities can be achieved between ASEAN and China,” said Duterte in a message read by Philippine Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo.

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, who heads the portfolios of Agriculture, Water Resources, Commerce and Tourism, delivered a message from Chinese President Xi Jinping who lauded the friendly ASEAN neighbours for neutrality in regional affairs and sharing the geography through tourism cooperation.

“China accepts such stance as a sign of mutual respect, opportunity for development, and affirmation for global peace and prosperity,” Duterte said.

“The current world situation is reconciliatory. Through tourism cooperation, ASEAN and China can do great and good things together like our situation in the Philippines where we are prioritizing sustainable and inclusive tourism. With booming travel between ASEAN and China, our cooperation will bring nations and peoples closer together,” Duterte said.

The ASEAN-China Tourism Cooperation is an initiative that seeks to enhance the partnership of China with the ten ASEAN member-countries, including the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Having been designated this year’s host of ASEAN Summit on rotation basis among the ten member-states, the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) coordinated with the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) for this week’s meetings.

At Thursday’s opening ceremonies, spectacular cultural performances were staged by the CNTA including a song number, called “Travelling Around the World” by a Chinese songstress and an all-male kung fu demonstration called “Kungfu Revelations-9 Scrolls”.

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