Displaying items by tag: culture

Dom Martin's vestments: Indigenized robes for worship

 

MANILA -- A collection of 60 liturgical vestments from 20 ethno-linguistic groups is currently on display at the Ayala Museum in Makati City.
The exhibit, entitled “Vested for Worship, Wrapped in Identity”, showcases the designs of Benedictine monk, Dom Martin Hizon Gomez, OSB from the Abbey of the Transfiguration in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.
Dom Martin studied at the SLIMS Fashion and Arts School from 1967-1968 and had a 22-year career as a fashion designer before entering the monastery.
The Catholic Church has quite recently adopted the concept of “enculturation”, which means that songs -- and now vestments -- can be indigenized. Vestments can make use of fabrics belonging to the cultural identity of each parish.
Amazed by the country’s rich cultural heritage, Dom Martin was prompted to ask, “We have all these beautiful materials. How come we never use them for the Church?”
Dom Martin however had to make certain that fabrics and other ornaments from the various ethno-linguistic groups in the country remain available. “If I am going to promote the use of indigenous materials, I should be assured of the supply. I know they are beautiful but do people still weave them? I might be creating a market but then all of a sudden, there might be no supply,” he said.
Acting as his own researcher and anthropologist, Dom Martin set out on a journey that would take him from his native Mindanao to the northernmost parts of Luzon in search of the best materials that would represent the ethno-linguistic groups of the Philippines.
It was a project that would take him four-and-a-half years to complete. Dom Martin traveled and studied 20 ethno-linguistic groups to make sure they are still weaving and can weave for the Church.
The monk sought the help of the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI), Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA), and the Katutubong Pilipino Foundation, whose chairperson Margie Macasaet encouraged him to create a whole collection in time for the Philippine Centennial Celebrations in 1998.
He also checked with his embroiderers in Parañaque and Las Piñas to see if they were still around and working. They were only too glad to help with his project.
“I was very blessed that all the people I approached believed in what I wanted to do — to enculturate liturgical vestments and make them Filipino,” Dom Martin said.
In the field while doing research, Dom Martin realized how remote and inaccessible some of these indigenous groups were, for instance, the “Itneg” in Abra, which he reached after a long trek that included crossing a hanging bridge over a raging river.
“Two days later when I came home, I talked to my brother and I said, please get me an insurance policy. I did not realize this research was going to entail some danger,” he quipped.
The resulting pieces were nothing short of breathtaking. The vestments were done in a variety of fabrics, including abaca and “pinya”, and incorporated the colors of the Itneg, Gaddang, Ifugaos and many other indigenous peoples.
Each piece is totally rendered by hand. The ornaments and embroidery work are intricate and exquisite, fusing in such liturgical symbols as the cross, vines and branches.
According to Dom Martin, the simplicity of the vestments in the early days signified that the Church closely identified itself with the poor. This explains why he left out symbols on the stole --“stola” in Greek -- which means “towel”.
“You do not put symbols on top of symbols. In the early ages, all of these vestments were ordinary clothing. The stola was just a towel that the men used to wipe their faces and hands,” he explained.
”Later on, they had to put emblems and different symbols for catechetical instruction. It served its purpose in those years but at this point in time, they are not strictly necessary, which is why my stoles do not have any additional symbols.”
We have to take pride in our heritage and culture and bring this pride and culture in our liturgical celebrations, he said.
”Only then can we say that our worship has become truly Filipino. Enculturating vestments is very important because when a priest celebrates the Holy Eucharist wearing a vestment using indigenous materials, he is not only clothed for worship, he is wrapped in the Filipino identity,” Dom Martin.
The exhibit runs at the Ayala Museum until September 5. -- PNA

 
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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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