Archive for the ‘Bantayog ng mga Bayani’ category

energies that embrace and wake you up

January 23, 2008

this morning i wanted to lounge around in bed. we call it ‘inin” taking time to wake up, savoring one’s time in bed, like  cooking rice that needs time to absorb the water. but an energy embraced me and push me gently to rise. if you believe in a subconscious self, it must be that other self. i usually go to the toilet first to clean myself but this inner energy took me to the dining room and set me to work without eating. i  started cutting many mandalas and i asked” Are we going  to put up mandalas somewhere ?.” a name “urduja’ flashed and then i remembered the eight urduja women who had lunched last monday in cyma. i sent a text to gie and she said she has been getting so much texts that morning from the urdujas –  the energy to do something great. she also told me the mandala i gave her kept flying and she had to hold it so it would  stay in her garden. seeing and believing in sacred space is in the realm of spirituality. when i do mandalas, i just let my subconscious take over. i learned to trust my inner spirit and it has served me well.

so what did i gleanse from this energy with a name urduja? a voyage that crosses the 14th century to the 21st century. i quickly check the history book written by onofre corpus and there seems to be no entry on urduja. well, that is what we are going to do. search for urduja and let history take her in. so gie and i exchanged ideas (via sms). we will hold a march 8 event, 8 days with 8 women introducing urduja. we will invite many women and men  to gather around. we will get the overseas families to come and honor their overseas parents with stories. i look at my art portfolio, counted the art materials. i decided i would use paper, all kinds of paper. dont we like the sound of paper /the touch of paper/the taste of paper? then i saw shapes dancing in my head so i went up the bedroom to look at the skies. i saw a panorama of courageous women. in response, i put up three red mandalas around the bougainvilla canopy and thank urduja. yes, i will dedicate it to all the overseas women, the modern urdujas who are building and developing a global care chain and brain gain. for you all – chato, mila, raquel, dottie, ria, deeda,delia, marita,mayet,vhangie, atet, baby, connie and all you there in the global bayanihan , i will create a  mandala prayer garden.

the nationalist yuyitung family

December 2, 2007

last nov.30, we honored Rizal Chang Keng Yuyitung and put his name on the wall of remembrance in bantayog ng mga bayani. now we have three Yuyitung heroes : Yu yi tung , the father and his sons, Quintin and Rizal. if the young generation only know CNN, our generation and those of our parents know CCN (Chinese Commercial News), the chinese newspaper that breathed press freedom in three eras, 1930’s, 1940’s up to the 1970’s. it was great that his wife Veronica and whole clan attended the rites, some members coming from china, canada and the USA. there were children and the youngest was a two month old baby. the yuyitung’s struggle spanned many generations and their clan witnessed the birth, cruxifiction, death and resurrection of the pioneers, Yuyitung, Quintin and Rizal. Yu yitung was killed by the japanese for refusing to use CCN as their mouthpiece in 1942. Rizal and Quintin were persecuted, kidnapped and deported by the marcos regime for pursuing press freedom and standing up for the freedom of a free people. the two yuyitung brothers became models for journalists who fought marcos and his cronies. alejandro roces wrote : at this early stage, ” i nominate quintin and rizal as my candidates for the magsaysay journalism award.. and if those running the magsaysay foundation prefer to conserve dollars, or think that the yuyitungs do not deserve the award, then i suggest that we tie a ribbon around the magsaysay building and ship it back to rockefeller.”

as we look at the families gathered to honor Rizal, my friends chato basa, vicky segui, vim and pangging santos all remarked that our nation should know and honor the many chinese-filipinos who fought for freedom from the spanish era to the martial law years. we should share the story of how the yuyitungs and their CCN fought for press freedom; what the american, chinese and philippine governments did to the publisher and how it won the distinction of being the longest existing daily in the country. CCN was founded in 1919!

we encourage people to read the story in “Heroes of Press Freedom:The Father and Sons of Yuyitung “, by yvonne chua, PJR Reports, may 2007 ,published by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility.

bantayog new heroes

November 30, 2007

today, ed and i will be celebrating four new heroes on the wall of remembrance in the bantayog ng mga bayani : aloysius baez, rizal yuyitung, nick solana, and lino brocka. every 30th of november, national heroes day, the members of bantayog remember and honor all the heroes and martyrs of martial law. as of this nov.30 we have 165 names. many of these women and men were our contemporaries and some died before they reached 30 years old. the youngest was nick lansang, 16 years old and the oldest was lorenzo tanada,91. the heroes came from all over the country but many came from luzon; most were intellectuals and excelled in academics, summa cum laudes and valedictorians; many died violent deaths; years after their abduction, their remains are still to be located; their perpetrators have never been punished; there are grassroots heroes; and a good number died as resistance fighters.

there are many names in the ‘waiting ‘list that tita thelma arceo has kept as chair of the documentation committee. ed and i gathered the names of the women in the waiting list and there were around 300 plus women. aida santos and i once remarked that whoever dies first , the living one will nominate those with whom we worked during and beyond martial law so that more women get on the wall.

to be honored on the wall, one has to qualify as having served the people during the martial law years 1971-1986; her/his family has to provide/ validate the experiences and the documentation; and a key informant may be requested to write about the nominees. since there are not enough documentation of people in and not on the waiting list, the people who are selected each year are few. we have called on many friends and organizations to help and nominate people so we could remember those who gave their lives to restore democracy.

how to nominate : items to consider and write about the hero or martyr

1. personal background; age, birthdate, birthplace, sex, civil status, religion, ethnicity, race (yes we honor other nationalities, chinese or americans)

2. educational backgroun: formal or nonformal

3. political involvement; community work, community organization, social service sector ,etc.

4 circumstances and impact of death/disappearance; need not die during the martial law period or just recently died.
5. at least three names with adddresses of those with whom the hero had worked with. request for anecdotes of the hero; any library article, unpublished or published stories during the martial law period.

ps. a friend asked us to nominate felicisimo patayan aka ka memong for next year. we are soliciting articles from friends and fotos to get ka memong remembered and honored.

helping the poor 2

November 26, 2007

this blog is for friends and families who have many ideas on how to help the poor. our resources can be shared with many poor ( though i prefer to call them grassroots but surfing tags use ‘poor’ so let’s use it to reach out to many unpoor).

time for children of grassroots barangays is one service. last week, we hosted four barangays from caloocan in batanyog ng mga bayani. susan macabuag called me to assist her in hosting the children and their mothers. she asked me how to customize the museum tour and i wondered how we would explain martial law to children, ages 4 to 7. i asked ed what he could contribute and he replied with a song ” Meme na Bunso”. as we sang the song, i still found it a long shot to get the kids . how will i talk about the repression and resistance during martial law years? then i remembered my origami approach. so i made peace birds for the chidlren and the mothers ( around 40) and prayed that the visitors will learn something.

at 6.30 am thursday, nov.22, i got a call from susan that the bus was already in bantayog. “oh my God”, i had just risen from bed and so had to rush and get ready. clutching the birds and my origami set of paper , i told susan what we could do. we were greeted by 30 eager children and 30 mothers . there were four teachers and all have never been in bantayog. the mothers and teachers were born after 1972 and none experienced the tumultuous years of martial rule. i started the welcome rites with susan macabuag, fe mangahas, betty dela cruz and cathy of bantayog singing the national anthem. the kids sang with gusto. they all knew the song and that was a good start on nationalism. i started with a query on pets and the kids raised their hands. as the kids were telling what their pets were, i took out an orange craft paper and asked them its shape. “a square” replied the kids. i gave paper to the 4 teachers and told them to follow my folding exercises. then when they saw i made a bird, i shared the story of the peace crane offering of a girl stricken with cancer in hiroshima. i told them that the bird is Ibong Malaya and that all birds were born free. then i segueway into the importance of freedom and peace and healing our nation. i gave all the origami birds that i made. as the kids were playing with the peace birds, i crushed one bird with my right hand to introduce martial rule. with the crushed bird, i invited them to follow susan and fe upstairs for the film showing and the museum walk. at first, we were expecting that the video on People Power would bore the kids ( knowledge channel 20 minute- documentary). the kids kept playing around the theatre. as the film was nearing its end, we saw the mothers and teachers crying. then we brought them to the museum and the kids looked everywhere. the whole experience, from singing the national anthem to the film showing and museum walk, touched everyone, kids and mothers, pupils and teachers. finally we brought them to the wall of martyrs and heroes. they all thanked us and said they would bring more barangay members for the historical visit. that was a morning service we were happy with.

grassroots children learn fast and we owe it to them to teach our history so that they can make their future greater than our past.

preparing 589 students to learn about ML heroes

November 7, 2007

today i worked all morning to prepare how to present the bantayog ng mga bayani stories for the visit of 598 elementary and high school students. it’s part of the golden seeds project ed and i are blogging about. the bantayog museum and park has been attracting visitors since we open it in august 2007. yesterday, i attended the preparations with the museum committee of bobbie malay for the friday visit, nov. 9 of 598 students from cavite and tagaytay..

i reviewed all the fotos that the museum committee has started collecting and i felt there were memories that will appeal to an older audience but not to the present crop. also i think their teachers may have been born after martial law. so i went googling web fotos but found them unsorted and went to specific sites. there i saw various websites that inspire activists and revolutionaries but still could not find websites that teach and inspire children to become good citizens. ohh, my eyes hurt from the scanning and so i stopped and turned to blogging. maybe my subconscious will lead me to a story or to a page that brings out the child in me.

now this stream of consciousness blogging is waking up the child in me . please let me be a child (i keep telling my amygdala) and send me a story. i want success – simple, unexpected,concrete, credible, emotional stories.

then i remember three children i took care of during martial law. the first was a girl who loved noodles. she was pretty as her mother and would ask for pancit when things got difficult. i was tasked to protect her mother from arrest and she brought her daughter to my house. i didnt know who she was and didnt ask. i took them to a house but after several days, there was an alarm to evacuate them. it seemed she had been spotted and the house would be raided soon. i have to bring them to a place outside of the city and there the child asked for pancit. apparently, the child’s way of coping with danger was to eat pancit and so i gave her the pancit i like (sotanghon, vermicelli,soybean noodles) plus ice cream. then her mother asked me to take her daughter back to the city because she realized that they both were in danger if they stayed together. but the child cried so hard and didnt want to part with her mother. so i left them with my aunt and returned to the city. after a week, someone fetched them and i never saw them again. after i was detained and released in 1973, i found out that she was the lover of the most important leader of the underground and the girl was their only lovechild. i saw this child in early 1990’s and she was already a journalist. she did not remember me. i told her that i fed her pancit and ice cream and she thanked me.

the other two children were the son and daughter of gani and evelyn serrano. our life together were a riot. after being overseas as exiles in europe, ed and i went back to the philippines and met evelyn and gani. we were given assignments to develop protest networks and conduct education work. since it was still martial law, we decided to live in a quiet and lovely subdivision. i went back to teaching in an exclusive girls’ college and gani used to drive me to school. evelyn brought the two kids to live with us but they couldnt find the right nursery school to enroll them so we kept them at home to play by themselves. during the first week, the son, carlo, would see us meeting with other adults and gani did not have time for him. so he went up to stand on our table, opened his fly and pissed. that was the first time gani lost his cool. there were many more incidents and the children were sent back to their relatives. i really felt bad about them. i saw them after ten years. they became our neighbors in diliman and i saw them grow into better adults. now they have families and travel overseas regularly with gani’s mileage. i feel good that they survived and became stronger as adults.

am still halfway to the stories and will work out the slideshow with ed tonite. those who wish to help us, please comment and make this story blossom. i want to inspire the children from the two schools. it’s a golden opportunity and the ground is ready for golden seeds. have a good day blogging with us.


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