Monday, August 10, 2009


It's been a while again and I believe that I ought to develop a discipline on posting regularly here. I just hope that people can message me to make some postings on particular topics since I am the one who always think of something to write about and it matters that people tell me what they want to hear or read (well if I do have readers yet, so far this blog has no more than 20 visitors, and that number includes me as well, funny).

Philippines is a mecca of arts and culture in this part of the planet. Filipinos are very known in eclecticism in their race, culture and ideas that is why it is considered as a point where the east and west meets. Out of these combination of things, Filipinos are able to create things that are beautiful and considered as masterpieces.

The natives had incorporated art in their very lives surprisingly not just in the Hispanic colonization era, not just in the Malayan age, but far much earlier than these major Philippine historical time line.

The Angono petroglyphs that is situated in the boundaries of Angono, Antipolo and Binangonan in Rizal Province dates back as early as 3000 BC. The engraved figures in the face of a rock formation constitute by what appear like forms of humans, frogs and lizards.

This debunks the view of other so called "progressive cultures" that our earliest people are savages. Apparently, they are people of culture and with a drop of sci-fi imagination, they might be of a higher form of civilization (just like the mythical Atlantis and Mu, well, just a thought).

After several waves of immigration, the nation's culture flourished more through the amalgam of all its immigrants. Through this, a hybrid of cultures was formed.

We have works in our country that can be considered as treasures of humanities and genuinely Filipino despite the numerous influences on these works by other countries. From the Spolarium of Juan Luna that won in the Expocision de Bellas Artes (Expostion of Fine Arts) in 1884 to the contemporary recognition of the works of our film makers in this year's Cannes Film Festival that made one bag the Best Director award, the works of our artists are consistently recognized internationally.

It seems like imitation in the arts have mutated to another phase. Who among us are not hooked over the shows that were originally made by another country and been bought by local media production and recreated it not just with the same plot but almost same everything (name of characters, title, musical scoring, etc).

The story is so nice making us watch it every night, making it the crown jewel of the prime time slot. Apparently, this is the major program that attracts people to watch the slot. It has good story line, good production design, good lighting, good packaging, everything. But is this good for us as a nation of artists? Aren't our writers and story tellers able to make scripts and stories that we can call our own?

It is also disturbing, in a lesser degree, to mention that we not just remaking foreign shows but also our local ones like those films being remade as TV series. Attention: Artists, where are all those creative juices?

Not everyone in our land knows that a telenovela of ours became an international sensation. "Pangako sa 'Yo" was originally aired 10 years ago. After its original run, this "own produced" of ours has been shown in 12 countries in Asia and Africa and has been a success in most of them in their dubbed versions.

Much surprisingly, local shows of ours like "Gulong ng Palad" and "Maging Sino Ka Man" became an international fad recently. These shows, as narrated, were subtitled in English and massively replicated in Fiji (no knowledge if its legal or illegal) and distributed not only there but as well as to other neighboring island nations. In American Samoa, people are renting these CD's in video shops and having short sleeps nightly watching episodes of these series especially "Gulong ng Palad".

No question that art is in our blood. We are so lucky these days that artistic expression is so liberal. It is significant to note that during the Martial Law years, ironically, when some of our liberties were suppressed, artists created things that are not just remarkably beautiful but also original. The likes of Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal made most of their timeless pieces in this era.

Let us all hope that the freedom we enjoy these days won't make us jaded and idle. Let us hope that it will be an instrument for our culture to flourish.

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