UrbanisMO: Ano ang plano mo?

I’ll be co-hosting a conversation around urban issues in the Philippines with fellow miscreants David Garcia, Robert Anthony Siy, Abbey Pangilinan, and Prof. Chester Arcilla in a month’s time. Not gunning for anything too fancy. The goal is to get a healthy crowd of practitioner-peers in the room plotting and scheming. Just enough to get something usefully collaborative a-brewing at a time when a vlog isn’t just a vlog, indigenous peoples are getting displaced in the name of progress, and Swiss Challenges are everywhere.

UrbanisMO-poster-v4-lowres

Massive hat-tip to the folks at Artkitektura, who are co-sponsoring this as a satellite event for the 2018 leg, and will be programming this as part of the British Embassy Manila’s Great British Festival. There’s not much up there at present, but more information will be posted closer to the date over at urbanismo.ph.

(For those who have not been to the 2017 leg of the Artkitektura Festival of Architecture and the Arts, I have an article up on PhilStar.com on the organic/living architecture movement, its applications to the Philippines, and what Sarri et al are trying to revive back here. I am hoping that these are ideas that will gain more traction in the years to come.)

Kitakits, mga kapatid.

Root Causes and the Independent Small Press

Large-scale disasters and fascist regimes serve one useful purpose: they’re blanket design constraints that force people to work and collaborate in ways that would not normally be possible.

Luckily for us, 2017 had these man-made constraints aplenty.

Luckily for me, that led to meeting the ladies of Gantala Press, an independent women’s literary press run by the likes of Faye Cura, Janine Dimaranan, Bebang Siy and Rae Rival. Thanks to our common friend, filmmaker Jaja Arumpac, that led to helping out with Laoanen, a fundraising and information-sharing drive on the effects of the Marawi Siege on women and children on the ground. With Faye’s and others’ equal parts of madness and tenacity, Laoanen quickly evolved into a number of events and talks, the Me & My Veg Mouth and Good Food Community-led Food for Peace yumfest, plus two books: the Laoanen chapbook of talks and reflections, and Mga Tutul a Palapa, a cookbook featuring the food and stories of longtime friend and colleague Assad Baunto. The latter was mostly Asi, and I helped chop onions and peel garlic in collaboration with Nash Tysmans, food writer, scholar and designer Ige Ramos, with the amazing Emiliana Kampilan doing the cover art. Some of my writing, and surprisingly, a lot of my amateur ink sketches, are included in both.

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Lupa

Writing this quick note to process one of the many strange developments of the week, which included my being roped in last minute to present a study conducted by the World Bank and the International Organization for Migration on marginalization through land dispossession in the Bangsamoro region. Presentations are part of my usual day-to-days but this was unusual—it was a launch at Camp Darapanan, the present headquarters of the largest armed revolutionary group in the Philippines, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (or MILF, read as M-I-L-F, not the lewd joke familiar to most westerners).

It just so happened that our lead author, Dr. Fermin Adriano, was unable to fly to Cotabato and our rather crazy and generous team leader, Matt, chose to gleefully task me with translating the key technical messages in a vernacular that would be understood by the larger audience, and not just the international actors and VIPs present in the room. And that entailed being the lost young female non-Muslim, non-Mindanawon pseudoacademic on the dais with Mindanao peace process heavy hitters such as Ishak Mastura, Guiamel Alim, Rufa Guiam, peace panel chairs Mohagher Iqbal and Irene Santiago, plus the amerul mujahid himself, Al-haj Murad Ebrahim. Kumbaga sa Tagalog, pinabili lang ng suka, napadpad na sa Darapanan. (Which actually describes a fair chunk of the seven years of this life, to be fair.)

Continue reading “Lupa”