Inahan sa Sugilanon: Mother of the Fairytale

So happy that Louise has finally birthed this beautiful photobook, which has been a work in progress for the better part of the last three years. I’ve got quite a few personal projects waiting in the wings right now, but there are few things more inspiring than being a creative komadrona. 🙂

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Inahan sa Sugilanon: Mother of the Fairytale
Birthing a Green School Community

Images and Essay by Louise Far
Essays by Willa P. Maglalang, Janneke “Nex” Agustin and Nicanor Perlas
Essays edited by Ica Fernandez

Mother of the Fairytale is a 56-paged 8in x 10in book composed of 26 black and white images that tells the story of how a striving green school community in Davao City, Philippines advocates healthy and holistic education. It gives a glimpse of the journey of the school’s first teachers, the daily challenges and triumphs of little children, and the emerging sense of space and community among parents and friends of the school. Also included in the book are relevant essays on the book project itself, the experience of initiating Tuburan, early manifestations of holistic education through the story of Steiner education in the Philippines, and a macro perspective on education and the true need it must address.

http://motherofthefairytale.weebly.com/

Wellspring of Hope

This was originally written for posting on the LILIPOH Magazine Facebook account, thanks to social media editor Willa Maglalang’s call for stories on non-Manila anthroposophic initiatives in the Philippines. Final posting–25 June 2013.

It was pretty easy, cobbling this together, as Shei and I had already mucked around on the topic for the ImagePraxis exhibition at the Liwanag Festival in Davao last January. What I do hope though is to be able to write more about these amazing local projects and initiatives (with ImagePraxis, Do-Good.PH, and other platforms), and maybe, even make it sustainable for everyone involved, somehow.

Abangan.

WELLSPRING OF HOPE: FOCUS ON TUBURAN INSTITUTE

In a tiny vegetarian eco-village in the outskirts of Davao City, the largest metropolitan center in the war-torn island of Mindanao, stands the very first Steiner/Waldorf-inspired school in Southern Philippines.

Founded in 2012 by young university instructors Kate Estember and Maya Vandenbroek, Tuburan Institute aims to make Steiner Education accessible to all Mindanawons–regardless of cultural background, or religious and political beliefs–especially those who cannot afford it.

Tuburan Institute started with a kindergarten class of nine children, which has since grown to eighteen enrollees for the 2013-2014 school year. Half of these children come from urban poor communities. Thanks to a system of sliding school fees, families of factory workers and tricycle drivers are able to get support from families with more resources, and from benefactors with big hearts.

The base tuition at Tuburan Institute is 40,000 pesos per year (approx. 800 USD), but some families are able to pay only as low as 2,500 pesos (50 USD) per year. All these differences fade as the kids happily learn and play side-by-side: a crucial step in healing a society that has suffered decades of conflict driven by culture and class.

Tuburan Institute (which means “wellspring” in the Cebuano language) has grown steadily despite the odds, with some help from the local and international community. In 2014, Tuburan Institute will expand to Class 1, and will transfer to a donated 1-hectare plot in another part of Davao.

Teachers and green architects have volunteered their skills in transforming the future space, but Tuburan Institute needs more support. It takes only 344 pesos per day (or 7 USD) to give a child a Waldorf education at Tuburan; any help, whether in cash or in kind, will go a long way.

For more information, go to http://www.tuburaninstituteinc.com, their Facebook Page (http://www.facebook.com/TuburanInstitute), or contact Maya and Kate at tuburaninstituteinc@gmail.com.

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Thought Paper: On Davao City, growth poles and cumulative causation

Written for PLAN 201, which has been an awesome start to my stay at the UP School of Urban and Regional Planning. The prof is cool enough to let the substantial experience from the class (a good mix of government development workers, architects, engineers and researchers) emerge, while being to frame it theoretically without clamping down on the freewheeling discussions. There have been times where the thought of a cheery Saturday class was enough to get me through a brutal workweek. Gotta brush up on stat, though.

Thought Paper: On Davao City, growth poles and cumulative causation

What comes to mind when discussing spatial theories of regional development such as growth poles (Perroux) and cumulative causation (Myrdal) is the case of Davao City, which is currently the most important development center in Mindanao, and is emerging as a strategic regional growth center, particularly in the context of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

I believe Davao City is a prime example of how development has a tendency to cluster in centers, resulting in major urban concentrations that are key development hubs from a national perspective, and have the potential to play a regional role in the realms of culture, business, and international transport. Its strategic location practically assures this—found in the southeastern tip of the Philippines, Davao is the natural jump-off point for travellers from Northern and Central Mindanao before heading to the Zamboanga Peninsula and the islands of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. It has also begun to be a gateway to Southern Philippines for international travellers from Southeast Asia and even Australia and the United States.  The last two decades have also seen a boom in Davao City’s economic growth. This can be seen in multiple centers and industries within the city, which as shown in the chart below from the Davao City Planning and Development Office, spans seven growth sectors, which makes good use of its massive 244 hectares (as it is one of the largest cities in the world by area).

Continue reading “Thought Paper: On Davao City, growth poles and cumulative causation”