A National Artist died today

UP CALjf3065 10not just anybody, but Napoleon Abueva. Should be known to any Filipino, though my expectations have sunk, especially recently. A great sculptor (link) who made the death masks of both Fernando Poe Jr. and Prof. Alfredo Lagmay (link). His sculpture of the Crucified and Risen Christ is at the center of the UP Church of the Holy Sacrifice (link), just above the marble altar, also from him. Enough of lecturing and to the question I ask now: how many Filipinos still care about their heritage?

I do understand the insecurity of some not taught well, verbally and intellectually, when it comes to novelists and poets. Besides, there have been enough pseudo-intellectuals in the Philippines who have reduced verbal prowess to mere grandstanding without content, to one-upmanship, which is one of the topics of my previous article. A highly abused culture often confuses genuine intellect that cares for the country (like Rizal) with assholes trying to sound smart but without meaning. Take your pick among some figures of today for the second type. But the visual is not as affected, especially not sculpture. Paintings can also have negative, elitist associations for certain people. And the message of a painting may seem to pushy. Botong Francisco might come across too nativist for some, Amorsolo may be criticized for painting a rural idyll – even if both are authentic masters.

But there is a continuity from native weavers to the likes of Pitoy Moreno – also recently deceased – and a true continuity from the carvers of anitos through the carvers of santos to Napoleon Abueva. Nobody in his right mind, even those who wish to cast away all that was from 1521 onwards, can deny the place of a certain type of artist in what the Philippines was, is and hopefully will be. There are indeed those, especially the callous middle-class types of the Marcos era or possibly also today, whose only priority is consumerism and money, who do not have any respect for that “arty-farty”. Sad, but not too surprising in a country that did not care a lot about its national monuments, that hardly rebuilt anything of the Manila destroyed during the war, much less preserve the little left.

Filipinos probably destroyed more of their own culture through neglect and commercialism than the Taliban purposely destroyed in Afghanistan. Of those families that have ancestral homes in the provinces, I doubt that they would sell them or allow them to be destroyed for anything. That there is little sense of a common cultural heritage is sad. Given that, it is not surprising that the Filipinos are in the majority so willing to sacrifice their own countrymen – whether through neglect of the poor which was the norm throughout the decades, or through the effects of the recent drug war. Not to mention polluting the ocean with plastics, or dirtying even the center of one’s capital (link). Here in Bavaria, not even the greediest or most vulgar will sell off or dirty cultural heritage. Pride!

Yet Bavarians also have the reputation of being “polite when they don’t hit you”, meaning they are used to robust speech, including informal camaraderie by politicians. But the language that Duterte uses with his own people is downright insulting. Telling mostly female OFWs that they should not use condoms and putting a candy into his mouth to show it doesn’t taste good (link) – is condescending, practically saying “I can FUCK any and all of you if I want”. Much as I have loathed the false pride and arrogance of many Filipino entitled, I have always loved the natural dignity of so many Filipinos from all walks of life. Abueva brought back memories of this kind of Filipino, so different from the self-depreciating kind one sees too often today. A people that brings forth such artists as Abueva should stop treating themselves like garbage – and following garbage.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 16 February 2018


5 thoughts on “A National Artist died today

  1. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/969562/where-heroes-and-kin-used-to-tread

    Walking the streets of Binondo and San Nicolas is like taking a trip to Old Manila. It’s a leisurely stroll into the city’s history and a visual way to get reacquainted with our past and its heroes.

    On the Saturday that I decided to feel the city’s stories with my feet. Ces Sunico, a fifth generation scion of the Sunico clan of Old Manila, joined me.

    Sunico is a volunteer of the Binondo-San Nicolas Heritage Walk, an organization that helps local and foreign tourists as well as other interested parties get to know this district. She also works for the Martial Law Memorial Commission, which documents this harsh chapter in the country’s history..

    At the corner of Elcano and Claro M. Recto (formerly Azcarraga) Streets, our trip to the past ended. This was the founding site of the Katipunan and has the statues of its founding fathers: Andres Bonifacio, Ladislao Diwa, Teodoro Plata, Valentin Diaz and Jose Dizon.

    Its marker says the Katipunan was born on July 7, 1892, and that the Philippine Revolution started on Aug. 23, 1896.

    It was a tiring but rewarding walk, with heroes from our history textbooks come to life in the buildings they once inhabited. Shouldn’t government do something to conserve this area and make our proud past visible again?

    • http://tingug.com/2018/02/18/a-migrant-v-talks/?i=2

      ..I have been listening to him. I was actually enamored with his tough talk, a rather cute accent which is a far cry from the previous presidents’. Oh, I hated Pnoy’s speech interrupted by coughing every time he spoke. Tatay Digong also loves to crack jokes to uplift the spirit of the people, especially the soldiers who are mostly males. Of course, his jokes are meant to entertain; not to be taken literally. Just laugh..

      ..On February 7, Tatay Digong was in his usual self again. With over 200 rebel returnees, mostly males, he encouraged them to help the government and to do something to stop the insurgency, but with emphasis on women. Known as the amasona, the NPA women guerillas are fierce fighters, but of course, they should not be killed, instead just shoot their bisong; puke, vagina, genitalia so that they become useless.

      And all the penises (and some vaginas too) laughed.

      Does having a vagina means she can be the object of jokes, sexist remarks, and violence. Wait, did he mean women? No, only the amasona! You see, we must not be ‘Over Acting’.

      Don’t take it literally. Take it figuratively. That means a person who has a vagina must not defy him or else, she would take his wrath. Just look what happened to Senator Leila de Lima and Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno who have vaginas..

  2. https://buwayahman.wordpress.com/2018/02/17/i-hate-the-duterte-administration/

    I hate this administration.

    I hate its drama and its empty rhetoric. “I will resign,” Duterte says. “I will face a firing squad,” he says. “I will sell my soul to the devil.” Or “I will ride a jet ski.” The idiot can’t even face criticism at an EU summit.

    I hate how this administration promotes blind obedience to personalities rather than principles. From everywhere we see the trolls, apologists, loyalists who are either blind or ignorant. These sycophants are the epitome of the Dunning-Kruger syndrome. I hate how these lemmings laugh at Duterte’s crude jokes, how they applaud his uncivilized behavior, how they cheer his uncouth demeanor. Why is this behavior acceptable? Don’t these people want to raise their kids to be decent, respectful, behaved individuals?

    I hate their impunity. I hate how they put themselves above the law, how they change the rules if they are involved as if the law does not apply to them.

    I hate their feelings of entitlement.

    I hate their anti-intellectualism. I hate their anti-elitism. I hate how they divide our countrymen. Take a look at the PCOO mouthpieces. They lump all Duterte critics as “dilawan” when they are actually protecting our country and its future generations.

    I hate their subservience to China. I hate how our sovereignty is bit by bit being sold to China.

    I hate how this administration views themselves as better than others. How dare they label drug users as less than human? This is hubris at its worst. I know Tito Sotto was taking drugs when he was a college student. Pacquiao also admitted to taking drugs..

    • http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/02/16/18/quiboloy-follower-tried-to-smuggle-more-than-300000-cash-in-socks-us-agent

      MANILA – A female follower of Kingdom of Jesus Christ founder Apollo Quiboloy tried to smuggle to the Philippines more than $300,000 in cash hidden in socks, United States court documents showed.

      Felina Salinas, a US citizen, failed to declare that she was carrying thousands of dollars “neatly bundled” in $100 bills in black socks during a flight en route to the Philippines, said a complaint filed by Ann Mylene Haney, a special agent of the US Department of Homeland Security.

      Salinas was on board Quiboloy’s private plane that was supposed to return to Manila on Feb. 13 before federal agents seized the cash.

      She is said to be the business manager at the Waipahu church location and a loyal Quiboloy supporter.

      In a 2015 interview posted on Youtube, Salinas described Quiboloy as “anointed” by God..

    • http://opinion.inquirer.net/111048/manifold-narratives

      Every administration is a mix of good and bad things. It’s a matter of pushing for the good so that it outweighs the bad. Marcos was corrupt but built a lot of infrastructure. Cory restored democracy but plunged the country into power and debt crises. FVR, for all the good he has done, had the Expo Filipino scandal. Erap, well, he was also corrupt but was tough against the Abu Sayyaf. GMA was undermined by her husband but her macroeconomic policies set into motion our present economic growth. P-Noy may not have been corrupt himself but he stubbornly defended his erring allies, and precipitated a culture of blame that continues today.

      “And so it is with Duterte. Maybe extrajudicial killings are really happening, but look at the tax reforms he just instituted, not to mention sensible policies. He may be foul-mouthed, Marcos-loving, China-kowtowing, and just as vindictive as P-Noy, but look at the bottom line: The Philippines is one of the best-performing economies in the region.”

      Those words, a pastiche from conversations I’ve had with other people, basically sum up an approach to viewing government that I feel is held by many Filipinos: a self-aware, somewhat-cynical pragmatism that thinks of itself as neither pro- nor anti-anybody. It is an attractive world view because it allows people to evade weighing in on individual issues. It also allows them to acknowledge the faults of politicians but maintain support — or tolerance — for them. If all politicians are corrupt, why single out President Duterte? If EJKs have been happening for decades, why complain about them only now?

      Meanwhile, there are folks who consider Mr. Duterte as not just “like any other leader,” but also a one-of-a-kind president who can truly effect the change he has promised. “Drugs are destroying the country,” they hold. “Addicts are on the loose, raping and brutally murdering innocent citizens, and are using human rights as shield.”..

      ..Opposing these narratives are those that lament how the gains of the past administration have been undone by the present one. “P-Noy’s only mistakes were failing to communicate the image of a caring president — and perhaps being overzealous in his anticorruption drive — but otherwise, he did a great job,” they say. “He stood up to China, ended the pork barrel, and built on the slow but steady democratic gains since 1986. Duterte, with his self-confessed mayor’s mentality, postures to be a man of the people but his policies, from TRAIN to the war on drugs, are actually antipoor. His speech is despicable, even more so than some of his appointees.”

      Equally opposed are folks who are critical of the entire system — including P-Noy — but see Mr. Duterte as exceptional in his moral bankruptcy. “Most politicians are just different species of the same genus, but Duterte is a different creature. He’s savaging institutions and attacking anyone who gets in his way. His cowardly response to China has irreparably compromised our territorial integrity. And he may yet become a dictator — if he’s not one already.”..

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