I first heard of YTRiP about a year ago, and have always wanted to join their projects. But for some reason, schedules never really quite worked out. (Despite me and Clare emailing and texting back and fourth for months.. even our plans to have coffee never really materialized!) So I was particularly excited when i finally found my way to one of their events - in the heart of Quiapo, no less, for their Pintig at Baybayin Workshop facilitated by Ms. Tess Obusan and the musical group called Sanghabi.
Of course, for me, the adventure started with the fact that I would have to go all
the way to Quiapo to attend it! Being the Cebuana that I am, I still get lost around Manila and have never dared to venture into Quiapo. When I first came to Manila, I immediately found my comfort zone in peaceful Ortigas Center, and never really left my little kingdom of shopping malls and fast food restaurants
even after being here for over 7 years.
So off I wet to Bahay Nakpil, an unassuming little place along A. Bautista street, with only a Philippine Flag hanging from the second floor hinting to its rich history. (This house was actually one of the key meeting places for the KKK!)
The day started out with a Baybayin workshop, learning this ancient system of writing that the Filipinos already had even before the Spaniards arrived. It was easy enough to learn, a bunch of squiggly-curvy lines put together with dots to represent variations of phonetics. (Of course, I'm biased as I've had to learn classical Chinese characters all throughout my childhood!) Here are my attempts:
This one says my name.
And this says (or attempts to spell out!) World Youth Alliance.
The one in parentheses read out WaYa! :-)
After the Baybayin workshop, we moved on to Pintig - learning about the native musical instruments and community music and native dances. Sanghabi took us through all the different indigenous instruments they brought to the workshop that day, introducing the native names, origins and uses of each. Then they made all the participants pick one instrument and challenged to group to attempt to make some sort of musical harmony come out of our individual banging and beating and shaking.. Really odd, if you look at it, 'coz most of our native instruments were just a bunch of sticks and oddly cut segments of bamboo. Played alone, you get a repetitive singular sound that was unremarkable. But played altogether, all the individuals beats and sounds made for an interesting composition.
So this was what music meant to our IP's.. Each instrument was so simple, each individual 'musician' only made a very plain sound all on his own. But when each person in the village picks up his own instrument and joins in, the result is a great piece of COMMUNITY music. It's not about the solo act, it's about everyone playing to the beat of the other, to make one harmonious...well..community with the common goal of making music. As our workshop instructors from Sanghabi pointed out, the way our tribes created music is very reflective of the Filipino way of life -- Kung marunong ka makining, kung marunong ka makiramdam, marunong ka makitao.
Then after making music came the dancing! All I have to say is... it's not as easy as it looks! So let me end this blog entry with some funny pictures of us attempting to be like the graceful ladies of the Cordillera region. A very very bg thank you to YTRiP for organizing it, and to Sanghabi and Miss Tess Obusan for imparting on us their deep insights into what really makes us Filipino.
I can't wait for my next YTRiP adventure.
To learn more about YTRiP, visit their website and their multiply account. You can view more pictures from this event on my multiply account album. All photos are courtesy of the amazing Albert Bainto, whose pictures can also be found on his online portfolio.