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20 JUNE 2008 • ASIAN JOURNAL PUBLICATIONS • (213) 250-9797 •



By Carmie O. Carpio

HEN the Philippines became free from the chains of foreign occupation, we also reclaimed our identity and thereon freely developed and strengthened it across our lands. But nearly 500 years of being a colony has silently built upon us a curse. As it seems, traces of our colonists are tough strains that can still be reflected in ourselves and in the way we live today.

The struggle therefore to wash away these hints of muddled identity and to put our country back to a clean slate goes on. One of the many ways each of us can help is to rediscover and, more importantly, patronize our indigenous treasures. In this process, three questions should come to mind. 1) What are we rich in? 2) What have the Filipinos done so far with these riches? 3) What can we further do about them? The 7,107 islands that make up the Philippines hold vast resources that continue to be an attraction to foreigners in terms of investment, as well as tourism. From the Ilocandia’s loomwoven textiles and flavored chichacorn, to the processed mussels of Jiabong, Samar, to the banana chips of Davao, the Filipinos—through their creations—have shown to the world how rich the Philippines is and how skillful and ingenious they are in creating things out of their resources. From north to south If we keep our eyes open, we can find them around us—the tough yet fashionable shoes of Marikina City; the giant and colorful Christmas lanterns of San Fernando City in Pampanga; the hybrid corn and rice of Region 2 towns; the trademark kapeng barako of Batangas; the strong and colorful lambanog (coconut vodka) of Quezon; the paintings and sculptures of Rizal’s homegrown artists, the marble masterpieces of Romblon; and the colorful handicrafts and sweet pili nut delicacies of Bicol provinces. And that’s in Luzon alone.

Western Visayas has Iloilo’s bamboo products, Aklan’s pineapple fiber, Antique’s muscovado sugar, Guimaras’ sweet yellow mangoes, Capiz’s cut foliage, and Negros Occidental’s silk. Central Visayas has Cebu’s $3.8 billion furniture industry and Bohol’s raffia bags, hats and boxes and sweet Peanut Kisses. Eastern Visayas prides itself of Biliran’s binagol (sweetened taro pudding) and Samar’s seaweeds. The provinces of Mindanao have their own share of treasures. The sardines of Zamboanga del Sur have gone to as far as Middle East, Malaysia and the US. Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental produce high-value vegetables, pineapples and bananas. The processed tuna of General Santos City and Cotabato has made the Philippines the 5th largest producer of tuna in the world. Crustaceans abound in Cotabato City. Surigao del Norte boasts of its potent Gigaquit rhum. Northern Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat yield high-grade palm oil that’s also used by chefs around the world. Indeed, we are blessed and wellendowed. But more than that, we are inventive and skillful. Each product is a reflection of the truth that if a nation has the complete reins on its own resources, any citizen can also enjoy this freedom and in the process create good things out of these resources. Also, more jobs

are created and revenues return to our land a hundredfold. Doing our part We now come to the point of asking what more we can do to boost, if not maintain, this creativity and to inspire more Filipinos to produce, buy and promote our own treasures. The first of many ways is cultivating within ourselves a deep and sincere appreciation of Filipino creations. If we do not have this value instilled in our psyche and in our actions, the Continued on PAGE 21

even Mexican boxers can roughly beat, are only among the many factors that make it worth asking: what would the world be like without the Pinoys? But merely being a Pinoy is not enough to make the statement a relevant fact. To be able to establish our identity as Filipinos, we must be able to unite and be part of a drive with a common goal—that is, to increase awareness and heighten the dignity and pride of the Filipino people. This is primarily what the Yabang Pinoy campaign is all about. Project Pinoy Yabang Pinoy, a project of Children's Environmental Awareness and Action Foundation (CEAAF) which started in 2005, is founded by a group of young,

nationalistic Filipinos. This campaign emphasizes the endurance of the Filipino people amidst the crises, political and economic chaos, sociocultural misfortunes, natural catastrophes and the like that the country is facing over the years. With its signature braided band that signifies the toughness and resilience of Filipinos, supporters and believers alike are bonded in taking pride of their nationality. The bands are made by the people in Barangay Ilaya, a community by the Laguna lake in Muntinlupa City. It is made of what is considered the strongest natural fiber, abaca, or Manila hemp as it is known worldwide. This fiber belongs to the Musacea family which is indigenous in our country. It is also important to note that the Philippines is the largest source of abaca fiber and that this product is one of our top exports together with sugar and tobacco. By purchasing these Yabang Pinoy bands, aside from helping provide extra income for the people of Barangay Ilaya, according to their website, the proceeds of the sale of the bands also fund projects that aim to instil pride among the Filipino people. Aside from participating bands, Pinoy products are also promoted. These includes the Yabang Pinay bikinis designed by Twinkle Ferraren; the Yamang Pinoy Bakya, available in Happy Feet stores; Yabang Pinoy shirts available in www.sigawsambit. and in branded and t-

shirt project stores; and the Yabang Pinoy bags or Modernong Bayong, pouches with Yabang Pinoy keychains, and bookmarks conceptualized by the company, IndieArt for Yabang Pinoy. The campaign also sponsored the Bigkas Pilipinas Spoken Word Album, which is available in Mag-net and Powerbooks outlets. Help spread the Yabang At present, the Yabang Pinoy campaign is supporting the joint project of CEEAF and its volunteers, the Yamang Isip, Children’s Art and Literature Library. This project aims to provide school materials for beneficiary schools in remote areas such as the Anislag Elementary School in Albay. Aside from this, the campaign is also currently holding the Aking Pahayag writing contest that aims to encourage Filipinos to take pride in their nationality and voice out and share their experiences on being a Filipino. They are also accepting graphic designs for a t-shirt project in Wanted: Ang Yabang Pinoy T-shirt 2008, as well as designs for slippers, particularly, the bakya for the project, Ang Bakya Ko. As for future plans and projects, the Yabang Pinoy campaign aims to reach Filipinos, not only those in the country but also those who are living, studying and working abroad. They also intend to continue coming up with creative tasks to remind Filipinos to be proud of their nationality and not to doubt in their identity. Wear the Band Finding a way to instil nationality in our culture after we’ve been drastiContinued on PAGE 21

By Aimee Esteban WHAT would the world be like without the Pinoys? Let’s see. Without Filipinos, the medical drugs, erythromycin, may not have been discovered until later on. The videophone, the incubator, the karaoke and the first water-powered car in the Philippines may not have been invented until a later date. The IR8, a rice variety, may not have been developed by Dr. Rodolfo Aquino, and Asia’s Green Revolution may not have been launched without this rice breed. What else? Oh, what about the development of an anti-cough medicine, Ascof, and a diuretic, Releaf, from the Philippine herbs lagundi and sambong? That would have not been possible without Filipinos, particularly those from the University of the Philippines. How about the discovery of spraying mango trees with potassium nitrate to induce flowering all year round? Without Dr. Ramon Barbara, this would not have been known until a later date. Remarkable discoveries, inventions and world-class talents such as those of Lea Salonga and Manny Pacquiao that European singers and INDEPENDENCE SUPPLEMENT'08-revis20 20

AJ Photos by Carmie O. Carpio

6/5/08 9:10:06 PM

INDEPENDENCE SUPPLEMENT'08-revised with ads  

JUNE 2008 • ASIAN JOURNAL PUBLICATIONS • (213) 250-9797 • 20

INDEPENDENCE SUPPLEMENT'08-revised with ads  

JUNE 2008 • ASIAN JOURNAL PUBLICATIONS • (213) 250-9797 • 20