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Strobel – Keynote Speech on KAPWA at FANHS

January 30, 2015 in Decolonization and Filipino Identity, Events and Conference, Filipino Psychology, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values, Uncategorized by Mary Hernandez

Now available!  Listen to Leny Strobel’s keynote speech on KAPWA at the Filipino American National Historical Society by clicking on the audio file below.

Join us also at the upcoming symposium on Bridging indigenous and Christian traditions of Spirituality by clicking here

Critique of Thomas Gibson’s Sacrifice Sacrifice and Sharing in the Philippine Highlands

March 25, 2013 in Books, Talks, Papers, CDs, Websites, Cultural Studies, Filipino Psychology, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values by geejay langlois

By Mila D. Aguilar, October 5, 2000

Gibson, Thomas. Sacrifice and Sharing in the Philippine Highlands. London: The Athlone Press, 1986.

Sacrifice and Sharing in the Philippine Highlands, published as Monograph on Social Anthropology No 57 in 1986, was, in its original form, Thomas Gibson’s doctoral dissertation submitted to the London School of Economics in 1983. There are only two entries by Thomas Gibson at the UP Main Library, one of these being the above book, the other his doctoral dissertation. In none of the works on anthropological theory cited below is his name mentioned.

The book itself, despite its repetitiveness and generally flaccid structure – following as it does the “development of [the author’s] understanding of Buid culture and society” – is deceptively simple. (Gibson 1) Bereft of theoretical bravado, it describes the Buid of Mindoro as if the presumably British author had imbibed the simplicity and humility of his subjects, speaking for them rather than of them. “The underlying intellectual and moral assumptions about the way life is and ought to be,” he admits honestly in the first paragraph of his introduction, “are still not entirely clear to me and, perhaps, never will be.” (Ibid.) The map he draws of the location of the Buids, placed below two Mindoro tribal distribution maps, one “after Conklin (1949a)” and another “after Tweddel (1970),” tries not too obviously to contradict the findings of his predecessors by concentrating only on the Buid area. (Ibid. 232-3)

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Towards a ‘Kapwa’ Theory of Art: Multiplicity in Integrative Contemporary Practices

August 9, 2011 in Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values, Modern Practices by admin

Towards a ‘Kapwa’ Theory of Art: Multiplicity in Integrative Contemporary Practices
by Margarity Certeza Garcia
Presented at: Bahaus University Weimar
Masters in Public Arts and New Artistic Strategies
21 February 2011

(What)…is the large percentage of the population of the world who could be categorized as ‘Other,’ to do when attempting to enter the bastions of the art world, other then, at least for women who might be perceived as desirable, take off their clothes; as Guerilla Girls’ sardonically suggested in a series of poster placed in the New York City arts scene in the 1980s. That question, sans the mocking response, (which is both humorous and painful in its stark reality), forms the crux of this paper. What are additional ways for an artist from the non-dominant modality to position themselves and their work? What additional examples exist for coherent practice that acknowledge the multiple possibilities and hybrid and shifting positions of contemporary life? Where do I, as a hybrid Filipino Artist studying in Europe stand in relation to this debate? This essay neither intends to establish a definitive answer to these questions nor to privilege any artistic theory as a response to them. Instead, it represents an examination of the problem itself, followed by a brief expiration of the possibility of multiplicity using alternative theories.

Full text link provided by Leny Strobel

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Popular Spirituality as Cultural Energy by Albert E. Alejo, SJ

August 7, 2011 in Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values by admin

Popular Spirituality as Cultural Energy by Albert E. Alejo, SJ

This paper was delivered during the Spirituality Forum III on August 5,2003 at University of Sto. Tomas CME Auditorium, Manila, Philippines. This article was previously published in Lecture Series 3 on Spirituality, 2004.


Spirituality has always been difficult to define. At the heart of the notion of spirituality, however, is the people’s search for the sacred, for a transcendent dimension to life, for something that gives people meaning in their lives, something that ennobles them to think of and be concerned about a higher cause, something that offers them inner connection and deeper purpose in life, something that helps them celebrate life and existence.

From the data of my experience—I would not claim empirical precision here—I discern at least four spiritual dimensions of our cultural religious practices. I call them spirituality of the body, spirituality of the many, spirituality of celebration and spirituality of negotiation. There is no claim here of exhaustive listing. Let me not waste time being apologetic for my

Full text link provided by Leny Strobel

Leny writes:

This essay by Paring Bert Alejo is refreshing in the way it articulates and clarifies, for me, the language of popular spirituality among the Filipinos especially of the masa/common folks. I find it interesting that the official church (Catholic) often deems this language as mere resistance against the church’s dominant practices when in fact, as Fr. Alejo says, it is cultural energy that challenges our vocabularies of power.

Full text on Leny’s blog, Kathang Pinay 2.

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Filipino Tattoos Ancient to Modern by Lane Wilcken

December 30, 2010 in Books, Talks, Papers, CDs, Websites, Decolonization and Filipino Identity, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values by admin

Lane Wilcken became one of the Co-Directors of CFBS recently and his book, Filipino Tattoos: Ancient to Modern, just came out. 

I just wrote and posted a book review for Lane’s book. Lane has worked on and written this book with the utmost passion for his Philippine roots, and with love and respect for his family and ancestry. He writes in the true spirit of Pakikipagkapwa—Sacred Interconnection with all Life. 

Congrats and thank you, Lane. 

Get more information on his book and read my review at

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Talaanding Seven Element Invocation

June 8, 2010 in Babaylan and Community Healing, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values by admin

On the second day of the First International Babaylan Conference, Jennifer Navarro invoked the seven elements of the Talaanding tradition. The invocation is meant to recognize and honor the presence of the seven elements, and as Jennifer read the prayer, representatives from the conference brought symbols of each element to the Ancestor’s Altar at the entrance of the main conference gathering space. Jennifer has graciously allowed us to reprint the invocation here.

Land – With each step we take we are supported by you. In your arms seeds of life are lovingly nourished.

Water – While in your embrace we are able to dive deep into meditation and reflection. Within your womb we are comforted by the whale’s song.

Wood/Trees – Majestic and steadfast. We aspire to be in your likeness, strong roots anchored in the heart of Mother Earth, sturdy trunk that keeps us centered and strong, and beautiful branches and leaves that reach up and receive heaven’s divine energy.

Sun -You are the Divine body that benevolently shares life energy. From your rays all living things grow and thrive.

Air – We are in constant communion with you. You are the breath of life. With each inhale and exhale we integrate your pure energy within our vessel.

Sound – It is upon your tones we ride and bring healing to the self. It is upon your vibrations we soar and become one with the divine.

Divine Spirit – You flow around us and within us. Hope, appreciation, love, bliss, joy, you are all of these things. It is through your eyes and your movements that beauty manifests.

It is Jennifer’s hope that the words of the prayer reach those who resonate with it in their hearts. Thank you, Jennifer, for your generosity.

Posted by Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor with Jennifer Navarro’s permission.

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Babaylan Mandala

September 16, 2009 in Babaylan and Community Healing, Creative Expressions, Performances, Art, Poetry, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values, Modern Practices by admin

Babaylan Mandala I-I

Beginning over 400 years ago, the coming of Westerner colonizers shaped the identity of Filipinos. As the gold of our ancestors and the motherland were wrested away and loaded upon Spanish galleons to be delivered to the conquerors’ home across the seas, so too was the richness of Filipino identity and spirituality replaced with dysfunctional perceptions of the superiority of the Westerner’s race, religion and ways and the innate inferiority of the indios’. 

Filipinos today who awaken and stand strong in their identity, history, heritage and the center of their being(Loob), find their inner light, their inner gold. The Babaylan Mandalas and all their symbols of the 4 elements and baybayin scripts represent the reclaiming of the Filipinos’ Inner Gold… We know when the Babaylan Spirit rises within any one of us when She guides us to help our Kapwa find theirs. 

This art piece, on 29×29 sugar cane watercolor paper, is up for silent auction as part of a fundraiser for the Center for Babaylan Studies, Babaylan Rising, this December 5th in the Bay Area. 

These are also available for order on 18×18 watercolor paper. You can place your order at

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Baybayin and Decolonization

August 23, 2009 in Creative Expressions, Performances, Art, Poetry, Decolonization and Filipino Identity, Events and Conference, Feminine Divine, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values by admin

In my blog Baybayin Alive, I encourage people to explore an indigenous way of thinking in order to understand the deeper meanings of the Baybayin Symbols. You can read that post at Holistic Approach: Returning to Ancestral Thinking.

Here is my latest post:

Fertility Symbols, Feminine Principle and BA

In summary it talks about the BA baybayin symbols…
both of which are yonni symbols or fertility symbols.
I also talk about the fertility symbols of the  lingling-o and the dinumug
lingling-o on left and dinumug on right
(Source: Kipas Gallery –
The lingling-o is a common ancient artifact symbolizing fertility found around Southeast Asia and the Philippines(ca. 500 B.C.–100 A.D.); dinumug is a fertility symbol and symbol of prosperity and love found in the Ifugao, Bontoc and other Cordillera regions of the northern Philippines.
This particular post at Baybayin Alive goes on to talk about how the fertility symbol shape could very well be the imagery from which the BA baybayin symbol (clefted version) evolved from.

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Portrait of the Filipino as Kidlat Tahimik

July 27, 2009 in Creative Expressions, Performances, Art, Poetry, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values, Modern Practices by admin

Kidlat Tahimik popularized the term “indio-genius” in reference to contemporary culture-bearer/artists whose creative expressions come from Filipino indigenous themes. He and Katrin de Guia (one of our conference keynoters) co-founded Heritage Arts and Academies, Inc (HAPI) and organized the KAPWA national/international conferences/gatherings of 2004 and 2008. Our Babaylan Conference/Gathering 2010 is modeled after these conferences.”

Portrait of the Filipino as Kidlat Tahimik
Manila Bulletin – July 19, 2009, 3:08pm


Who does not know Kidlat Tahimik? Who is Kidlat Tahimik?

Kidlat Tahimik, to put him in the words of E.M.Forster, stands at a slight angle to the universe. We see him look at it askance, imbibe what his eye perceives, refine what he gets, in the cauldron of his poetic imaginative fire…

Choose a name he was to resound to, resonate with his own brand of Filipinism. Kidlat Tahimik, therefore. In those syllables contained in this name, rebound so spiritually strong with his character; always quick on the Go; here, there, everywhere and nowhere.

In himself, he knows the Buddhism of his heart, best to interact with his reverence for all living things; like his love of nature. Eric de Guia: Eric so Germanic meaning ruler; de Guia so Spanish meaning guide; so: Kidlat Tahimik It Is; this No nom de guerre. But true, as real as his flesh and blood. His truest identity and name will be part and parcel of his vision and art. Being Baguio-grown, he inclined himself to follow the cultures of the Igorots, Ifugaos (like reverencing in their cultural rituals aspects of nature). Adopted as Igorot bagani, he sired The Balik Bahag Movement; if the situation calls him, he dons the bahag without affectation, embarrassment, trepidation. He can look the Igorot brave.

The full article appears on the Manila Bulletin site.

Links accessed 7/27/09

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Indigenous People of Panay

July 20, 2009 in Babaylan and Community Healing, Kapwa and Other Indigenous and Filipino Values by admin

Alicia Magos wrote the important book, The Enduring Ma-Aram Tradition: An Ethnography of a Kinaray-A Village in Antique. Ma-aram is another word for Babaylan. Her current research focuses on the Panay-Bukidnon indigenous traditions and practices. She continues to be a culture-bearer/advocate for the indigenous peoples of Panay.

Indigenous People of Panay
Kinaray-a, Hiligaynon (Ilongo) and Aklanon-Speaking People
by Alicia P. Magos


Western Visayas is known for its yearly grand festivals. Foremost is the Ati-atihan in Kalibo, Aklan, an indigenous festival believed to have originated when the Negritoes and the Bornean Malays celebrated a joint festival after a peaceful talk over the barter of Panay. It later turned into a folk Christian practice honoring the Santo Niño and continues to attract foreign visitors because of its spontaneous audience participation which evokes merriment. It is celebrated in January every year. From the ati-atihan festival, guests proceed to the province of Iloilo which is about three to four hours’ land ride from Aklan. There, the guests await the celebration of the Dinagyang which is also a two-day revelry alongside a street dancing on the third day to honor the Sto. Niño.

The province of Antique also has its Binirayan festival celebrating the landing of the Bornean settlers in Malandog, Hamtic, Antique. The Capizeños have their Halaran, a thanksgiving which commemorates the one offered by the Borneans to their god Bululakaw. This, after a peace pact with the Negritos from whom they purchased some lands. There is also the present-day celebration called Masskara of Bacolod City, Negros Occidental to popularize Bacolod as a “City of Smile,” hence, the smiling masks used by the participants.

The complete article also contains an article entitled The Last of the Binukots By Hazel P. Villa and an article entitled Chanter of Epic Poetry.

Links accessed 7/19/2009