The Journal December 2015
Greetings from Las Islas Filipinas!
We welcome you all to this encore presentation of our Zarzuela Filipina, “ The Coming of the Cross and the Sword" (Ang Pagdating ng Krus at Espada), produced by Purple Pillars Production of The Nursing Office Extended Arts, sponsored by 351 Media Movement, scheduled for showing on December 12, 2015 at the West Orange Middle School Auditorium in West Orange, NJ to celebrate the historical novel of Dr. Zal Velez,(Cristo Rey Alunan) “Las Islas Filipinas”.
We would like to extend our invitation to your organization for this collaborative People’s Production of a zarzuela, with the participation of real-life talents of Fil-Americans and friends, to showcase and promote Philippine history arts and culture. Please join Las Islas Filipinas.org where you always have a part.
Myrna D. Santos, RN
Founder & Publisher
DUYAN NG MAGITING Zarzuela Filipina series, is created by Purple Pillars Production, artistic theatrical arm of the Extended Arts Program (Safe Haven for Creativity) of The Nursing Office.Com, based at 115-03 Atlantic Avenue, Richmond Hill, NY 11418.
The main theme of Duyan ng Magiting zarzuela Filipina series is the Filipinos’ struggle for freedom and triumphs of self-determination, which began with Lakan Lapu-Lapu’s victory over Magellan’s forces, through the 377 years of Spanish colonial period (1521-1898), 2 ½ years of British Occupation (1758-1762), 48 years of American Occupation (1898-1946), 3 years of Japanese Occupation (1941-1944), until the Philippine Renaissance in modern times.
Our objective is to describe and dramatize a Continuous Corridor of Philippine colonial and contemporary history from Filipinos’ own perspective, utilizing indigenous arts forms and expressions and blending these with modern technological multimedia. Most importantly, to reveal and authenticate a vibrant and spirited culture that has existed among pre-historic, pre-colonial Native Indigenous peoples located in the 7,107 islands presently known as the Philippine Archipelago.
Our vision-mission is to raise consciousness of global Filipinos with bonds of a confirmed identity of who we are and ground Filipino youth and future generations with a firm and proud understanding of our Filipino culture, heritage, and values. Finally, we seek to stimulate reflection and imaginations on how Filipinos are showing the world HOW to LIVE and THRIVE in HARMONY with Mother Earth or Inang Daigdig.
EPISODE ONE: The Coming of the Cross and the Sword is Based on and adapted from Las Islas Filipinas, Book 1: “The Story of the Visayan Enrique, First Circumnavigator of the Globe, and the Voyage of Admiral Ferdinand Magellan,”
Editor/Las Islas Filipinas Journal
UPDATES & NEWS
Production of Filipino Operetta to Benefit West Orange Scholarship Fund By JOE RICCI/November 29, 2015
WEST ORANGE, NJ - Filipino heritage and history will be on full display when “The Coming of the Cross and the Sword” (“Ang Pagdating ng Krus at Espada”) is performed on Dec. 12 at 3 p.m. at Liberty Middle School, 1 Kelly Drive. Tickets for the play are $25.00 for General Admission or $10.00 for seniors and students. All proceeds will benefit the West Orange Scholarship Fund.
The play, presented by Purple Pillars Productions, is adapted from Las Islas Filipinas Book 1, written by West Orange resident and Philippines native Dr. Zal Velez. It is part of a series of historical novels by Dr. Zal Velez, telling the story of the birth and development of the Philippine Islands.
The play centers on the story of the Visayan native Enrique, the first navigator of the world who acted as the interpreter for Ferdinand Magellan in his conquest in Leyte and Cebu. The production company says the play is designed to help Filipinos and all nationalities understand The Philippines’ rich history and teach Filipino youth now and in the future of Filipino heritage, culture and values. "It is the duty of every Filipino to advocate for the Renaissance of Philippine art, culture and tradition, now and until the end of time," said Dr. Zal Velez.
His wife, Dr. Josie Velez said this is the latest production of the operetta.“Prior productions of the Zarzuela/Operetta included the Philippine Consulate in New York (as a fundraiser for aging seniors in America), Walter Bauman Jewelers in West Orange (as a fundraiser for the victims of the Haiyan Typhoon), and the Jersey City Museum (as a fundraiser for underprivileged children in the Philippines). She said, “It is very rewarding to know that through Zal's book, and the operetta based on his historical novel, with the help of talented Filipinos and Americans, we are able to help others and give back to the community.”
Asia Society: Celebrating the Arts & Culture of the Philippines (Fall, 2015)
This fall Asia Society highlights the Philippines—from an extraordinary museum exhibition and evening at the opera, to the next wave of
cutting-edge film and contemporary designers’ showcase—as we seek to capture the energy of Philippine arts. We begin this special season with the stunning
exhibition Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms. On view from September 11, 2015, to January 4, 2016, the exhibition highlights the sophisticated goldsmithing culture of the
Philippines from the tenth to the thirteenth century. The recent discovery of many of the gold objects in the exhibition has helped reshape our understanding of precolonial Philippine history.
The rich diversity of the Philippines is little known in the United States and we are proud to raise awareness of the extraordinary creativity of the musicians, filmmakers, writers, video
artists, and designers of the Philippines.
This unprecedented programmatic season uses gold—and the indigenous people of the region of Butuan—as the inspiration for a reimagining of Philippine history and identity. It will look at the legacy of colonial times with the Tunog ng Ulap Rondalla, examine precolonial times with Grace Nono and indigenous musicians from the region of Butuan, and celebrate current artistic expressions with the Ma-Yi Theater Company and showcases of contemporary design and the recent revival of Philippine cinema.
Excerpt from a Historical Novel by Dr. Zal Velez
The Coming of the Sword:
After Rajah Humabon converted as a Christian, Magellan presented to him the strategic advantage of being a Christian warrior aligned with the Spanish forces of Carlos I. This assurance of increased power prompted Humabon to order all his chieftains to convert as Christians. However, some defied his command, among them Lakan Lapu-Lapu.
Determined to have Rajah Humabon be made the undisputed ruler, Magellan ordered all the independent chieftains to acknowledge Rajah Humabon, and warned any refusal to recognize the Rajah would mean death and the confiscation of their property. To enforce his message, Magellan sent a detachment to a peaceful village called Bulaya, where the inhabitants refused to obey Rajah Humabon.
After scorching the village, the Spanish soldiers found the old lady Agurang Agay-Agay returning to the village with her grandchild, and they asked for the whereabouts of other natives. Agurang Agay-Agay refused to disclose this information, so they ended up tying her to a coconut tree and accused her of idol worship. She was whipped and after 2 strokes, she fainted and collapsed.
The burning embers of the torched village of Bulaya remind the natives of the curse of conquest. Manuel, a native member of the Spanish detachment, disgusted with the dastardly act of his companions, turns around while gazing at the burning ruins, utters angry thoughts crying out:
“Why must I be a party to this ignoble act?
Obedient fool, I trusted the words of my commander,
But is it right to force our will against their sacred values?
Why not win them with acts of love and kindness?
How unchristian it is to use the sword to convert!
I felt the chill and discomfort of my act as it contradicts the spirit of my faith.
I am saddened to bear witness to the agony and pain inflicted to the natives of Bulaya.
Was it their fault to oppose conversion from their belief of ancient tradition?
Or should they be faulted for not willing to be ruled under Spain instead of their own?
But we all play the game, for fear is all encompassing; the convenient way is just to go along.
This imbalance of justice will not be forgotten nor will it ever be forgiven. That day will surely come when justice will prevail!”
“For all the riches in the world, I will not relinquish Magellan’s body. We will make him live amongst us, to remind the people of Mactan that we surrender to no man, and that any adventurer who comes to dominate our people shall himself be dominated!”
Dr. Zal Velez/Executive Director
Hear Yea! Hear Yea!
We are pleased to announce that an Encore presentation of The Coming of the Cross and the Sword is in progress. Produced by Purple Pillars Production of The Nursing Office Extended Arts, it is scheduled for December 12, 2015.
This is the first of Zarzuela Filipina Theater Series entitled “Cradle of Noble Heroes/Duyan ng Magiting” based on the historical novel of Dr. Zal Velez, “Las Islas Filipinas”.
We would like to extend our invitation to you and your organization to this collaborative People’s Production of a zarzuela, with the participation of real-life artists, to showcase and promote Philippine history and culture.
Become a witness to Philippine Renaissance as we open the curtain on this great production to promote and campaign for the Philippine Archipelago, to raise consciousness of global Filipinos with the bonds of a confirmed identity of WHO WE ARE and ground Filipino youth and future generations with a firm and proud understanding of our Filipino Heritage, Culture and Values. Philippine history will never be the same to you, your children and the world.
“It is the duty of every Filipino to advocate for the Renaissance of Philippine Art, Culture, and Tradition now and until the end of time.”
~Dr. Zal Velez
Author, Las Islas Filipinas
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Myrna D. Santos
UPCOMING ISSUE (Spring2016) A Quarterly Publication
What's Culture Got to Do With Political Power?
Based, quoted and reprinted from an article by Jon Melegrito, Washington DC, for his column, "Wrestles with Pillows," in The Filipino American Journal, March 1999. Jon Melegrito was a past Executive Director of the National Federation of Filipino American Association (NaFFAA).
New York-based Filipino American poet and critic Luis H. Francia puts it rather bluntly: "Our lack of political power has a lot to do with our lack of cultural presence in this country. You cannot separate politics from culture!"
At a meeting of Filipino American leaders convened by Loida Nicolas Lewis in New York, Francia bemoaned the stark absence of Philippine cultural institutions in the American mainstream.
"The Japanese and Chinese have their museums that document their culture," he said. "Why don't we have our own national cultural center? We need archives and library collections documenting our history. How many know about the 'manongs,' about our contributions to labor organizing in this country, about Larry Itliong, about the heroism and sacrifices of Filipino World War II veterans? How about the Filipino American war? no wonder Americans don't know what we are talking about when we ask them to return the Bells of Balangiga."Poet Eric Gamalinda piped in. "Even sadder is the fact that there's so much hunger especially among the youth for knowledge about their culture and history. But they don't know where to find them." A teacher at New York University, Gamalinda said he's learning about this from Filipino American students, in classrooms and in conferences like the Filipino Intercollegiate Networking Dialogue or FIND.
So, where do they find it? How is it presented in the American mainstream?
"Our idea of culture is balls and pageants, " Francia added. "We have to go way beyond that. Because the way we present ourselves culturally will affect the way we are perceived politically. We have so many talented and gifted Filipino writers, filmmakers, actors and artists. Right here in New York. But they feel excluded from the Filipino community. And yet they have so much to contribute to our cultural presence in this country."
Luis Francia and Eric Gamalinda had edited a book entitled "Flippin': Filipinos on America." Published in 1996, this anthology of stories and poems deal with topics, such as, the Philippines' shared history with America, family, survival, relationship, nostalgia, home, faith, loss, joy."These are the values that define a people, and with which they mark their place in the world -- the whole gamut human experiences, but seen through the eyes of those whose lives have been shaped and defined on both sides of the earth, by cultures that have often conflicted with one another," Gamalinda wrote.
After listening to both these "cultural workers," one thing became readily apparent to Loida Lewis, "Cultural Empowerment" is just as important as Political and Economic Empowerment."
All these dimensions are critical to our visibility in the American mainstream. If we must mark our place in this world, it's not enough to be politically and economically empowered. Our distinct cultural identity as a people, shaped by our history and values, must also shape our aspirations toward empowerment in this country.
- The Art of Weaving (Cynthia)
- Weaving the Strands of Filipino Americans in Queens ( Claro, PJ Gubatina)
- Banig sa Bood ( Gilda)
- ANSISTERS(Grace Bio)
- Raised Pinay
Oral History translates an Intergenerational Culture
Theme: Weaving it Together (A Community Weaving Workshop) Intergenerational Approach to Community Building
My Baryo, My Borough: A Creative Celebration of the Filipino Community in Queens, NY. (In Progress) My Baryo, My Borough... uses art and creativity to celebrate the Filipino/Filipino-American community in Queens, NY. Through public art programs and creative story sharing, we welcome the broader NYC community in celebrating Queens through the Filipino / Filipino American lens. Central to the project is a community-based oral history collection intended to document and share the local history of the Filipino Community in Queens, NY. The project will culminate in a multidisciplinary public sharing of the collected stories. My Baryo Comes to New York's Queens Borough through Oral History Project by Claro delos Reyes.
FOR MORE INFO PLEASE VISIT: www.mybaryomyborough.com
Archiving Fil-Am Communities in Queens Library
Philippine Consulate General Assembly: Serving Greater Fil-Am communities
Fil-Am Communities in Queens: Why we matter