Posts Tagged ‘Deaf Filipinos’

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Historians, Researchers, Educators, Cultural Workers Previewed PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon

March 7, 2017

On the second week of February, my educational documentary on our hero, Apolinario Mabini, PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon / Brains of the Revolution, primarily made for the Deaf sector was previewed in two different venues —  at the main office of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in Manila; the other at Maximo Viola Hall in the city of Malolos, Bulacan. Both cities are featured in the above docu, as they played very important roles in the history of the Philippines at the turn of the century. It covers the period from the time the American naval squadron entered the Philippines to engage in a War with the Spaniards in the Battle of Manila Bay [May 1, 1898], up to their finally taking over the sovereignty of our country [1899] in a manner detested and strongly objected by Mabini, subject of this documentary and Chief Adviser of the First Philippine President Emilio Aguinaldo. The Filipino Revolutionaries were actually already winning the War with Spain when the U.S. entered the Philippine soil. The two powers connived to hold a Mock Battle on August, 1898, followed by the signing of a treaty in Paris stating the handing over of the Philippines to the U.S. Our diplomat was not allowed to join, although by that time, the Filipino revolutionaries already declared independence from Spain on June 12, 1898. With a Constitution readied by a national assembly and approved by President Aguinaldo, the First Philippine Republic was inaugurated on January 23, 1899. Mabini’s defiance over the American sovereignty of the Philippines led to his being sent to Guam by the Americans as an exile.

Through the years, it became clear that the Americans posed in as friends at first, and then later turned into a foe having realized the strategic importance of the Philippines in the Far East. American soldier, William Grayson fired the first shot that started the Filipino-American War on February 4, 1899.

NHCP Preview2

It was on a Monday, February 7, that the O.I.C. Director of NHCP, Dr. Rene Escalante and the NHCP researchers viewed the film. I requested them to watch it before showing it to the general hearing public in August in commemoration of the National Heroes Day. I wanted feedback from “experts,” or those in the actual field.  I wanted to align, if ever there was misalignment with the facts that they are providing the people so that there would be no confusion in the minds of the viewing students. Fortunately, we had no data clashes. The researchers only particularly reacted to some of the photos that I got from the Mabini Shrine in Tanauan, Batangas like the picture of Mabini Standing, and the reproduction of artist Angel Cacnio’s painting entitled “The Capture of Mabini.” I was informed that the previous photo does not belong to NHCP but to a certain Mr. Kevin Cruz. Nonetheless, I emailed him as soon as I got his address from an NHCP personnel to inform him about my use of the picture, and sent him clips where and how the photo was used – not more than 30 seconds in totality. I have yet to write Mr. Cacnio. Moreover, one other researcher suggested if I could change the photo of Mabini shot allegedly in Guam. The issue he said is that it was not Mabini who was in the picture. However, I am keeping it since there is an existing photo with accompanying caption which says: The Guam Museum written above it [see below]. The better copy of the photo, or the one I used in the docu was reproduced from the NHCP Museum in Tanauan. As the issue has not yet been resolved whether it was really Mabini or not, I would still keep the picture. In fact, it was because of that reaction that I researched again for the copy of the photo that I got from filipinoamericanwar.com

Apolinario Mabini Guam newspaper2

This is the photo I am referring to. Notice on the top right side of the photo which states: The Guam Museum, and the words on the caption “….Mabini, along with 35 other Filipino patriots, WERE HERE [all caps mine – and that refers to Guam where Mabini was exiled] from 1901 to 1903.

One thing that struck me was their reaction to the insets of Filipino Sign Language [FSL] interpreters. Although the NHCP viewers were briefed before showing that the film was designed for the Deaf, and therefore would have FSL interpretations, they still wanted the traditional inset — small, in a box and kept in one corner. [I manipulated the image sizes and movement of the interpreter within the frame].

Though I found their reaction to it as quite surprising, I just rationalized as I was going home that perhaps for historians and researchers who are more interested and concentrated on the documents, data and message, the presence of sign language interpreters provided much distraction to their senses. And considering the language elements, and there are three: Filipino narration, English captions and FSL interpretation, that comes alongside the aural music and sound effects, and the visual elements simultaneously being presented, the need for mind processing is a bit more than the usual film with no textual and visual gestural elements involved. Discerning what language to give importance to also comes to the fore.

For hearing people unfamiliar with sign language, it is understandable that for them it meant nothing, and therefore, would pose only as solid distractions. In the end, they suggested if I could make another version with the traditional inset for FSL interpretation.  Of course, that would be by now impossible as the chroma background and the FSL interpreters are in composite form. Besides, it would defeat my own purpose and advocacy: that is, to give the Deaf Filipino sector access to information, and the other important objective of promoting the use and recognition of FSL in the Philippines which up to now has not been given attention to by the government. Most importantly, that was the very reason why DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies partnered with me in the realization of the film — its primary target beneficiaries are Deaf people. In fact, before showing it for the first time to their students, a preview was also conducted, at that time, in the presence of Dean Nicky Templo, the FSL interpreters, some faculty staff — Deaf and hearing, and the Deaf participants themselves with the sole purpose of agreeing of disagreeing regarding the image sizes and presentation of FSL in the film.

The importance of FSL in giving Deaf access to information can be gleaned from the reaction to the film of Myra Medrana, Deaf choreographer of the Silent Steps. She said:

“I’m truly happy and grateful to Mirana for doing this film on Mabini in Filipino Sign Language. This is a wonderful project for the Filipino people, especially for us Deaf as we come to learn more about our history and our heroes. Looking back, I remember when I was little, my father would give me paper money to buy stuff and I see these faces of they say heroes whom I knew nothing about. Although they were taught in school, I only remember very little facts about them because they were not clearly explained in sign language. Much of the information back then were not that much accessible to the Deaf unlike today.

To be honest, history to me is blur. And it’s unclear not just to me… but to most Deaf especially the poor and the marginalized because of the very limited access to education and information. I only slowly began to understand it clearly when I got to work with Mirana, initially in the “A Mi Patria” project  [Rizal’s Poems in FSL], and now in Project Mabini. During the production, we went to Batangas and learned a lot about Mabini — that despite his disability he was able to contribute immensely in our country’s fight for freedom and independence. Somehow, this film has inspired us so much to be like Mabini.

Now, the Filipino Deaf community is fighting for FSL, our natural language to be recognized as official sign language in the country. This film is a great advocacy towards that goal and I appreciate Mirana’s effort in including Deaf artists and talents to show to people the beauty and richness of our OWN language..the Filipino Sign Language. I hope more films like this will be done for the benefit of the Deaf community so that they too will learn about our history.”

NHCP Preview

O.I.C. Director of NHCP and DLSU History Professor, Dr. Rene Escalante [seated] with the NHCP researchers and other staff; MM in blue

Anyway, that stress be given according to Dr. Escalante regarding the importance of the Separation of Church and State issue, I greatly considered and appreciated. But as to the non-linear timeline of events, I am still keeping the sequence that I currently have. Lest I forget, the woman seated beside me said she liked the treatment, the creative interpretation.

My thanks to Dr. Escalante and his staff for sharing their time to watch, react and give their comments re the docu. A particular sector’s reaction does differ. Shown two days later to another group consisting of educators, heritage advocates, a local historian, tourism and cultural workers, including a staff from NHCP-Malolos in Bulacan reacted also positively but with better appreciation of the FSL use. [This I shall take up in my next blogpost].

 

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Rendezvous with Deaf Students

February 5, 2017

February 3, Friday, Noon Time. CSB Bldg., Rm. M510. “Silent Odyssey” [2008], a documentary on Deaf Culture, History, and Filipino Sign Language [FSL] origin was finally ana shown to Fourth Year students of Ms. Ana Arce upon her request. An arrangement since last year was made to have it shown during this semester. Ana is now a faculty member of DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies [SDEAS]. I used to see her when she was still a student of SDEAS. That was a decade ago. I was making Silent O while at the same time studying FSL intended for hearing people under SDEAS’ FSL Learning Program. In fact, she was captured in one of the forums that I shot during that time for Silent O.

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Ms. Ana Arce with her students

Anyway, some of her students who viewed the film are members of the Silent Steps, the school’s playgroup. I have worked with them in my documentaries on Mabini. After the screening, I have asked them: “What’s the most important thing that you have learned from the film?” “FSL!”, they retorted in unison. [Oh yes! I managed to communicate with them without an interpreter. Sounds unbelievable but my little knowledge of FSL signs helped a lot. I am not daily exposed to sign language so without practice, my receptive skill is honestly poor. Nevertheless, I survived the day].

I was happy of course because one of the main objectives of the film — to make Deaf appreciate their language, and know its origin has been met. Hoping too that with that understanding they would fight and advocate for its use and recognition. Moreover, I have seen again the timelessness and value of the content. It is as important as when I first showed it to the public nine years ago. I am sure the interest and significance won’t diminish for as long as FSL is not recognized here, and Deaf continues to experience discrimination. For sure, the interview with the World Federation of the Deaf President Markku Jokinen by Raphy Domingo greatly helped in making the students understand better the importance of sign language in their life, culture and identity as Deaf individuals.

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Watching the interview with World Federation of the Deaf Markku Jokinen

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As for me, the fight to advocate for the use of Filipino Sign Language and highlighting PWD’s abilities through my films has not yet ended. Currently, I am preparing for the showing of PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon. It is participated in by the Silent Steps, and music scored by a Person with Autism [PWA]. It is intended for hearing people so that they would get exposed to FSL, and hopefully get to appreciate and have an interest to learn it; in addition, to be able to listen to the first music scoring work of a PWA. Primarily meant for Deaf audience to give them full access to information about our hero, Apolinario Mabini, it was largely interpreted in FSL and fully captioned in English. DLS-CSB SDEAS and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts collaborated in its making. The latter must have been convinced by my rationale that Deaf’s culture and language should be respected as much as the Indigenous Peoples’ culture and language. After all, like the IPs, Deaf should be considered as a cultural-linguistic minority group.

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May you all succeed!!!

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Silent O to Screen at DLS-CSB SDEAS on February 3

January 20, 2017

SILENT ODYSSEY, my docu on Deaf Filipino history, language and culture has been scheduled for showing to students of Ms. Ana Arce, faculty staff of De La Salle-College of St. Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies on February 3, Friday at Room M302 located at the 3rd floor of CSB Building in Taft Avenue, Manila.

Ms. Arce was still a student of SDEAS when I started making the film in 2007. She was also captured in the film. The film was finished and premiered in 2008.

Eight years had passed since then, but Deaf Filipinos continue to fight for their linguistic human rights. I do hope that Deaf issues tackled in Silent O completely cease to exist in the future, and that Filipino Sign Language be already recognized by the government. Nevertheless, having got involved with them as partners and participants in my film, I do feel that the society has become more accepting of Deaf people as time passes by. More people become aware of Deaf’s Being and their concerns. I also hope that hearing advocates would grow more in number.

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Screening Tomorrow! APOLINARIO MABINI: The Sublime Paralytic

August 26, 2015

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Poster designed by Leah Osido [Deaf]

THE SUBLIME PARALYTIC is narrated and captioned or subtitled in English, with Filipino Sign Language interpretations and/or insets to suit all types of audience, including the Deaf and even Blind persons. Narrators are Cris Lorenzana, Winner Ka Pinoy! host at DZXL 558 RMN Manila, and Bayani Generoso [for the Malolos Segment]. Interpreters in Filipino Sign Language are Bayani Generoso, Febe Sevilla, Gess Michael Abrenica Jr. and CJ Patriarca. Reader of Mabini’s El Decalogo is Abner Manlapaz. This is to give Deaf access to information and to promote the widespread use of Filipino Sign Language as language of Deaf Filipinos.

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In Promotion of Filipino Sign Language: “APOLINARIO MABINI: THE SUBLIME PARALYTIC”

August 17, 2015

SILENT ODYSSEY [2008], the first feature-length documentary on Deaf Filipinos was produced seven years ago. It had segments on the Filipino Sign Language [FSL] origin, importance to the Deaf of sign language, and the need for recognition of their linguistic human rights. Surprisingly, those in the Department of Education did not even know that FSL existed. Blind to its existence then??? and Now?

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Bayani Generoso Interprets in The Sublime Paralytic

Thus, FSL in APOLINARIO MABINI: THE SUBLIME PARALYTIC [and soon! in PULE: UTAK ng REBOLUSYON] was intentionally used again– to prove that it exists and keeps on flourishing through the years. Largely interpreted in FSL, it is primarily aimed at providing Deaf individuals access to information on Mabini, the First Secretary of Foreign Affairs and the First Prime Minister of the Philippines. No doubt, the visual medium is one of the best ways to help promote FSL, its recognition as the preferred language of Deaf Filipinos, and in the preservation of Deaf language and culture. Too bad that up to now, the government is not officially recognizing FSL as the national sign language of Deaf Pinoys.

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John Baliza Interprets in PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon, the Filipino-narrated version of The Sublime Paralytic

As former student of FSL moreover, under the Filipino Sign Language Program of DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies [SDEAS], it is one of my aims to provide the hearing students of FSLLP a film that will help them get familiar with FSL signs. Exposure to signs will aid them in improving their receptive skill because it was, and still is admittedly, my problem up to now!

FSL Interpreters for THE SUBLIME PARALYTIC are Bayani Generoso, Febe Sevilla, Gess Michael Abrenica, Jr. and CJ Patriarca. FSL Interpreters for the Filipino-narrated version, PULE: UTAK NG REBOLUSYON, now in post-production are John Baliza, Febe Sevilla, Gess Michael Abrenica, Jr. and Maria Elena Lozada.

The FSL fight for government recognition is on! Support FSL!

Watch APOLINARIO MABINI: THE SUBLIME PARALYTIC! Premiere Showing on August 27, 2015 at DLS-CSB ARG Theater, 5th floor, 4 pm. For inquiries and ticket reservations, click: http://goo.gl/forms/SWf1Yks7tk

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Fr. Cyril Axelrod, CSsR_Deaf-Blind Priest who Encouraged the Establishment of PFD

March 1, 2015
The Philippine Association of the Deaf [PAD] was first established in October 17, 1926 by Filipino Deaf leader, Mr. Pedro Santos. PAD was an official member of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), an international non-governmental organization representing approximately 70 million Deaf people worldwide. WFD is recognized by the United Nations or UN. In 1990s, PAD and PAD Demonstration School were both closed due to internal mismanagement. PAD had no communication with WFD since its dissolution so WFD asked Fr. Cyril Axelrod, CSsR, the former director of Macau Deaf Association to check the status of PAD through the Catholic Ministry to Deaf People (CMDP) and its former Executive Director, Dr. Jandi Arboleda. He reported to WFD that the PAD was officially dissolved. 
Fr. Cyril Axelrod

Fr. Cyril Axelrod [Courtesy of DEAF Advocating News & Travels in the Philippines from fb account of CBDagani]

There was an informal community meeting in 1995 but did not push through. Fr. Axelrod, CSsR did not give up and push the community meeting with the assistance of CMDP. He proposed to the Filipino Deaf community to establish a new organization to replace PAD, In its stead, the Philippine Federation of the Deaf or PFD was founded on October 19, 1996. It was formally established the following year on May 18, 1997. This story was  shared by Raphy Domingo, former president of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf.
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Daily Prompt: Proud

February 16, 2013

DP: When was the last time someone told you they were proud of you?

Three weeks ago, that was when I unexpectedly received an email from my friend Marie Antoinette whom we call Spring Blossoms for being bubbly, happy and bouncy as can be perceived from her tone:

“Yehey! go go go, Mirana, go go Silent Odyssey;-) thanks for making us proud of you! happy 2013! cheers cheers!”

She’s a friend I lost touch with for over a year or so. In fact up to now, I do not know her exact whereabouts. We had no exchange of communication until she finally got in touch again a few weeks back. She said she went to Australia…and was recently back in the country —Where exactly???  Maybe down South in her home town Davao. Maybe in Coron, Palawan Island, a place she loves a lot. Or up North in Ilocos to tend to a sick friend… Maybe… I just know that one day she will pop in when least expected just as she always does.

Silent OAnyway, whenever good news are there, I never fail to update or inform her. the latest being the acceptance of my docu SILENT ODYSSEY in the 3rd HongKong International Deaf Film Festival which is going to be held next week at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. She had seen the film as she was present when I premiered it in our country. The docu is about my journey into the Deaf World, a film long enough to be considered the first feature-length film on Deaf Filipino history, culture, language issues and education; my advocacy film that calls for Deaf’s acceptance and inclusion in our society and respect for their rights and their person.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/02/15/daily-prompt-proud/