Posts Tagged ‘Deaf Filipinos’



August 18, 2012

From Angono, Rizal, our film A MI PATRIA – 5 POEMS OF RIZAL in Filipino Sign Language will proceed to UP Los Baños in Laguna. The screening in Laguna is part of UPLB’s WISIK event [Wika, Sining at K-alusugan, Kalikasan at Komunidad] Pls click for details, Screening will be next week on August 24, 7 p.m. at Umali Hall, UPLB.

The film aims to advocate for respect of Deaf Filipino’s Linguistic Human Rights and to promote the use and recognition of Filipino Sign Language. At the same time, it aims to spread the nationalism/patriotism, sentiments and ideas/ideals of Dr. Jose Rizal to the Filipino youth in a more popular medium: the visual and aural form. The first-ever interpretation of Rizal’s poems in sign language was produced in collaboration with SDEAS and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

The FSL and the spoken language versions are to be shown.

All performers are Deaf while majority of the readers are faculty members of the UP College of Arts and Letters in Diliman from the following Departments: Filipino, European Languages,  Arts Studies, Speech Comm and Theater Arts and Creative Writing Center.


Rizal for the Deaf by Angelo Garcia in MB

June 26, 2012

I would like to say that A MI PATRIA though primarily made for the Deaf eventually ended up to serve the interests of ALL Filipinos. The spoken language versions [in English, Spanish and Filipino] are meant for the BLIND, all HEARING PERSONS, STUDENTS of RIZAL COURSE, even RIZAL SCHOLARS and the LITERATI. A mi’s audience turned out to be universal when I pursued making the spoken language versions. However, all of them have the FSL version intercut or simultaneously spliced with the spoken versions. My reason? For all viewers [except the Blind], to be exposed to the beauty of Filipino Sign Language [FSL]; for them to know that FSL exists. The film is an advocacy for the use and official recognition of FSL by the Philippine government. By using FSL to translate the poems of our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, it has become the Deaf sector’s most significant contribution to the voluminous works on Dr. Rizal. It is afterall, a film on Rizal made 100 years after the first film on him were made in 1912. Above all else, the film is meant to show that “DEAF CAN.”

Very early this morning before 1 am,  I received a text message from Vim Nadera informing me about something in p. I-1 of Manila Bulletin. I found it quite surprising to receive a message at that time. What could he be referring to, I thought. Then I remembered the journalist who interviewed me during the showing of my film A MI PATRIA. However, I knew that MB’s sped section, or matters on sped education and activities are scheduled by the newspaper on Mondays. I was right when I checked Manila Bulletin’s online news; the article “Rizal for the deaf” was published yesterday. [To read, click rizal-deaf]

Since I got the information today at 1am, I wasn’t able to get hold of the MB publication yesterday. Anyway, after having read the article, I just want to reiterate – that from the time I studied sign language, Filipino Sign Language specifically, and from the time I came to know and uphold the cultural perspective or view that the Deaf is a cultural-linguistic minority group, I have stopped using the word HEARING IMPAIRED [HI] to address Deaf individuals. I never mentioned that in Mr. Garcia’s interview with me, neither in my introductory talk before the screening of A mi… DEAF is the proper term to use if one believes in the cultural, not the medical view of deafness. So, calling on Mr. Garcia, if not the editor of MB — [this is the second time that MB “imposed” on using the word HEARING IMPAIRED by changing the word from Deaf to Hearing Impaired. In Vim Nadera’s interview with me, the editor changed the word DEAF to Hearing Impaired.] If the editor is the same as last year — then he should know that there’s a difference between DEAF and HI. I think he should watch my docu SILENT ODYSSEY for him to understand better our Deaf Filipino brothers and sisters — how they should be called and want to be treated].


3 in 1 Ultimo Adios? The Multilingual Version

December 4, 2011

Just musing about the possibility of presenting on December 29 at the Rizal Shrine, not only one but three versions of Ultimo Adios  — for the Deaf, the Blind and all hearing individuals, especially students of Spanish and Rizal Course, including scholars studying Rizal’s works, and the ordinary laymen. One of my primary aims in making this project is to expose the hearing persons to the beauty of Filipino Sign Language [FSL]; and to the Dept. of Education, the existence of the natural sign language of Deaf Filipinos for them to consider the use of FSL in primary schools to benefit Deaf children. The versions are as follows: FSL Version interpreted by Aldrin Gabriel with English subtitles, FSL Version interpreted by the Silent Steps and Ultimo Adios read in Spanish language by Chair Wystan de la Peña of U.P. Department of European Languages with Filipino subtitles, and FSL version interpreted by Aldrin Gabriel, read by Vim Nadera in Filipino with English subtitles. Of the three, only the Spanish version remains to be edited…while the Filipino version is yet to be subtitled. [I must confide that I am starting to get confused with the multilingual combinations that I myself conceived. Ha!Ha!] By the way, the Silent Steps is a playgroup consisting of Deaf students from DLS-CSB Sch. of Deaf Education and Applied Studies where I studied Filipino Sign Language under the FSL Learning Program [FSLLP].



November 10, 2011

Over “A mi Patria”, film consultant Vim Nadera has suggested to title the collection “Inang-Bayan.” But I have already fixed my mind [and heart] to title it as such. It is because of instinct. I do relie on instincts at times. My first reaction when I saw the dedication page of Noli Me Tangere on our reproduced copy of the book, was, as I told Vim: “Eureka!” For many months, I have been looking, and asking friends for suggestions on what to title my film to replace my NCCA proposal’s title:  “Mga Natatanging Tula ni Rizal sa Wikang Senyas.” FILIPINAS was in my list, but it is quite common. Until I found the Noli and opened its pages.

BUT… I will take the suggestion of Vim. I will use INANG-BAYAN as title for the Filipino version of the film. Thanks Vim!

A mi…is not meant solely to benefit the Deaf, but all Filipinos in the world!!! By making versions in four languages, my objectives are mainly to reach out — not only to the Deaf, but the Blind; the ordinary student of Rizal course or those specializing in Spanish language, including scholars on Rizal studies; and to help preserve the thoughts, wisdom, and the spirit of Rizal in a form I am comfortable in being able to share my own thoughts with— via “moving pictures.” There will be four distinct versions of the film – multi-layered, as it is going to be multilingual. All will have the Filipino Sign Language interpretations by Deaf performers.


Rizal Poems in FSL_Finishing Line

November 7, 2011

I have been busy in putting all five poems together with introduction written by Janus Victoria, and interpreted by Febe Sevilla. At this time, I am nearing the finish line in the making of “A mi Patria,” the collection of Dr. Jose Rizal’s poems interpreted in Filipino Sign Language for Deaf Filipinos. The film totals nearly 50 mins. I’ll just have to add a few more photos; find the right codec [or maybe the frame rate compatible to my pc] so that the Flowers of Heidelberg poem shot in HD [needs format conversion] can fit in with the rest of the materials; have the subtitles put, and meet Diego, the musician today to give the working copy. I met them yesterday but avi format was taking a lot time to be transferred to the laptop so we just decided to convert it to lower res mat first. By tomorrow or day after, the layin of the sound effects will have to get started… Showing is sked next week!!


Making a Small Film for a Renaissance Man

June 21, 2011

Working on perpetuating further the greatness of a man is a big task and responsibility. And when it is done for what they call the ‘least in the society’ the responsibility becomes even heavier.

Finishing and accomplishing the task of making the film ULTIMO ADIOS in Filipino Sign Language to launch this afternoon at 1 o’clock will be one responsibility off me. It will now fly to be in the senses of sensitive Deaf Filipinos and the hearing persons who look up to the greatness of Dr. Jose Rizal. He wrote the poem in 1896 before he was shot to death by a firing squad.

I do not know what its impact would be to the DEAF but I have seen how it worked and touched the hearts of several literati at the UP where I had it previewed before the organizing committee members of the First Rizal International Conference last June 15. Their reaction has proven the universality of emotions, film language and music. They actually decided to show two stanzas from the film interspersed with a live performance by Aldrin Gabriel who acted as Deaf Rizal in the film.

My tasks do not end today after the launching of PROJECT RIZAL. It is but the beginning… I have yet to finish LA JUVENTUD FILIPINA, and to shoot THE FLOWERS OF HEIDELBERG, ALAY KAY MARIA CLARA, and a fifth poem which I haven’t yet decided to replace SA AKING KABABATA. I had to remove from the list the last poem because of the current issue now ongoing that Rizal could not have written that poem.


Princess Diana Signs British Sign Language

August 16, 2010

Princess Diana learning how to sign reminds me so much of the days when I was learning sign language too. Kind of nostalgic! Seeing her sign makes me recollect my days at the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde School of Deaf and Applied Studies (DLS-CSB SDEAS) with the purpose of trying to learn their history, study their culture, and eventually make a documentary about them. Those days were memorable. And my first day with them was a culture shock. I felt rather awkward because of getting confused with the signs especially during the first semester—as literally, tons of word signs had to be learned. Learning sign language had been a real challenge to me. But one year in the Deaf community was worth it. I gained many Deaf friends, appreciated as I saw and learned the beauty of sign language, understood their being as a cultural and linguistic minority group. It was four years ago in 2006 when I first enrolled to study sign language under the Filipino Sign Language Learning Program (FSLLP) program. The rest is history. I made a short docu (Breaking the Barrier) and a docu- film feature (Silent Odyssey) related to my experiences with the Deaf. The latter had the participation of Deaf in its making.

To watch her sign, please click below:


Tinig ng Senyas

August 29, 2009

“TINIG NG SENYAS: pagbubuklod tungo sa pagpapanday ng isang makabuluhang pambansang patakaran sa wikang senyas” ay isang pulong na ginanap sa Pulungang C.M.Recto, Bulwagang Rizal (dating UP Faculty Center) noong Miyerkoles, ika-26 ng Agosto mula 1:00-5:00 nang hapon. Si Dr. Zosimo E. Lee, Dekano ng Kolehiyo ng Agham Panlipunan at Pilosopiya, UP-Diliman ang nagbigay ng pambungad na pananalita. Nang makita ko siya, inisip ko kung saan ko siya unang nakita. Matatapos na ang pulong nang maalala ko na kaya pala pamilyar si Dr. Lee ay dahil dumalaw siya noong 2004 sa burol ng aking kapatid na si Dr. Isagani R. Medina sa Our Lady of Sorrows sa kalye F.B. Harrison. Doon ko siya unang nakita at nakausap. Bilang Emeritus Professor sa Departamento ng Kasaysayan, kabilang si IRM sa kanilang kolehiyo.

Tinalakay sa pulong ang kasalukuyang problema ng mga Bingi sa Pilipinas na sumentro sa “pagpapanday ng isang makabuluhang patakaran sa wikang senyas,” bunga sa hindi pagkilala sa Filipino Sign Language (FSL) ng DepEd bilang pambansang wika at epektibong tulay ng komunikasyon ng mga Bingi at ang patuloy na paggamit ng Signing Exact English (SEE). Sinabi ni Dr. Therese Bustos ng UP Special Education Area na ang problema sa pagtuturo ay nasa level ng elementarya at mataas na paaralan dahil sa tertiary level ang mga importanteng institusyon ay gumagamit ng FSL bilang pagkilala sa importansya nito bilang identitad o pagkikilanlan ng mga Binging Pilipino.

Pulungang C.M.Recto, Bulwagang Rizal (dating UP Faculty Center)

Si Marites Racquel “Rack” Estiller-Corpuz na unang nagsalita ay nagpaliwanag kung bakit ang “Wikang senyas ay Yaman ng Pilipinas.” Tinalakay niya ang kasaysayan ng FSL na nagsimula pa noong panahon ng mga Kastila. Nagbigay rin sya ng mga halimbawa at nagkumpara sa kaibahan ng mga bago at lumang senyas. Naipakita nya ang kagandahan ng wikang senyas na katutubo. At sa huli ang pagkilala na dapat iukol sa FSL bilang wikang senyas ng mga Pilipino.

Si Dr. Liza B. Martinez, Direktor ng Philippine Deaf Resource Center, ang nagbigay ng pangalawang pananalita na pinamagatang “2009 SONA ng wikang senyas” habang si Representative Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel ng AKBAYAN Party List na nahuli sa pagdating dahil sa ibang commitment ay nagsalita rin at nagbigay pag-asa tungo sa pagpapatupad ng mga mithiin ng mga Bingi. (Ang bahagi ng kanyang mga sinabi ay i-a-upload ko sa Youtube kapag naconvert na).

Ang interes sa pag-aaral ng FSL ay lumalago. Ako, bilang dating mag-aaral ng FSL ay tunay na natutuwa para sa mga Bingi na dumarami na sa mga nakakarinig ang gustong mag-aral nito. Ito ay sa dahilang napakaganda at nakapa interesante ng wikang senyas bilang daan para makipag-usap sa kanila. Masaya kasi silang kasama at maraming mga mababait sa kanila. Wala silang ipinagkaiba sa atin kundi ang pagkabingi nila. Tayo lang mga nakakarinig ang gumagawa ng linya sa pagitan natin sa paniniwalang pagsasayang lang ang mag ukol ng oras para matuto ng kanilang wika para makipag usap sa kanila. Ngunit kapag lumaganap na ang pananaw na ang wikang senyas ay tulad din ng mga banyagang wika, na ang mga Bingi ay isang “linguistic-minority group” ang respetong dapat mapasakanila ay maibibigay na. Unti-unting tataas ang pagtingin sa kanila hanggang maging pantay na ito sa mga taong karamihan sa atin ay may palagay na ang mga Bingi ay may kapansanan.

Mabuhay ang Deaf Filipinos!


Filipino Sign Language: a Spark plug

August 23, 2009

“Silent Odyssey” and “A Blind Architect” elicited and sparked lots of remarks from Deaf viewers during the special screenings held for Mrs. Nora Shannon from PEN International in Rochester, New York, and the students of DLS-CSB SDEAS’ Deaf Learner’s Preparatory Course (DLPC). Mrs. Shannon attended the viewing with her husband. Many of the Deaf reacted on the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) issues and Deaf identity problems. Meanwhile, Architect Jaime Silva, the blind architect was able to inspire the Deaf by making some of them wish to emulate his role as a strong PWD rights advocate. One student whose interest is in law centered his remarks on the need for the Senate to know of Deaf Accessibility Law problems and their rights. He wants to become a lawyer he said. Another felt that the attention being given to persons with physical disability seems to be more than what the Deaf sector receives. I told him that personal initiative is quite necessary and very important…that Arch. Silva started advocating more than 10 years ago [since 1997], that he had taken his own initiative to make known to people in authority and the building establishments regarding the need to implement the Philippine Accessibility Law or BP344 to help alleviate their condition. Even then, up to now 30-35% has just being implemented, the reason why the concept of Non-Handicapping Environment (NHE) would hopefully help in removing all types of barriers in the future—not only physical but attitudinal with the latter being suffered by the Deaf. That if the Deaf should want to be heard, then they should also work on their own, take the initiative to advocate, be strong, be empowered as a group so that they could be heard better, rather than remain as splintered groups working for individual causes. I truly hope that the Deaf Development Center, a group which has just been formed last week will push through and succeed as one umbrella group that will unify all Deaf organizations. I enjoined the Deaf to work together strongly as one so that they can fight for their rights, their linguistic human rights (LHR). I personally believe that they should not wait for the hearing persons to decide for them or move them to action. They should move on their own, take the rein, the initiative to work for their good.. Only by having a louder “voice” and having a common goal starting with the fight to recognize their language that the authorities responsible to attend to their human rights needs could hear and hopefully listen to their woes. Yes! Deaf awareness is a must. It is a slow process but it should start now more than ever because of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).

The film showings were held yesterday, August 22 at DLS-CSB School of Design Cinema located in P.Ocampo St., Manila. When Mrs. Nora Shannon was asked for her reaction she said:

“What really struck us…one, was when the young Deaf man talked about Filipino Sign Language as having history and then going back in really researching and finding out that there is an actual history of the Filipino Sign Language; and the second thing was having that man from PFD talked directly to the people about how they should perceive themselves as Deaf Filipino people because sometimes you listen more to people who are far away….

I also like…how balanced it was…how much you showed what Deafs can do instead of focusing out on their struggles and trials which are showing the Deaf’s feats…Deaf poetry…That’s really moving.”


SO’s Impact in New Delhi

July 11, 2009

Tonight I was surprised to know that in volume 2 [2009] issue of Deafway Magazine in India, SO was featured. However, the editor’s note that SO is a “must see” despite its ‘documentary tag’ made me ask, “Why can’t a docu be a “must see” despite its being a ‘documentary’ in genre? What did the editor mean by that? That only narrative films are “must-see” creations? I wondered!

Anyhow, I feel happy that inspite of the fact that SO features the plight of our Deaf Filipinos and presents Deaf Filipino culture, the effect on the Deaf sector in India as reflected on what’s written on this online magazine affirm the universality of film language as SO “touched a chord deep within” the hearts of Deaf who are not Filipinos. It also made the effort and the time that I have put in the making of SO [one-and-a-half-years] doubly worthwhile and quite fulfilling for successfully reaching out to an audience I never thought could ride equally with the sentiments of our Deaf brothers.

When I was informed by Mr. Satish Kapoor, Festival Director, of the positive reactions by the Deaf group that will facilitate its premiere in New Delhi the first time SO was previewed [before the start of the fest in Feb 09] I thought then that the reaction must have been because Deaf in India have the same experiences as most of Deaf Filipinos—the feeling of rejection, discrimination, probably at times humiliations from the hearing world. Although I got good feedbacks after the premiere from Mr. Kapoor again and from Rack Corpus, President of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf who relayed to me the positive feedbacks from her Indian Deaf network in India, it was only now when I read about SO in print on Deafway, a magazine for the Deaf,  that I concretely know its impact on them.

In SO, showing Deaf Filipinos’ sentiments in the film and that “Deaf can” as a premise help in making the hearing world know their abilities, understand their situation, recognize their Being as equals to anyone of us. I hope more from the hearing society would see SO here in the Philippines as it reels around this July, NDPR Week, in Samar and Makati City.

To proceed anyway, on the cover of Deafway Mag, it reads somewhere on the page:


Director Mirana Medina from the Philippines Takes Center Stage with a Poignant Film

On Page 4, the large text heading reads:


Followed by the following subtexts:

The SILENT ODYSSEY had a tremendous impact here in New Delhi.

It touched a chord deep within...
I realised we are all the same inside!

Still on Page 4, part of the Editorial [A Word from Our Editor] states:

…Our lead story is the amazing documentary by Ms Mirana Medina of the Philippines called the “Silent Odyssey” some amazing dance sequences and poignant true-life stories make this film a ‘must see’ despite its ‘documentary’ tag. Tying up with that is the issue of Black ASL. No matter what color or race we are, we are all one in Sign, we are all one in Sign. Cheerio!

Finally! Page 12 was devoted to SO’s synopsis.

Pls click to read:


To watch SO trailer, click below: