Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Jose Rizal’


Daily Prompt: Tongue_Cuneiform

February 11, 2014

Tongue is always equated with language –and language can be written, read and be visual like sign language. The early writing system known as cuneiform recorded the tongue of the past.  Cuneiform came from the Latin word cuneus “wedge” and forma “shape,” and came into English usage “probably from Old French cunéiforme” according to wikipedia. Cuneiform was adapted for the writing of Akkadian, Eblaite, Elamite, Hittite, Luwian, Hattic, Hurrian, Urartian and Old Persian languages up to 1st century AD from 31st c BC. Just don’t know how I’d fare had I live during those days!!! I am just amazed at how people speak several languages like my artist-friend Rowena Ulayan, now based in in Turkey. Fondly called Weng [see Feb 9 blogpost] she speaks eight languages. The Philippines’ national hero — our hero — Dr. Jose Rizal by the way spoke 22 languages! He was most fluent in Spanish, German, French, Latin and Hebrew.

CuneiformA few cuneiform writings nearly the size of an i-phone are displayed at the Museum of Anatolian Civilization [Anadolu Medeniyetleri Muzesi], the other museum I visited in Ankara, Turkey.



Weekly Photo Challenge: What the Sign Says2 / Traces

June 1, 2013
Rizal Marker3

There are thousands of signs everywhere in the world. To retrace and find markers or signs that would tell us where in Hong Kong our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal worked proved to be difficult. Our guide brought us to this place called D. Aguilar Street and asked us to look for the sign where his clinic once stood.  Well, I better point it out to you since we ourselves didn’t see it the first time we went there. Do you see that red, oval sign under the time piece in the middle of this picture?

Rizal Marker2

Now, you have a closer look of its position. How could we find it the first time we visited it when its color then was in bronze-brown, and unpolished at that. It was also smaller unlike now — bigger, better and at least with texts in red color background

Rizal Marker1

Details Written on the Marker Installed by the Hong Kong Antiquities Authority About the Philippine National Hero
Dr. Jose Rizal who Practiced Opthalmic Surgery While in Exile in 1891-1892

Rizal Marker4

How do you imagine this place to be more than 100 years ago?

Hkg Calling Card

This was the calling card used by Dr. Rizal in 1891-92. His clinic once stood in this place, while he lived at Rednaxela Terrace.

Dr. Jose Rizal  was shot to death by a firing squad when brought back to the Philippines in 1896 by the Spaniards. This year, we are going to celebrate his 152nd birth anniversary on June 19.


Daily Prompt: Journey with the Deaf

May 28, 2013

Have you ever imagined yourself in a journey with Deaf individuals?

Well, I never did until one day, seven years ago in 2006 when I decided to formally study sign language with the hope of communicating with them. As part of my research for a docu that I wanted to do about Deaf Filipino Culture, I thought it would be wise to learn their language first. That was the start of my journey in the Deaf world. What made me decide to choose them as my subject is another story. Suffice it to say that there’s no turning back, no regrets at all to have spent my time with them.

Shoot with Silent Steps

Shooting with Silent Steps, an all-Deaf student playgroup at DLS-CSB School of Deaf and Applied Studies where I studied FSL. Here, I worked with Deaf photographer / videographer Dennis Balan.

One of the most memorable, and surely one of the happiest and enjoyable time in my life happened on my first day in the sign language class. On that day, all of us hearing students were required to ACT AS IF WE WERE DEAF, that is we were obliged not to speak a word – from morning when the class started up to our dismissal time in the afternoon at 5. To communicate with the Deaf, we had to gesture, act things out or make even the funniest facial expressions to be understood. Last resort would be writing on paper to “talk” with a Deaf buddy assigned to us, or use the celfone as a handy tool to communicate as well. Even during our lunch break, when we went to McDo Restaurant, the session continued. We ordered our food using gestures, hands and facial expressions. The instruction was do anything except speak! It was truly exhausting not to be able to speak for 8 hours. Saliva got dried up. Noticeable during those “trying” hours, I felt that the sound around me switched off as my full attention focused on my Deaf buddy. With the ambient sound seemingly off, all the people except my Deaf buddy defocused.  My full attention was on him because there was that need to understand what he was trying to tell me. I have never laughed as much as I did on that day nevertheless. It was great fun!

For a year, I had Deaf teachers; got exposed with their culture, and came to know what their societal concerns and needs are. During those years, I met many intelligent and talented Deaf in the sector and worked with some of them both as participants and co-workers in my film. In my journey with the Deaf, they eventually became part of my being. I have learned a lot from them as I came to understand, no matter how little who they are and how important their natural language is. Together, we have worked and eventually made the first docu on Deaf Filipino Culture and Language [Silent Odyssey / 2008] as well as the first-ever interpretation in Filipino Sign Language of our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal’s [1891-1896] selected patriotic poems [A mi Patria / 2011-2012 / in four language versions]. Both films became a vehicle to relay the need to respect their person, and recognize Deaf’s linguistic human rights.

Shooting at the Plaza Park in Calamba

“A Filipinas” is one of the five poems of our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal forming part of A MI PATRIA / To My Motherland

In several of my journeys with special people, I have learned that inequality and discrimination will never exist, if only we look beyond the so-called “disability”, be it physical or intellectual.


Daily Prompt: Get Set, Ready, Go

January 26, 2013

Yesterday, it was like attending a rally. With Macky Calbay, a Deaf youth leader, we hopped from one building to another, in the campus of the University of the Philippines to hang tarpaulins, print posters, distribute flyers, talk to partners who have joined us to support the screening of my film, A MI PATRIA / INANG-BAYAN / TO MY MOTHERLAND scheduled next week on February 3. It is a collection of Dr. Jose Rizal’s patriotic poems written between the time when he was a teener to the day or a couple of days before he was shot to death by a firing squad on December 30, 1896 during the Spanish regime in the Philippines. My film is the first-ever interpretation in Filipino Sign Language of Rizal’s poems which he wrote more than 100 years ago. They are as follows: A Filipinas, A la Juventud Filipina, Canto de Maria Clara, A las Flores de Heidelberg and Ultimo Adios. Though primarily made with, and for the Deaf sector, the film eventually turned out to serve ordinary students of Rizal Studies. I decided to make the spoken language versions of the film in Spanish, Filipino and English to give access to Blind students.

Running around to market my own film is one of the experiences, we makers of non-commercially viable films encounter. With no known actors, and made for a marginalized sector, I nevertheless expect unexpected reactions as I always tend to choose subjects never before tackled.


Screening of A mi Patria / To my Motherland Fixed on Feb 2013 – UP Film Center

December 15, 2012

Yesterday, we met at SDEAS to discuss about the showing of my film – Rizal’s Selected Poems in Filipino Sign Language. Present were Giselle Montero of SDEAS OPD, Weng Rivera, President, Filipino Deaf Health and Crisis Center and Rey Lee, Philippine Federation of the Deaf President. Since the President of SEADC [Support and Empower Deaf Abused Children] wasn’t able to attend, I just contacted its founder Liw Caldito and asked her if she would accept our proposal to join our activity.

It was decided as per suggestion by our UP partner, the Dean of the Department of Arts and Letters of the University of the Philippines, Dr. Elena Mirano to have the showing before the full blast activity during the UP Diliman Month in February 2013. The date has been set on February 2, Saturday from 3 – 6 pm at the UP Film Center. We hope to have again with us as guests some of the members of the Rizal clan who are here in the country; also known supporters and sympathizers of House Bills for the Deaf some of which are still currently under debate. Dr. Jose Rizal is the Philippines’ National Hero — a Renaissance Man, poet, novelist, writer, teacher, scientist, sculptor, painter, traveler and a historian as well.

Produced by Miryad Visyon in collaboration with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and DLS-CSB School of Deaf and Applied Studies, versions in Filipino, English, Spanish and the first-ever interpretation in FSL more than 100 years after they were written will be shown. The films were made in connection with the Sesquicentennial Celebration of Dr. Rizal’s birth anniversary in 2011. The initiative is part of the continuing effort to advocate for the use and recognition of the Filipino Sign Language as national sign language of Deaf Filipinos so that the Department of Education would be exposed more on what FSL really is and its significance to our Deaf brothers as index to their cultural identity. Currently, DepEd authorities recognize more the importance of American Sign Language. [To see the photos during the FSL Rally, click deaf-voices-raised-using-talking-hands-and-whistles_long-live-fsl]


Rizal’s A MI PATRIA to Laguna and Rizal?

July 13, 2012

As talks are on-going re the showing of A MI PATRIA in UP Los Baños, Laguna next month, Rem Vocalan, one of A mi’s cameramen and my former student at the UP Center texted me about the film programming that he is preparing in celebration of Angono Week in Angono, Rizal. He said he wanted to include A mi… a good decision since he has contributed a lot to its form, and his town mates should be aware of that. In fact, I would be very happy to show it anywhere in the Philippines so we would definitely make it possible that screening skeds do not conflict. Besides, I should be meeting again Nemesio Miranda, Jr. a long-time friend and classmate. We haven’t met for ages!

A few days back, I also got a call for its possible showing in Bohol Province. The call came from Gina, Bert de Santos’ wife. Bert is the film’s sound engineer. Our work on the film did not end after the production. Now, we are working on their showings wherever possible. Afterall, Rizal is not only a national figure, he is an international icon, a Renaissance Man even. People should get exposed to his beautiful, and patriotic poems.

Both provinces are connected to Rizal in direct and indirect ways; Rizal’s birthplace being Laguna Province, and Angono being a part of Rizal Province. I recall that Pasay where I was born used to be under Rizal Province. I used to see PASAY, RIZAL on letters addressed to my parents and brother. Inspired by my brother Gani, I used to collect stamps…I had thousands…until our house burned down. Now, I only buy and keep essential things. Losing our house in less than an hour made me think deeply re material things. As temporal as their being, and our being, I now value those that can’t be seen or things spiritual. Afterall, we aren’t going to be judged and be remembered for what we have but for what we have done or for the mark that we have left as legacy on this earth. You can see that on the way people or the masses remember Dolphy, the comedian— whether his relatives or not. Called “The Comedy King,” he was for decades part of every household through the television and the movies, and previously, because of his being a stage actor. Encompassing all media forms Dolphy lived and died for, he became a part of our consciousness whether one liked it or not. I remember him in John n Marsha with Nida Blanca, and the end punchline of Dely Atay-Atayan: “Kaya ikaw John magsumikap ka…” He will for sure be remembered a la Chaplin, the legendary comedian.


A mi Patria: Dream Come True

June 30, 2012

In my post “LOLO JOSE” posted sometime in 201o, [click to see: lolo-jose-rizal], I wrote about dreaming of a small project on Dr. Jose Rizal. At that time [March 2010], I never quite knew what I wanted. It was simply something on Rizal, a tribute to him. What I remember was that the idea quite formed only when I thought of writing a proposal to the NCCA. I also remember bringing my notes when we went to show “Alyana” in Rosales, Pangasinan sometime in mid-2010. I jotted my concept and ideas, my aims, rationale for making the film for I was thinking of something which was not meant for me alone. It was meant to benefit the Deaf. Later, I thought of the Blind, eventually students of Rizal and Spanish Courses, and the whole world interested in Rizal’s poems.

Well, looking back, I feel quite triumphant as I managed to realize my dream — A MI PATRIA — armed only with creative and novel ideas, confidence, patience, determination, will power and above all, faith in God that I will be able to finish my film, and “overcome” all hurdles through His help. It is because whenever I start a project, I never really have a budget to finish one in reality; I only know that my idea is doable and with guts and confidence, I also know that God’s grace and help will come  in so many ways and form. When I start, it has to finish, that’s my line of thought. For A mi… “sariling sikap” helped and I know for sure, some God’s plan and design really worked to make my dream for others come true. As such, I am not giving up on making the docu that i started for the Cerebral-Palsied. [I even have a working title for it: “CP KIDS”]. I started it. Sometime in the future — I never know when — it will finish. I worked on Alyana that way. I started never knowing when to finish.

It is just unfortunate that now all my cameras, four of them, are not working anymore. Bumigay na lahat. Moreover, even my editing software has malfunctioned. Now, I am dreaming of a Mac. For the first time, I am dreaming of a Mac because virus attack on my computer really doubled-even tripled the processes for me to be able to move on in my editing of Rizal film. Besides, Final Cut Pro is widely used and since I am not familiar with the software, I take time to edit. Nevertheless, even if one is so good at using all the shortcuts and knows all the configurations, if he/she doesn’t know the proper editing principles, he/she will forever be just a cutter.


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].


Silent O and Mi Ultimo A

June 23, 2012

Currently preparing copies of Silent O and Mi Ultimo A for the Library and Archives of Gallaudet University for dispatch next week. Silent O is my second film on Deaf Filipinos; it is however, the first feature-length docu on Deaf Filipinos made by a hearing person. Mi Ultimo A was the first in the series of five films that I made for A mi Patria and was ready for screening in time for the 150th birthday of Dr. Jose Rizal, unfortunately a typhoon visited us last year. It was shown on June 22 last year. There is a difference in the intro and the first stanza of Mi Ultimo in A mi…

Good news that I heard yesterday was that health workers are obligated to study sign language “as part of the government’s effort to effectively address the needs of patients with disabilities.” Health Regional director Janairo says: “Communication is a vital component of ensuring effective delivery of health care services, and health care providers must be equipped with the basic forms of sign language for them to render an effective and quality care for patients with communication impairment.”



A MI PATRIA Event Fotos_in Celebration of the 151st Birth Anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal

June 20, 2012

We had a successful screening of A MI PATRIA yesterday June 19, 151st Birth Anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal, at SDA Theater, DLS-CSB Sch of Design Campus. Rizal descendants [Saturnina Rizal branch] Ms. Lisa Bayot and Atty. Ramoncita Reyes; as well as Ms. Maite Gallego, the descendant of Maximo Viola, the man who financed the publication of Noli graced our event. Dr. Apolonio Chua, Dr. Belen Tangco, Prof. Anna Marie Yglopaz, Dr. Beatriz Tardio-Alvarez and Mr. Fons Guardiola of Instituto Cervantes attended.

Presentation of the Production Staff Members and Deaf Performers-A MI PATRIA

A MI PATRIA Guests: [L to R] SDEAS Dean Nicky Templo-Perez, Dr. Vim Nadera, Atty. Ramoncita Reyes [Rizal descendant], Ms. Maite Gallego [Maximo Viola descendant], me, Ms. Lisa Bayot [Rizal descendant], Dr. Beatriz Tardio-Alvarez [Spanish reader], Snr Fons Guardiola of Instituto Cervantes and Mr. Tan of DLS-CSB Vice-Chancellor Bob Tang

[L] Ms Lisa Bayot and Ms. Maite Gallego of MyRizal, A MI PATRIA Film Screening Guest Speakers

Other Guest Speakers: [L] Dr. Therese Bustos [UP Sped Area / Project Consultant] and Leo Sulse [Deaf, Head CSB-SDEAS, Academic Affairs]

Before the screening

Before the Screening

Some members of the Production Staff After the Showing

Q & A / Open Forum

After the Open Forum of A MI PATRIA [Seated on the Front Row – L to R]: Giselle Montero, Febe Sevilla,Anna Marie Yglopaz, MM, Lynn Cappal [Deaf], Myra Medrana [Deaf], Joyce Dalawampu and John Baliza

My thanks to DLS_CSB SDEAS for sponsoring the event and the NCCA for its support in the production of the project! And of course to all the participants in the film, volunteers, the institutions and all those who helped us in one way or the other to make a dream come true! Above all, to Dr. Jose Rizal for his inspiration!