Posts Tagged ‘Silent Odyssey’


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.


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.


Watching the interview with World Federation of the Deaf Markku Jokinen


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.


May you all succeed!!!


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?


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.


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:


Quotable Quotes from Mothers of Deaf Children

March 9, 2015

Mothers of Deaf Children studying at the Philippine School for the Deaf shared their thoughts after watching Silent Odyssey, a docu on Deaf Filipinos that touches on audism, history, Deaf culture and Filipino Sign Language.

PSD Mom2

Parents of Deaf Children Should Share [teach] Sign Language to Hearing People…

PSD Mom1

Deafness is not a Hindrance to Succeed

PSD Mom3

[Sign Language should be shared]… so that Deaf Children Won’t Get Stuck in a Corner with No One to Talk With… or else, Not Understood

 Photos Grabbed from:

To you all! Happy Women’s Month!


Liza Presnillo Diagnosed with Breast Cancer_PINASLI Appeals

December 2, 2014

Liza Presnillo, Sign Language Interpreter

Mr. Alfredo Celada, President of the Philippine National Association of Sign Language Interpreters [PINASLI] is seeking medical assistance for Ms. Liza Presnillo, a dedicated Deaf rights advocate. She is the pioneer sign language interpreter for TV5 like Aksyon TV Balita and T3 Tulfo Brothers.

Please click below to read Mr. Celada’s letter:

PNASLI Appeal letter for Liza Presnillo (4)

I first met Liza, a petite and soft-spoken woman after the premiere showing of my docu Silent Odyssey way back in 2008. She approached me to ask about the possibility of bringing the film to Olongapo City as part of the celebrations of Deaf Awareness Week.

Olongapo Showing

Showing of Silent Odyssey in Olongapo City iniated by Liza Presnillo [6th from R]

For financial help deposit directly to her account:
Bank of the Philippine Islands  – BPI Monumento branch
Savings acct #4089-1192-22
Account name: Flordeliza Presnillo


Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement_Making Docus

November 19, 2014

For me, it is an achievement to hop around towns in our country to spread Autism and Deaf Awareness through my documentary films — “Alyana” [2006] and “Silent Odyssey” [2008] . From the time I made them some 8 years ago up to now, they continue to be shown in different provinces. The impact has not waned, only the statistics. The power of film cannot be contested…

More than anything, finishing them quite gave me great sense of triumph. All of them took many months to finish: Alyana took me two-and-a-half years; Silent Odyssey and “Tiga-Isla” both took me one-a-half years. The reason??? I started with only some great desire to do them, borrowed cameras especially when I made Alyana and Tiga-Isla, and help from friends. I have no full budget at hand every time I start working on my personal docus, only the belief that I would finish them, come what may — with God behind me in whatever I do, passion and determination to achieve my goals.

DASMA Zone 1A_4

Reaching out to the masses to raise autism awareness; my docu on autism was shown in a covered court at Barangay Zone 1A in Dasmariñas, Cavite last October 24, 2014. On the screen is Alyana.

PSD Before Screening

Parents of Deaf children studying at the Philippine School of the Deaf watched “Silent Odyssey”, a docu touching on Audism/Discrimination, history and Deaf Filipino culture. It advocates for Filipino Sign Language use. Showing was held last September 25, 2014

Tiga Isla Screening

Even “Tiga-Isla,” my historical film docu on prewar Corregidor, the last island that surrendered to the Japanese during World War II still had impact on the viewers though made 11 years ago in 2003. It was shown last week on November 15, 2014. The docu ends with an anti-war sentiment.




Screening of SILENT O at PSD Rescheduled Today Sept 25 and 26

September 25, 2014

The screening at the Philippine School of the Deaf of SILENT ODYSSEY — my journey into Deaf world — has been rescheduled today September 25 and tomorrow, September 26. A screening is scheduled today at 8am. Tomorrow’s sked are as follows: 8 am, 10 am and 12 noon. The documentary was postponed for today due to Typhoon Mario. Silent O was last shown in Hong Kong during the Hong Kong International Deaf Film Festival in 2013. It was also previously shown at the film festivals in New Delhi, India, Washington D.C. in U.S.A. and Alberta in Canada.


September Showings_Target Dates

September 7, 2014

Roadshow Sked of my docus:

September 20 – “Silent Odyssey”, Philippine School for the Deaf in celebration of International Deaf Day

September 28 – “Tiga-Isla” [The Islanders of Corregidor] – Aguinaldo Shrine, Kawit, Cavite, in celebration of Tourism Day

September 15[?] – “Alyana — A Study of Autism in the Philippines”, Dasmariñas, Cavite

All are fully subtitled in English.

More notes: Last Thursday, Architect Jaime Silva was interviewed for a docu on Apolinario Mabini

Additional Notes as of Sept. 18: 1] There will be additional showings Sept 19 at PSD; 2] Tiga-Isla showing in Kawit was moved to October; 3] Showing of Alyana finally sked on September 27


Moments with the World Federation of the Deaf President

April 13, 2014


You should see Brother Dennis signing in FSL!!! AMAZING!

From the time I entered the world of the Deaf in 2006 by studying Filipino Sign Language [FSL] at DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies [SDEAS] right after finishing my docu film on autism, there has been no turning back. Studying sign language was part of my immersion and research for the feature-length documentary “Silent Odyssey” [2008], a film that focuses on Deaf Filipino life and culture. “Silent O” featured Deaf Filipino achievers and then president of the World Federation of the Deaf [WFD] Markku Jokinen who clearly explained the value and importance of sign language to the Deaf. [Click above to see the trailer]

Since then, my interaction with the Deaf continued. In fact, some of them worked with me as production crew members, consultants and participants in the films that I made to help advocate for the use of FSL. I also joined Deaf seminars and has not stopped to get involved in their activities. A couple of months back, I helped initiate, rather, mediate in the holding of a Deaf seminar in Castillejos, Zambales. SDEAS in cooperation with the PWD group and the local government of Castillejos successfully held the seminar which focused on the Rights of Persons with Disability especially the Deaf. It was well attended. A Deaf camp to be held this summer is also being arranged as a follow-up activity.

Last Friday, April 11, I went back to SDEAS again, as panel member of the group that critiqued the graduating Deaf student’s thesis presented in video format. In place of the usual word “thesis” however, the word “capstone” is now being used we were informed. The difference? What I know is that a thesis project is usually done individually and takes longer time or term to do. Those who presented their capstone project largely worked as a team. A couple of students however worked solely on their projects. But no matter how one calls it — a thesis or capstone, students are suppose to present their mastery in whatever they have studied and learned from the school. A few proved to be promising because of their diligence and talent.

Anyhow, friend Giselle Montero, SDEAS Partnership and Development Director invites me to join SDEAS activities from time to time, — the latest being the “silent reception” given to the World Federation of the Deaf President Colin Allen when he came to Manila as speaker in the Deaf Leadership summit held last month. When I arrived at the venue, I wasn’t aware that no one was suppose to speak during the reception. But gestures did tell me that hearing individuals should zip their mouth. Little knowledge of FSL and VGC helped. It was in fact, just like my first day in FSL class at SDEAS, maybe better. During our first day in the sign language class, we were not allowed to speak the whole day, or for 8 hours!!! Panis talaga ang laway!

WFD Prez takes foto

World Federation of the Deaf President COLIN ALLEN takes photo of the Welcome Banner prepared for him by SDEAS

I was so happy for my Deaf friends as I witnessed how inspired they were being with the WFD President, who in turn was so impressed by our empowered Deaf leaders, and the preparations made by SDEAS for him and his group. For a few hours, I shared the joy they felt being with an esteemed and very important guest.


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On the second day of the summit, I managed to catch the last part of the program; everybody “sang,” danced and cheered; WFD President Allen himself led the group.  Very memorable and uplifting moments indeed for ALL the participants — whether Deaf or hearing.

Finale 2 Finale 5 The event held last month on March 21-22 “featured a lecture on inclusive education and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities delivered by World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) president Colin Allen on the first day. The second day was the Summit proper, with presentations on Deaf achievers, and the state of education, leadership, and employment for Deaf people, as well as the situation of Deaf women, children, and LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders)… Allen says that this can be accomplished by fulfilling the five concepts needed in inclusive education. These five concepts are: Accessibility, Universal Design, Non-discriminatory, Meeting Students’ Needs, and Reasonable Accommodation” [For the complete report of Ronald Lim on the event, please click to read his article:  “HEAR THEM OUT”.


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: 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.