Posts Tagged ‘Silent Steps’


Photos from UPSEC: Screening of PULE, August 25

August 29, 2017

Photos courtesy of UP Special Education Council on the showing of PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon, UP Film Center, UP Diliman, Q.C., a benefit film screening of a historical documentary about one of our great heroes, Apolinario Mabini sponsored by Gawad Metronian Educational Foundation, Inc. and UPSEC, August 25, 2017 in connection with the Celebration of the National Heroes Day, History Month and National Language Month

Here are some of the reactions to the film:

“Dahil sa “Pule,” mas nauunawaan ko na ang “big picture” ng pakikipaglaban ng ating mga bayani para sa kalayaan at kasarinlan. Napagtagni-tagni nito ang dati’y magkakahiwalay at kinakabisado lamang na kaalaman ukol sa ating kasaysayan.” — Neil Penullar, De La Salle University

“… an innovative and engaging way to present Mabini’s biography and the country’s history.” — Cecille Sicam, Autism Society Philippines Board of Trustees

“It was an eye-opening experience for me. There is no such thing as “dis-ability.’ I realized how big your advocacy is and how it truly makes a difference in the lives of the Deaf and the PWDs.” –— [emailed to me]


The SILENT STEPS started the program with a Prayer and interpretation of the Philippine National Anthem in Filipino Sign Language

[R to L]: Guest Speaker Myra Medrana [Deaf], GMEFI President Evelyne Dominguez, Historian Dr. Bernardita Churchill and Mirana Medina, PULE filmmaker


PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon in Celebration of the 2017 National Heroes Day

August 11, 2017

Apolinario Mabini was appointed as Chief Adviser of the First President of the Philippine Republic, Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898. He also became the First Secretary of Foreign Affairs [1899], and could have been the First Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines were not for the law at the turn of the century which stated that physically disabled persons could not be elected to the post. Despite that, he earned the monikers “Brains of the Revolution / Utak ng Rebolusyon” and “The Sublime Paralytic / Dakilang Lumpo.” He was most adamant against American sovereignty over the Philippines leading to his exile to Guam in 1901. My documentary PULE tells who he was, and what he actually did for the country. The film, intended for both hearing and Deaf hopes to inspire the audience by sparking patriotism in their hearts, and love of country above Self as exemplified by Mabini.

Mabini_Pule_for Posting2Gawad Metronian Educational Foundation, Inc. [GMEFI] is sponsoring its showing at the UP Film Center in UP Diliman on August 25, 2017 to help raise funds for the Scholarship Programs of GMEFI. It features the SILENT STEPS, DLS-CSB SDEAS’ All Deaf Performing Group and the first film scoring work of THRISTAN MENDOZA, a Person with Autism. The film is trilingual — narrated in Filipino, subtitled in English and interpreted in Filipino Sign Language.


I was Part of the Story

July 2, 2017

Last Friday, I was privileged to be invited by Giselle Montero of DLS-CSB SDEAS to  “Be Part of the Story” – a night celebrating De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde’s partnership and of culture-building as they aimed to collaborate and expand their story with the invitees. The event started at 6:00 and supposed to have ended at 9:00 PM on June 30, 2017 at the Axon in Green Sun, Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City. . But many came in late because of the traffic caused by the heavy rain downpour.

As such members of the Silent Steps performed without their lead choreographer Myra Medrana. They reached the venue right after the performance. I could not recognize anyone from the group I have always worked with because most of the members are new students of SDEAS. I got to meet several people from different disciplines and companies; also met old acquaintances, even a classmate in the Filipino Sign Language class 10 years ago. I got to be introduced and had a good chat with Film Director Mark Meilly about El Presidente. He teaches at CSB I was told.

De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde envisions building a just and humane society by fostering the spirit of inclusion and innovation. The College’s strategic direction is to initiate and sustain value-laden connections and partnerships with organizations that share in the advocacy of finding innovative and inclusive solutions to societal concerns and issues. They also acknowledge their role in society to address sustainable developmental goals through inclusive strategies, provision of experiential learning, interdisciplinary collaboration, cross-sector partnerships, and the creation of social impact that can be scaled for greater reach.

The special event hopes to continue to seize the opportunities and embrace the challenges of transforming our society into a better and more responsive community of change agents.



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!!!


Best SDEAS Deaf Cultural Show that I’ve Seen

November 21, 2016

“Of signs and wonders: Jesus made the lame walk and the blind see. At the 22nd Deaf Festival, in His Name and for His Glory he made the Deaf dance! And that is truly a miracle…” – Susan Abad, a relative I tagged along with to watch the show texted this to me, a day after witnessing for the first time the culmination of the 22nd Deaf Festival held at the ARG, CSB Theater in Taft Avenue, Manila.


From Facebook – photo from CJ Patriarca of the Silent Steps

Last Saturday, November 19, I managed to find time to attend the 22nd SDEAS Deaf Cultural Show. I met old friends — both Deaf and Hearing. Many of them were members of the Silent Steps, the All-Deaf playgroup with whom I have worked with in several of my Deaf films, and the current faculty staff of the DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies [SDEAS]. I have seen Deaf theater presentation for the first time a decade ago in 2017 when I first enrolled as FSL student of SDEAS’ Filipino Sign Language Learning Program [FSLLP], a module intended for hearing persons.


Me [3rd from right] in between hearing interpreter Febe Sevilla [4th from R] and Susan Abad [in dark glasses]. The rest are Deaf Faculty Staff of SDEAS. Jenn Balan on the extreme right and Anna Arce [2nd from left]

This year is, I would consider the best Deaf Fest presentation amongst several other cultural shows that I’ve seen in the past. All the participating performers were highly charged, energetic and were visibly enjoying their performances. The only thing they should consider next time when presenting is the pace with which they change from one performance to the other. There should be no long breaks in between presentation. In film, it is called transition. There should be fast but smooth transition flow.


The Silent Steps with Myra Medrana, their choreographer on the extreme left [with eyeglasses]. Photo from her fb post. I recognize Mary Rose Gozon and Marvin [extreme right]

Myra Medrana’s choreography was great! The integration of film and theater which is something that I’ve done in several of my films for the Deaf was quite impressive, and really wonderful. A memorable performance that really touches the heart, and must have made some Deaf in the audience cried was the one that tackles Deaf issues on discrimination.

Even the video presentations highly leveled up in quality and form. Congratulations to SDEAS for the continuous support that they are providing their students!



Launching of the Search for Apolinario Mabini Awardees 2017

July 11, 2016

The Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled [PFRD] in coordination with Quezon City Persons with Disabilities Office Affairs [PDAO] is launching the 29th Apolinario Mabini Awards on July 22, 2016, Friday at 1 p.m. It will be held at Bulwagan Amoranto, Quezon City Hall.

APO 2016

The Apolinario Mabini Awards seek to recognize disabled individuals who have made significant contributions in their particular specialization. It honors groups, professionals and organizations that have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and have rendered outstanding services to the disabled sector.

Conducted yearly until 1974 since its inception, a decision was later made to hold the search as a biennial activity in order to provide more time for submission of nominations, as well as better, more in-depth evaluation of the nominee’s qualifications and achievements.

Last year, I was lucky to have been chosen as 2015 Media Advocate of the Year in recognition of my two advocacy film documentaries that tell of the plight of Deaf people, the discrimination they experience, including their fight for their linguistic human rights. In fact, all the works that I do, not only for them but for the PWD sector in general are all meant to empower them by showing their capacities and talents, and by letting our citizens know their condition or what ails them so that understanding and welcoming them would follow. I believe in the power of the visual medium. And strongly believing in an inclusive society, one of my two last works, which incidentally center on Apolinario Mabini himself, include members of SDEAS Deaf playgroup [Silent Steps], a Blind person [Arch. Jaime Silva, director of the 29th A. Mabini Awards], a physically disabled man [PWD leader Abner Manlapaz] whose disability turned out to be same as Mabini’s based on the latest research medical findings, and a twice-exceptional Person with Autism, [Thristan Mendoza], who scored a film for the first time in his life. He graduated from the U.P. College of Music.


Finally! The Pizza Treat…

February 24, 2016

Simple treat, and simple joy of being together with the Silent Steps, and the other participants of Pule production…unfortunately without Giselle Montero whom we missed a lot also during the launching of Pule , our docu on Apolinario Mabini. Organized by Joyce Dalawampu, and Leah Osido, the members of the Silent Steps group was finally gathered by Myra Medrana, Deaf choreographer. Thank you so much for your cooperation and participation!

With Silent Steps

Members of the Silent Steps who interpreted Apolinario Mabini’s  “El Verdadero Decalogo / The True Decalogue” [1898]; With Myra Medrana [Deaf Chreographer], Joyce Dalawampu, Leah Osido, Eugene Sordilla, hearing interpreters Bayani Generoso, Febe Sevilla, Susan Abad and me.

With Silent Steps4


“The Sublime Paralytic” in the 6th HKIDFF?

January 21, 2016

It’s dawn.

Oh well! After uploading my rough cut, “IndepenDeaf” to DDW and PFD, I checked the website of the 6th Hong Kong International Deaf Film Festival to see the status of the festival. I have not received any official notification from the group whether the docu I made with DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies is in or not. So, I was surprised to see IN the HKIDFF trailer a clip from our film with Bayani Generoso, one of the film’s interpreter. Ours is the first among those featured in the trailer below, and must be the only one dealing with a historical subject. The film is a bio-pic about Apolinario Mabini, first prime minister and first Secretary of Foreign Affairs. It was made to showcase the talents of Deaf Filipino performers, the Silent Steps by interpreting for the first time in FSL Apolinario Mabini’s “El Verdadero Decalogo” [1898]. It also features the first film score of a music genius with Autism, Thristan Mendoza. Finally, it is meant to promote the use and recognition of Filipino Sign Language [FSL] in the Philippines. Whether it is in or out is a hanging question. There has to be an official notification; just an assumption could be wrong.

“PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon / Brains of the Revolution”, the Filipino-narrated version of The Sublime Paralytic which focuses on Mabini’s Role in the Revolution, and his fight against American sovereignty is slated to be shown next month.


PWD’s Outnumbered NON-PWD’s in the Making of “THE SUBLIME PARALYTIC”

August 18, 2015


Deaf talents highlighted in “The Sublime Paralytic.” It features the Silent Steps, the ALL-Deaf Performing Group of DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies [SDEAS] with their interpretation of Mabini’s El Verdadero Decalogo / The True Decalogue / Ang Tunay na 10 Utos in Filipino Sign Language, choreographed by Myra Medrana [Deaf], music scored by Thristan Mendoza [Person with Autism]

More than 50 people made possible the documentary on Apolinario Mabini [1864-1903], the crippled Philippine statesman who defied American sovereignty over the Philippines at the turn of the century. Entitled THE SUBLIME PARALYTIC, it is our tribute to Mabini who is considered the icon of Persons with Disability [PWD] in the Philippines.

Notably, PWDs outnumbered non-PWDs in the film’s production as nearly 30 PWDs joined either as participants or members of the production crew. The featured artists largely consisted of Deaf students of SDEAS [SILENT STEPS]; one of the interviewees is Blind [Architect Jaime Silva]; the Mabini reader had Guillain-Barre Syndrome [Abner Manlapaz]; and the music scorer is a person with autism [Thristan “Tumtum” Mendoza].

If there is one thing this film wants to prove is the fact that Pwedeng-Pwede ang mga PWDs. They can do what we can do. Sabi nga ng mga Bingi, “Deaf Can!”

APOLINARIO MABINI: THE SUBLIME PARALYTIC Premieres on August 27, 2015 at DLS-CSB ARG Theater, 5th floor, 4 pm. For inquiries and ticket reservations, click: