Pelikula at lipunan Film Festival, Manila & Baguio 2003
Arkipelago Film Festival New York 2003
Baguio Arts Festival 2003
Official Program of the Baguio Day 2003
Kerala International Film Festival, India. Official Competition 2003
Bangkok International Film Festival 2004
FILIPINO-JAPANESE COOPERATION FILM
"ABONG /Small Home"For living on the planet earth
"ABONG" means small home in some mountain tribes.
BAGUIO-BENGUET CATHOLIC BISHOP
BENGUET STATE GOVERNOR
AND 13 MUNICIPALITIES' MAYORS
Cordillera Movie "ABONG / Small Home" Production Exhibition Committee
Contact persons : Exhibition Committee Chief Producer NPO LUBONG-Baguio Inc. CRISTINA SEGNAKEN E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Director NPO SALUBONG KOJI IMAIZUMI E-mail:IMAKOJI2@aol.com
Supported by :
The Japan Foundation
National Commission for Culture and the Arts
Philippine Information Agency
Mowelfund Film Institute
The Philippines is considered as one of the biggest movie producing countries in the world. But among these movies, this is a sincere, independent cultural and an art movie. It was produced through a collaborative work between Filipinos and Japanese staff, supported by the governments on both sides. It is also a rare independent movie about the Philippine Mountain Tribes a.k.a Igorot. The story is about the life of an Igorot-- Japanese mestiso family a.k.a hapon in Baguio City, the gateway to the mountains of Northern Luzon. It contains various contemporary issues with a comedy touch, and through its unique style, a genuine figure of human is embossed calmly and poetically.
The original story was written by Koji Imaizumi, a Japanese filmmaker who has been living in Baguio since 1996. He met a co-script writer Cristina Segnaken, an indigenous pastoral worker and a theology teacher of a local university, based in Baguio, and his movie idea came true. The production is a Fil-Jap cooperation movie, "ABONG/Small Home" production exhibition committee, under NPO Lubong-Baguio Inc.
The shooting production was based in Baguio City, 6 hours North of Manila. Aside from Baguio City, significant locations were selected from the wide Cordillera Mountain Region. The casts, staff and the equipment from Manila stayed and always moved around the mountain sides that were located 2 to 12 hours from Baguio City. During the shooting, three different cultures namely, the mountain tribes, Manila and Japanese staff worked together.
The leading actor is Joel Torre, a famous movie theater actor who won the Urian best actor award 2002, the most authoritative award in the Philippines. Three talented children were discovered through auditions in Baguio. The grandma, a Japanese 2nd generation is acted by Lui Manansala and the grandpa is the late Hernando San Pedro. The Igorot villagers are Kidlat Tahimik, Nanding Josef and Connie Chua. Ama Quiambao, the former Mister Philippines Eric Salvador, and other unique supporting actors are from the theater group Peta and various fields. And also, many real villagers and first timers were given roles and showed natural and interesting acting.
The cinematographer is a big name, authority Boy Yniguez. The original thememusic was composed and played by Joey Ayala, a popular ethnic musician. The Kankanaey folk song was sang by a local singer Sendong, and the Igorot ritual dance was performed by the local villagers. The post-production was done at the Philippine Information Agency -Motion Pictures Division. It took seven years since the research and scenario hunting, and was completed in 2002. This is the first and the monumental Igorot feature movie of the Philippines.
The original languages used are English, Ilocano, Kankanaey, and Tagalog. 130 minutes. Colour standard. English and Japanese subtitle versions.
This movie "ABONG/Small Home" was designed for provinces of developing nations for them to re-discover and appreciate their provincial and/or tribal cultures through an equal image media to commercial images that come from commercial cities and advanced nations.
Large population lives in the provinces of developing nations in the world. And many are moving everyday to the cities or abroad to look for jobs, and the slums are getting bigger. On the other side, the natural environment of provinces of developing nations is coming to crisis. Cultural life styles of self-sufficiency were converted to destructive life style of exploiting the natural resources in order to make money out of their lands. Even in the remote areas, people's original cultural life styles were pushed away and they are admiring Western and urban life style. A big reason of it is the strong influence of image media. It shows commercial cultures and their consuming life style as always predominant than the simple life style of provincials and minorities. Almost all of the developing nations' dream of Western life style without appreciating their own life style. It might be the crisis of the loss of human cultures. And the nature of the earth is getting increasingly worse. People in the cities don't realize it, but if you see the provinces of the developing nations, they are getting obviously worse now. To change this tendency, we believe that we have to recall the local cultures through the image media like movie that is the most influential media to the people now.
This movie is also about the second, third and fourth generations of Japanese descendants called Hapon in the Philippines. About 100 years ago, when USA bought the Philippines from Spain in 1898, they tried to build recreation facilities called Camp John Hay in the gateway of the Cordillera mountains. Then many Japanese workers were hired together with others from the world to build a road going up from the lowlands. And after the construction, the town of Camp John Hay became a big Japanese town. The Japanese workers got marry with local women of Igorot tribes. The Japanese town had prospered, but the Japanese Imperial Army caused the war. So Hapon families of Baguio city suffered intensely being abused both by the Japanese and Filipino Americans. They escaped and hid in the mountains until 1975. Still now there are many Japanese descendants living in the Cordillera mountains. But most Japanese now don't know well about the war in the Philippines let alone Japanese descendants. This movie has another meaning for Japanese people. So now we started to show this movie in the Japanese Universities. Some young Japanese students are ashamed of not knowing modern Asian history and serious students are willing to study about it. We hope this movie will be able to give them a chance to study about the war of modern Asian history that most of Asian people except Japanese have been taught.
This project was started from 1996 to research for the script development. And 35mm print with English subtitles was completed in February 2003. The members of the two NPOs (Non Profit Organization) were all pure volunteers including the director myself. Everything was a new attempt so it was a succession of trial and error. It took me 8 years to complete this film. Last August, it was released at a theater in Baguio city. We were given the endorsements from Baguio-Benguet Catholic Bishop, mayors and schools. And the theater was almost full house for 2 weeks, but we couldn't extend another week. Aside from the theater release, we have organized mobile theater team with 16mm and have been going around schools, churches and communities with their local governments. Around 35,000 people have watched already in Benguet province so far. We are going to go around 5 provinces of Cordillera mountain side through next 3 years. In our staff room, lots of rice, sweet potatoes and various fruits are being brought from the rich people in the mountains as a fee in kind of movie for 0.38 Euro money.
Lamot a.k.a Hapon (Japanese descendant) makes his living as a passenger jeepney driver with his wife and three children in the mountain city of Baguio. Lamot tries to find a way to earn more money but their life is hard to improve in the money-oriented city. Dreaming of a richer life, wife, Isabelle who worked as a housemaid in the big house goes abroad to work leaving her kids behind. Lamot has gone to see Isabelle off at the airport leaving the kids to Leta, a relative, to bring them to Lubong Norte, their hometown in the heart of the mountain. Their two daughters Keyu (10), Bilit (8) and their son Nopnop (5) are waiting for Lamot to fetch them in Lubong Norte. In this beautiful hamlet, there is no church, no electricity, also no road. But there is a rich self-sufficient life where people live together happily in harmony with nature.
Leta invites her boyfriend, Jonath, but the elders have very sharp ears. In the hamlet, Jonath who is from an old coastal family, discovers a rich life, living with nature. He sees this to be a new way of living. Juan, who has come back from abroad having suffered a nervous breakdown, is healed by the living things of the mountains at the place of his uncle, a natural cure doctor Yogyog. The electric appliances brought by Juan were sent back to town. The grandparents comfort the motherless kids who still can't adjust to the mountain life, with rich foods from nature. But on the evening of the theatrical performance for the tree planting campaign, a letter from Lamot conveys that Isabelle was arrested for a forged passport.
When the grandparents with the kids arrive in Baguio, they find Lamot at a loss, deep in debts. The town is bustling with a parade for the Great Jubilee Year. Grandmother goes to honor her father at a communal tomb. They had been separated since World War II. Jonath's family, who was busy expanding their business, opposed his marriage. But his determination is strong. Keyu and Bilit given a job by a Moslem neighbor, start to make a little money in the town. Later, while they are selling brooms, both start to pray at various churches for the return of their mommy. But Lamot loses his house by the compulsory eviction of squatters' houses.
There is no place to go and Lamot decides to return to his mountain hamlet with the kids. There, he rediscovers his home and rich country life. River water flows, the birds tweet and fruits are borne. Thunderclouds bring rain and living things in the forest share their lives with each other.
The kids go to visit Grandfather's sick elder sister at the hamlet where there is a hot spring gushing. When they come back the kids are finally reunited with their mommy.
Lamot recognizes him and his family's place to live while he is watching the villagers' traditional dance. And he decides to leave his family and goes to Baguio to apply working in Japan for their debts.
FIL-JAP Collaboration Movie "ABONG/Small Home"
Production "ABONG/Small Home" Production Exhibition Committee Producer Koji Imaizumi-NPO SALUBONG(Japan), Cristina Segnaken-NPO Lubong-Baguio Inc(Philippines) Co-producer Philippine Information Agency, Mowelfund Film Institute Format Feature movie, Colour 16mm 35mm Standard size, English subtitle version, Japanese subtitle version Running time 130minutes
Bureau Chief Cristina Segnaken Director Koji Imaizumi Scenario Koji Imaizumi, Cristina Segnaken Coordinators Kidlat Tahimik, Nick Deocampo Committee managers Masahiro Wakabayashi, Jane Ngiwas, Judeeh Ann Nierva Committee Desk Michiru Suda, Nora Dulay Committee Staff Ruben Quilan, Roland Segnaken, Santos Bayucca, Riho Sato, Takashi Noguchi, Yasuyuki Yamamoto, Yuka Matsushima, Sugeta Kyouichi Supporters Secretariat Japan Reiko Kawakami
Joel Torre, Lui Manansala, Nando San Pedro, Banaue Miclat, Maureen Gomez, Kidlat Tahimik, Hazel Micli-ing, Nina Corpuz, Handiong Kapuno, Connie Chua, Eric Salvador. Nanding Joseph, Joey Ayala, Ermie Concepcion, Alette Dela Cruz, Ama Quiambao. Mauricio Domogan, Rene Aquitania, Kawayan de Guia, Raffy&Jocelyn Kapuno, Karlo Altomonte, Wilson Capuyan, Domingo Landicho, Carmen Del Rosairo, Lopez Nauyac, Marichu Carino, Franco Bawang, Gloria Sabado, Arnel Banasan, etc.
Cinematographer-Boy Yniguez, Gaffer-Jess Tillado, Crew-Cine Force, Sound Recordist-Dennis Empalmado, Art Designer:-Wilfredo Yeye Calderon, Assistant Director-Ada Bautista, Production Manager- Paolo Villaluna
<Post Production Staff>
Music Composer-Joey Ayala, Editor-Koji Imaizumi, Animation-Ellen Ramos, Sound Mixer-Arlen Roxas, Recordists-Jr.Abellana, Neil Getes, Song-Sendong, Laboratory Supervisor-Roy Sanchez, Color Grading-Ramir Guano, Post Production-Philippine Information Agency, Laboratory-PIA, LVN
The Japan Foundation
Philippine Information Agency
National Commission for Culture and the Arts
Supported by (supply):
TOYOTA Motors Corp.
Kodak Japan, Kodak Philippines
Narda`s, Dangwa Tranco.
Background of the Film
... it is also a string of Pacific volcanic ridges. In this section of the world lies the seven -thousand one-hundred some Islands of the Philippines, aligned near Japan and Taiwan. Every year, typhoons originating from the Philippine Gulf move westward over Luzon Island., and head north toward Taiwan and Japan.
In the beginning of the century, the American colonial government of the Philippines planned to build a summer resort in Baguio City, the entrance to the cooler, mountainous part of Luzon. However, this region also had a history of resistance, dating back to the sixteenth century when the Spanish, interested in the mineral and forest wealth, were repulsed from the region by the Igorots ("mountain people" living in the Cordilleras). The Igorots, based on an ancient culture, never did allow the Spanish to penetrate the region for a significant period.
In order to develop this area, it was absolutely necessary to build paved roads. However, construction was extremely difficult, weaving in and out of mountain valleys, and passing through steep terrain. The typhoons of the rainy season also caused great damage, and it was difficult to maintain the number of workers. Finally, in 1905, the third Director of Construction, Major Kennon, using all available material strategies and calling in laborers from around the world, opened the Benguet Highway.
During this time, many Japanese crossed over to the Philippines, and in many places built Japanese communities. After the completion of the Benguet Highway, Japanese communities were established in Baguio and its neighbor, La Trinidad. Prior to World War II, the Japanese community had over a thousand residents, and over a hundred children attended the Japanese school. The downtown area of Baguio City, on Session Road, was mostly occupied by Japanese immigrant-owned businesses.
During World War II, the Philippines became a major battleground for the American and Japanese forces. Toward the end of the war, General Yamashita lead the defeated Japanese Imperial army and Japanese civilians out of their last stronghold, Baguio, and into the Cordillera mountains. After Japan's defeat, the Japanese were relocated back to their own country, often to leave behind Philippine wives and children. Japanese who remained after the war hid their identities, and lived sheltered lives in the mountains. To this day, there are still many people of Japanese descent living in and around Baguio and the Cordillera Mountains. These people call themselves Japanese-Igorots.
This film will be on the relationship between human life and the natural world. The story will revolve around the life of a second and third generation Japanese-Filipino family.
Recently, even the aged television sets, like the one in my house, can get satellite broadcasts, and people can view documentaries and news from around the globe. Watching these broadcasts daily, I see a world full of diverse environs and peoples. However, all of these differing peoples move, now, toward a common value system. We are homogenizing.
In the world of today, there are high - budget space development programs, large-scale city and resort developments, and fast-growing consumer metropolis to remind one of Japan during the "bubble economy." Simultaneously, environment, resource, economic, and social problems continue to mount around the world. In the sense that the homogenization of values has caused us to have all of the same problems, perhaps is a good thing.
Everyone in the world wants to live a better, in greater abundance. For the sake of said abundance, all participate in some form of economic pursuit. Altering such a value system is by no means a light task. However, something terrifying lies in the unabated spread of rationalism and consumer economics, and the consequent spread and intensification of the problems that are its trailer.
Experts say that the world's petroleum resources will run dry in the next century. In this world we face the energy crisis, nuclear waste, the population explosion, food shortages, poverty and discrimination, religious and cultural conflicts, development, new diseases among plants, animals, and people, and then political and social corruption, and the decadence of our youth. Much time has passed since the first projections of environmental crisis, and other crises effecting all of humanity.
It has become difficult to speak of the possibility of a bright future. This is because the young have already seen through the transparent inconsistency of the idea of bright future through science and technology as espoused by our politicians, big businesses and the mass media. Even if all of the plans for improving the environment and resource usage work perfectly, with the human race looking toward six billion in the twenty-first century, there must be a change in human lifestyle.
Much of literature, comic books, animation, and computer games now depict the wreckage of society and human decadence as everyday, obvious modes of expression. Decadence is supposed to be humanity's last and most attractive, "final seduction." If it has become an obvious metaphor for society, there is something seriously wrong. What are the elders in society supposed to say to the young, now?
The natural environment and our resources are in a deep crisis. But, if the young generations of society do not have any hope for the future, that is an even deeper crisis.
Using the image of the end of the world made for nihilistic, romantic stories are challenging and attractive. However, there are too many despairing images, now. It is about time to see something that shows some hope for the future. And, the ones who desire this most are the hope - starved children, and decadent youth of the modern age.
Humanity will not die out so easily. No matter how our world changes, humans will likely find a way to survive. Even if, for instance, petroleum resources dry up, humanity will go on living. Even if all of our energy resources come to an end, there will still be society and people. As long as humans have the minimum (food, the Earth,the sun, the air, the water) humans continue to live on this planet.
Realizing this, it is possible to look toward tomorrow with a more positive attitude. The most important thing is the ability to live enjoyably, with hope, even without material wealth. So, how can we live without abundance? This is the new crisis of human values. What is the Earth and the natural world, and how should people live within that context? I would like to reconsider the place of humanity, living, here on this Earth. I would reconsider, that we do not give up the very notion of living well.
(translated by Michel Nagara)1998 BAGUIO
It was the last place of my travel visiting around South East Asia. I got off from the bus in Baguio City, the gateway to the Cordillera Mountain region. Then, I have never thought such a bold idea to make a movie here in a foreign country. It was drizzling. I felt something heavy, oppressive air peculiar to mountain region together with nostalgic sweetness. It is really in the heart of the mountain. The low clouds covered the pine forests and the cool wet air drifted. It was similar to the mountains of my mother country.
My journey started as an escape from Japan in `86. "Seeking myself" was an excuse on my way. I walked around the towns and the villages of Western Europe for many months. I had grown up with European movies. And I saw I was not European. I felt that their way of relating with the world is somehow different from mine. Soon, I started on a trip for Southeast Asia.
" Experiencing Asian cultures and visiting the places where Japanese imperial army had invaded and died." was the purpose of the travel. But it might be just having a vacation after being a movie assistant director in Japan.
Boiling hot. Dusty air. Overflowing American commercial cultures. During my travel in the Philippines, the Cordillera mountain region was like the other world. And it was the last stand where the Japanese soldiers and civilians retreated. There I found the unique culture of the Northern Luzon Mountain tribes a.k.a Igorot who were least influenced by the colonizers, and the not well known history of Japanese immigrants hidden in it.
Later, an incident that happened to my friend gave me a clue. The cinematic plot welled out one after another and the obscure motifs that were in my head for a long time finally found an anchor. Since 1996, I started living and working in Baguio doing research and scenario hunting for this movie. When I was looking for a co-scriptwriter, fortunately, I could meet an Igorota, a theology teacher of a local university and a pastoral worker, Ms.Cristina Segnaken who had common ideas with the themes of this project. Then the movie production became true. It has been seven very fast years.
There was no possibility to find a movie producer for an ambitious and a bold project of a first timer. Eventually, it became a pure independent movie with a loan. However, we got supports both from the Philippine and Japanese governments, companies and individuals to produce this movie. And we set sail with.
I believe that the feature movie is a socialistic product and an intellectual entertainment for the people in any sense. I also believe that the experiences of watching movies can make people's life rich and significant. But today, it's becoming very difficult to fulfill a theatrical feature movie economically. The realistic problem for us, filmmakers, is how we can form the project to be held good as a "movie" in the society.
I believe that the only way to achieve it is that the producer, the director and all those concerned with films exert more efforts to make more interesting and good movies with richer contents, without looking for a newer technology nor a convenient way. We produced this movie with such ideas, not only for the Filipinos but also for everybody who lives on this earth.
I would like to let this movie being held good as a "CINEMA" to continue to the next movies.
Film Director: KOJI IMAIZUMI
WHY ABONG/SMALL HOME?
Let me begin by saying, " I am an Igorota". Igorota literally means -from the mountains. I grew up without the amenities found in the city. We had no electricity so we only used a transistor radio as our source of information.
I was 10 years old when I first saw a movie brought by a missionary in our mountainous place with the use of a generator. Then in 1988, I went to see a movie for the first time in the theater. I was in college at that time. In those days, we were told that good students should not go to movies. Movies are evil. They can lead you astray.
I am both ignorant and innocent in the film industry. I even hated movies before. There were few movies that tried to feature Igorots but they only made fun of our identity. It has even led to greater discrimination.
When I was invited to join a small meeting about making this movie, I was not enthusiastic at all. However, I became curious as Director Koji Imaizumi patiently shared his unique ideas of what a movie should be and how a movie should be made. My negative perception of movies and the movie industry gradually changed. Then, I decided to join the script writing. After correcting many times for 9 months, the script was completed and I thought that was the end of my involvement. Some months passed and the time for pre production arrived. I had been thinking that if I would not help make a movie of the people I belong, who would do it? I decided to do it and started organizing the volunteers for the shooting. After the shooting, I realized we have spent much money and invested much effort in it. I became worried. Then, it took us a long time again and much money for the post - production to be completed. At that time, we experienced again lots of trial and errors of never ending problems. I started to think again. What can this movie do? For what and for whom is this movie? But when I saw the first answer print, I felt an inner challenge to go on. Gradually, things became clearer. My involvement with this movie is not just accidental. Then, I finally decided to work for this movie to show to the people as much as we can for the following reasons:
As a woman, I saw this movie as the proper venue to reconsider the role of women, especially the mothers. Women can be powerful instruments in reclaiming the many values that humans are losing today.
As an educator, I found a powerful tool to teach what words fail to describe and what memory fails to remember. Many schools and local villages are waiting to show this film to their students as an advocacy to the many issues that beset the youth today like environmental problems, commercialism, poverty, migrant workers, and family values.
As a Christian, I have found a perfect expression of the different aspects of relationships in the process of becoming fully human. I saw my Igorot tradition in dialogue with the Christian tradition. An ecumenical stance is also encouraged. A non- anthropocentric view is given life in the respect for nature shown in the movie.
As an Igorot, I believe this is a worthy legacy I can leave to my fellow Igorots. The movie presents an alternative way of human life. Through it, the Igorots, may find dignity and worth and live a life more fully and authentically.
As a Filipino, I believe the movie is a great means of contributing our ideas to the whole world for our good and the good of Mother Earth. I humbly believe that it will contribute positively to the life of Philippine movies.
The film has become a reality but our task has just begun. The real challenge for us is to be able to show this movie. Movies are meant to be seen. We intend to continue making movies doing the same strategy of involving the audience in deciding what kind of movies we should make. People of different disciplines should work together to balance the different biases that each of us carry. Let us help one another in making and showing good movies. Let us make movie a positive culture!Cristina Segnaken
"ABONG/Small Home" Production Exhibition Committee
Born in Bakun, Benguet Kankanaey Tribe 1988 Graduated from St. Louis University, BSE Math and Religion 2001 Graduated from Saint Louis University, Master of Arts and Religious Studies 1988-1993 High School Teacher- Philex, Tuba, Benguet 1993-1997 Pastoral Worker, Training Program Coordinator, Trainer for Social Oriented Trainings ? Northern Luzon 1995 Fil-Jap International Exchange Program Trainee, Asahi cho, Hokkaido, Japan 1997-Present Department Head of Theology?Institute of Philosophy and Religion Saint Louis University, Baguio City
1998-Present Bureau Chief-Filipino-Japanese Collaboration Movie "Small Home" Production and Exhibition Committee 2001-Present President- LUBONG ? Baguio Inc. (Non Profit, Non Stock NGO) 2000-Present Founder/President- IYAMAN Association Inc.(Fil-Jap Collaboration Program in the Cordillera and Baguio) 1999-Present Secretary ? Creative Training Research Consultancy Services for Asia Pacific (CTRC) 1996-Present Volunteer Facilitator for Asian Friendship Flame Society Organization (AFFSO- Japanese Supported Program) 1995-Present Member, Community Volunteer Missioners (CVM) 1997-Present Member, Chairperson SLU-Social Action Home Address B 55 A, Rocky Side 1, Lubas, La Trinidad, Benguet 2601 Tel. No. 0920-707-4820 E-mail address:email@example.com
1959 Born in Tokyo, Japan Graduated from Nihon University, College of Arts, Department of Cinema. Finished Script Writing Workshop of Script Writer Association. Finished UCLA film extension courses. 1982-1986 Freelance Director of commercial and advertisement video and films. 1988-1996 Worked as an assistant director of Kohei Oguri. 1996 Moved to Cordillera mountainside, Philippines
1998 "For living on the Planet Earth-Natural Farming, Fukuoka Masanobu". Documentary, Btc 61min. 2000 "HOBO sax quartet goes to Morocco" Documentary, DVCAM 93min. 2003 The first feature drama movie "ABONG / Small Home" 16/35mm 130min. 2003 "EL SUR" Documentary on a Japanese painter SHU ICHIMURA. DVCAM 80min.
Contact address : Japan: NPO SALUBONG 4 -8-5 Motoasakusa Taitoku Tokyo Japan 111-0041 Tel & Fax (81) 03-3843-0877 Philippines: NPO LUBONG Baguio Inc. B55-A, Lubas, La Trinidad, BENGUET 2601.. cellular (63) 0916-395-0351
COMMENTARY ON THE MOVIE, "ABONG/SMALL HOME"
The movie, ABONG/Small Home, is the contemporary fairy tale which tells you slowly and quietly, about tribal perfumed real Shangri-la at the heart of the mountain. One of the main stages is Baguio, the gateway City of the mountains where Lamot, called Hapon (Japanese), and the children live. Another is Lubong Norte, at the heart of the mountain where the grandparents live. The tale starts from the struggles of the city life... The mother goes abroad leaving behind her small children. In the whole, movie seeks a mother. Leta (from the same villege) takes kids to Grand ma's place after mother left. But she sends back to Philippines and being arrested due to a forged passport. Lamot and kids struggle with a big debts, and house is demolished. They have only a choice going back to country, and they find a paradise with unique people living their sustainable life. But Lamot has to try working in Japan due to repayment.
Baguio is a 1500m high - land city of Northern Luzon with many schools and various churches. Since the first trail, Kennon Road, was constructed in 1905 by an American Military, Baguio became a Japanese town with Japanese overseas workers. But the war made their happy lives scatter in the mountains. Until the 70's, they hid in the mountains from the discrimination. The grandmother is a second generation descendant born in Baguio.
Igorot is a generic name of the mountain tribes. They were not conquered during the colonial period, and preserve their cultures. But there are stories of difficulties of intermarriage with lowlanders. Today, most of them are Christianized and are still keeping original culture of ancestral and nature worship. Nowadays, this belief called animism becomes the focus of environmentalists' attention. The Japanese also have it in their cultural base. People respect plants, animals, insects, all living things and all substance as a part of eco-system. This earth is one living eco-system. All are interrelated with each other including human kind.
Today, there are diverse religions with various churches in Baguio. How they co-exist is a big issue of the world today. Probably, this nature worship can be the woof of religions on the earth. The ancients in all over the world had nature worship - animism. Now a days only human is destroying our eco-system. Our actual priority is to maintain this earth. Without our mother earth, no one with any religion can survive. Maintaning our earth is human`s duty. All should think and work first for our duty together. Nature = earth worship needs to be compulsory education of all religions. We just earnestly pray for reformation of all religions.
There are not enough jobs for graduates of colleges and emigrants in Baguio. The major products of Cordillera are vegetables and minerals. But these cause nature destruction and chemical pollution. It is also another big issue of human life. But there is no choice for the mountaineers. The lifeline is the natural environment.
There is a person advocating NATURAL FARMING for more than 60 years. He is a 1988 Magsaysay Awardee, Masanobu Fukuoka(89), introduced the clay ball as a new method of human life. He is also insisting that farmers (human) are destroying environment and natural eco-system. He says, human`s dominant tendency over nature was originated from anthropocentrism. Now a days, this idea is becoming common knowledge of ecology, and common sense of eco-philosophy in the academic world. In the movie, the villagers make clay balls and sow in the bush for self-sufficiency.
The Ifugao tribe is well - known as craftsmen. A man watering his nurseries in the movie is a leader of the craftsmen. In his real life, he is doing tree - planting projects with all his heart.
Both in the mountains and the city, there are many lonely motherless children seeking motherhood. A mother can only give her child a sense of moral and a criterion of natural balance. The one who absolutely shared your life is only your mother.
Today, those who are helping villager's life, are NGO workers, often supported by the Japanese NGOs. Leta, works for village women living their sustainable lives in the mountains.
After the rain, mushrooms come out and the living things start working in the forest. Myxomycetes is a controversial existence. It is like a plant but sometimes like an animal. And it is like dead but sometimes like reviving. It does not fit to any category of society. There are many unknown things of human on this earth.
Grand ma often says "Namaw et sa." which means," I am indebted to you." In Kankanaey, there is no exact translation for thank you. Since the primitive age, humans, have been showing gratitude for the blessings from the nature and God. This is actually a sense of balance dealing with nature. We have to recall a sense of indebtedness. This humility is needed in order to survive on this earth. It needs to be a basic idea of ecology and eco philosophy.
What is our life? The one born of a mother, grows with natural blessings and dies slowly on the earth, is human. I wanted to discover such sight through this movie.
By: Koji ImaIzumi