Monday, October 12, 2009


Last year my history 1 professor introduced to us through a documentary film an unusual and interesting tribal story in the rough and remote mountains of Capiz in the Philippines. There is a community there, just like any isolated group of people, with their last binukots, a seventy three year old grandmother named Isiang. Binukots are the princesses chosen by their community as the most beautiful woman in the place. She will stay in a hut, unexposed to sun and any kind of labor. Whenever she gets out, she must cover with a cloth for protection from the outside elements, and she is lying on a hammock attatched to a bamboo pole carried by men or her servants. She never exposed to public, and her husband was chosen by her parents.

She wear a veil so that nobody could see her face, perhaps except to her closest servants. She had the best food in their community. The binukot is also bathed by her servants, and she never allowed to work, even going to school. All she have to do is to memorize by heart their priceless heritage, the hours-long epic song. The ten epic songs is about the history of their tribe and the lineage of the family of binukots, mixed with exaggerated stories and tales that are considered legendary. These epics are the "Tikum Kadlum," "Amburukay," "Balanakon," "Sinagnayan," "Kalampay,"and "Nagbuhis," "Pahagunoy" and "Alayaw".The song is passed only to the binukot, and her successor should also memorize the epic song, and so on.

Since binukots never allowed to do any work, they become frail and weak. During the second world war, where the Japanese occupied the country, their were the first victims since they can't run or probably even walk. Quite sadly, the binukots seemed raped. So after that the family of producing binukots stopped, until it gradually fades. They say that only seven binukots left, and they are all too old now.

The famous binukot, Elena Gardoce died recently at the age of 98. Her daughter and apparent successor Angga, forced to become a binukot to preserve their tradition and the generations-old songs. But Elena's grand daughter Emily refused to take her mother's place. Rather she wanted to become a teacher. It is quite sad to see them gradually fade, especially the remaining seven binukots who know the song by heart.

Picture of the binukot courtesy of

And also, thank you, thank you so much for your concern about the typhoon Ondoy. Well, luckily, we live in a nearby hills so the flood didn't reached us, only the heavy rain and wind, and also brownouts. Maybe I should also say sorry because you worried too much about what happen to me (especially the bunny, sorry if I worried you.). Again thank you for your concern.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Comic strips and the Flood

So far I'm working my academics to finish this semester. Among them is this seven page comics for our final plate in advanced illustration class. Each paper is in A3 size, and should be executed in pen and ink. Randomly, a classmate of mine named Piya published her work in a blog, and she called it ingay biswal or visual noise. It was a fascinating comic strip for me, and I really praise her works, especially this one. And here is some of the page of the comics.

You can see the complete story of the comics in this blog. I hope I can also post my comics when I finished it.

Last week, I had a terrible experience, that probably I considered one of the darkest days of my life. The typoon Ondoy hit our country and I was in the library at that time, unaware what was going to happen. When I came out, a terrible rain and wind greeted me, and I hardly get out of the school until I saw the road to home was filled with rushing water. I was trapped between two deadly floods along the way to home. I saw people screaming and panicking, running to a higher ground. Everything was chaotic, from the panicking people and stranded cars to the rushing waters filled with mud and dirt. I also can't stay near the rushing flood beacause I brought the laptop soI also got a higher and place to stay.
I decided to sleep on a train station, along with other stranded people until early morning, when the cars started to move again. And when the sun rises up, we passed by the flooded road now lowered filled with dirt hanging on the cable wires, things like books and tables washed out from the houses there, and cars that turned upside down. And after almost nine dark hours, I finally got home.