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Volume I, Issue II - March 2002

"Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?  Kung hindi tayo, sino ba?" (If not now, when?  If not us, who?)
"Ang hindi lumingon sa kanyang pinanggalingan, Hindi makararating sa paroroonan."  The Philippine Study Group (PSG) is a network of students, scholars, faculty, staff and community members whose purpose is to provide venues and opportunities of intellectual interchange related to the Philippines.  This newsletter is created to highlight "initiatives" taken towards the re-invigoration and re-establishment of Philippine Studies in Michigan.

Continue to scroll down this page to view all stories from the March 02 issue of Philippine Studies Initiatives.

Second Annual Bailey Forum Fosters Ethnic Diversity,  and Understanding

    Webster United Church of Christ (Webster Twp, MI) recently invited members of the Filipino Community in the Ann Arbor area to participate in a youth diversity forum on Feb. 2, 2002.  While last year's forum focused on "Abolishing Violence:  Creating Peace," this year's forum attempted to emphasize racial diversity, understanding and appreciation.  In a letter describing the forum, coordinator Rev.  Laverne Gill stated,  "Unlike the "Melting Pot" concept of years past, America's vision has been broadened to recognize that each culture, race, ethnicity and religion brings a distinct ingredient into the American cultural pot creating a Stew that is...enriched by the many flavors, colors and spices of each group.  The U.S. is an American Stew.  Many of us, however, know very little about the make up of the ingredients of the Stew.  We believe that The 2002 Second Annual Bailey Youth Forum-"American Stew-Who are U.S.?"-will help young people deepen their respect  for and knowledge of one another."
    Lesly Burgamy presented a workshop on Filipino culture, which used Filipino dresses, shirts, and accessories to portray the many "flavors" Filipinos bring to the American Stew.  "Its important that those who attend understand that the Philippines is actually a 'Stew' already.  From the Muslims, to the Spaniards, to the Americans - Filipinos have embraced parts of each cultural influence, turned it around, and presented the world with a unique Filipino culture.  I think Americans should pay more attention to the art of adaptation and find an example in Filipino culture."  
    Lesly started off the workshop using the native dresses and fabrics of the Ifugao (from the personal collections of the Burgamy and Timacdog families in Canton, MI) to show the cultural diversity existing in the Ifugao Mountain Province of the Luzon Island.  With the help of maps and pictures (generated through a partnership with the Filipino American Student Assoc. at UofM), Lesly was able to explain the Philippines geographic location on an important historical trading route.  The Philippine Study Group members loaned costumes and accessories from southern Philippines, as well as a Barong Tagalog.  Ninfa and Bob Springer were co-facilitators at the workshop, lending several ternos, barong Tagalogs, and patadyongs, which highlighted the Spanish and American historical influences.
Inclement weather caused power outages earlier in the week and made for a smaller attendance at the Forum than last year.  However, those that did attend received a special treat from the many cultures represented.  The Forum was broadcast by one radio station and will air on UofM-Flint's public access station in a couple of months.
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Lesly Burgamy used Filipino shirts, fabrics, and dresses to illustrate the diversity of Filipino culture.

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Ternos, Barong Tagalogs, Kimonas, and Ifugao tapis were donated by Filipino-American community members of the Ann Arbor area.

MSU Hosts a Successful Conference for the Midwest Association of Filipino Americans

    The Annual MAFA Conference was hosted this past weekend at Michigan State University. The weekend allowed Filipino Americans from across the midwest the opportunity to meet and learn more about their Filipino Heritage, history, and issues facing the Filipino community.  Representatives came from University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Marquette University, Kettering University, Chicago, and even a contingent from California (author apologizes for any university or group left out.)  The conference theme TUNAY or Real, was a reminder  "to keep it real."  The conference activities were designed to raise the awareness, educate, as well as give everyone a chance to make connections and share stories a fun filled weekend.  
    The conference opened Friday night with performance artist, Alison De la Cruz's one woman show, Sungka.  De la Cruz's show which has traveled all over the United states for the last year and half covered a range of topics from date rape, to coming out, growing up Filipina in America and her hilarious rendition of the infamous SPAM song. The following day De la Cruz headlined two workshops one on LBGT issues called "What's AGAY?" and another on performance called "What's being Ma'Arte Anyways."  University of Michigan faculty member Emily Lawsin also lead a wonderful workshop "Respect the Pinay" which covered the history of Pinays in America.  Her workshop traced the arrival of Filipinos all the way back to 1587 in Morro Bay California.  Lawsin, who is a trustee of the Filipino American National Historical Society, as well as a performance poet, teaches courses in American Culture, Asian American Studies and Women's Studies at U.M. and served as advisor to several APA student groups. The conference also held workshops on a diverse range of topics such as, hip hop, empowerment in the Filipino community, growing up Filipino in the Midwest, art, sexuality, hate crimes and a Hapa issues forums which covered issues of growing up in bicultural family.  
    After the stimulating discussions in the workshops, the conference participants had the chance to relax in fellowship at a semi-formal dinner hosted on a boat near MSU.  Ismael Ileto, brother of slain postal worker Joseph Illeto gave the keynote address.  Ileto, whose brother was killed by the same man who shot up a Jewish child care center and who inspired hate crime legislation.  Ileto's stirring speech gave an update to how his family is dealing with the loss of his brother, his criticism of American politicians lack of respect for the Filipino Community and showed his pride and surprise to find so many Filipinos in the midwest interested in learning about their heritage.  He then echoed the conference organizer's call for the participants to take what they learned at the conference and bring it back to their home communities.  On the last day of the conference, the participants were treated to a variety show put together by the host Campus.  MAFA 2002 Co-coordinators, Romeo Salvani, Jason Barrios, PASS president Ryan Abenes and the dozens of volunteers at MSU should be congratulated on a conference well done .  In all it was a wonderful experience for the participants. Next year's hosts for MAFA 2003 will by Ohio State University.

Briefly Speaking

PSGSA Visits Frank Murphy Museum
PSGSA recently initiated their partnership in the Frank Murphy Museum Project.  PSGSA
representatives took a trip to Harbor Beach and began creating video and photograph coverage of the museum.  
  PSGSA's main goal was to capture parts of the museum on film, in order to "bring the museum" to participants who aren't able to travel to Harbor Beach.  As mentioned in last month's article, there is quite a bit of research on artifacts, papers, photographs, and textiles required before the field project can begin this summer.  For information on how you can contribute to the Frank Murphy Museum project, e-mail Annalissa Herbert - babaylan@umich.edu.
Crizel Commemoration Week
On Sunday, February 17, the Ann Arbor
Chapter of FACES (Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solutions) held a letter writing session to raise awareness about the toxic contamination left on the former U.S. bases in the Philippines.  Letters were written to various Congressional members and to the children in the Philippines.  Throughout the afternoon, a short 4-minute video that told the story of Crizel, the toxic warrior, was replayed.  The following evening, Feb. 18, the documentary, "Toxic Sunset," was shown to a group University of Michigan undergrads and graduate students.  Cynthia Marasigan, UofM graduate student and FACES member, shared her personal experience with Crizel.  The evening ended with the sharing of stories about ten other children whose lives and health are affected by the toxic legacy in the Philippines.  For further information, contact Gala King galateak@umich.edu, Cynthia Marasigan cmarasig@umich.edu, or Annalissa Herbert babaylan@umich.edu.  To learn more about FACES, visit the national FACES website - http://www.facessolutions.org/  

Web Design Project Begins for PSGSA
PSGSA has begun the creation of a website on the UofM network, to be designed by community volunteer, January Fortes.  The website will allow PSGSA to communicate Philippine Studies Initiatives over the internet, and will allow the organization to attract a wider audience.  Among the features planned for the site is an interactive, exploratory survey for community members, faculty, and students.  The survey will allow university affiliates to assess the needs, desires, and possibilities for a Philippine Studies Program at the University of Michigan.

UofMGuest Lecturer will focus on Media and Censorship in the Philippines

    On March 22, 2002, Nicanor Tiongson, currently a Fulbright Scholar at Univ. of California, Berkeley, will give  a brown-bag lecture at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies entitled "Cinema and the Catholic Church: Censorship and Morality in Contemporary Philippine Society." Among Dr. Tiongson's writings are Kasaysayan ng komedya sa Pilipinas, 1766-1982, Philippine theatre : history and anthology, and Dulaan: An Essay on the Spanish Influence on Philippine Theater.
    Everyone is invited to come to the free Brown Bag lecture at the International Institute/School of Social Work (room 1644) at 12:00 noon on March 22, 2002. This is the only Brown bag lecture to be given by a Filipino scholar at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor this term. Dr. Tiongson is, at present, also a member of the faculty of the College of Communication Arts at the University of the Philippines.
    Dr. Tiongson is a knowledgeable person on cultural developments in the Philippines in the last twenty years. He was responsible for the seven artistic documentaries produced by the Cultural Center of the Philippines on architecture, dance, music, theater, literature, films and movies.  
    During his short term as Director of the Movie and Theater Censorship and Review Board (MTCRB), Dr. Tiongson played an important role in the controversy surrounding a film popularly known as Live Shows.  The film, by Jose Javier Reyes focused on performing women and men who engaged in sex acts onstage at some night clubs in the Manila area; the film won an award at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival.  According to an article in the March 22, 2001 issue of the Philippine Inquirer, Reyes believed the film "illustrated the depressing lives of people forced through poverty to engage in the sex trade."  Live Shows was banned after Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jaime Sin denounced the film and labeled it  as immoral and  in violation of the campaign for moral reform.  Dr. Tiongson resigned shortly after President Macapagal Arroyo banned "Live Shows," and noted his belief that the President had been pressured by the Catholic Church.  80% of the Philippines' 75 million  citizens are Roman Catholics.  According to the Philippine Inquirer, "Lay groups associated with the Catholic Church have been instrumental in the banning here of a number of acclaimed Hollywood films in the past, including Schindler's List and The Piano...Government however was forced to overturn the ban on both films, which featured nudity, after public clamor."  
    Dr. Tiongson may also be invited as a guest lecturer for Asian Studies 492 on March 14th.  Asian Studies 492 is a seminar of UofM and guest lecturers discussing topics on the Philippines.  Dr. Tiongson's lecture is tentatively scheduled for March 14th, from 7-10pm in the International Institute, room 2609.  For more information please e-mail philippinestudygroup1@hotmail.com.


March 5th, 7th, and 12th - Asian Studies 492, Lecture by Fenella Cannell on Christianity in the Philippines.  7-10pm, room 2609, Internationl Institute located inside the School of Social Work Building.

March 14th - Asian Studies 492, possible lecture by Dr. Nicanor Tiongson (see article on page 4).  7-10pm, room 2609, International Institute, located inside the School of Social Work Building.  

March 21st - Baybayin/Alibata Writing Workshop (Ancient Filipino Syllabary), led by Adelwisa Agas Weller (UofM Faculty).  7-9pm, Michigan League, UofM campus.  Refreshements served.

March 22nd - Brown Bag Lecture, by Dr. Nicanor Tiongson (see article on page 4). 12:00pm, room 1644, International Institute, School of Social Work Building.

March 24th - Board Meeting - Philippine American Cultural Center of Michigan, 17356 Northland Park Ct., Southfield, MI.

March 26th - Asian Studies 492, Lecture by Gavin Shatkin on "Devolution in the Philippines: Local Politics and Civil Society in Metro Manila."  7-10pm, room 2609, International Institute, located inside the School of Social Work Building.  

April 1st - Registration deadline for Filipino American National Historical Society's 9th Annual National Conference Visions and Voyages: Images of Filipinos in America" on July 24-28, 2002 at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles CA. Registration to attend the conference is due April 1st, 2002. For more information about FANHS see the website at: http://www.fanhsla.org or e-mail

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