Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Panyaan: from Coron to Diliman...

Then into the tiny hands of many children and kids-at-heart!

I never thought I could pull this major project off, given that this drawing arm has been aching for several months after an injury.

The journey started with a team of writers, artists, and photographers from CANVAS to research and document on the oral traditions of the Tagbanua ethnic group in Coron, Palawan. The trip served as inspiration for a children's book.

The beauty of the place was its laid-back, expansive, and pristine atmosphere. I would describe it as enchanting. It's a fun place to be free and play as a kid.

Panyaan means a sacred place where people are forbidden to enter or fish. Indeed, some of the islands in Coron aren't accessible to tourists not even locals.

Pareidolia in me taking over at these precious mangroves.

And at this mysterious fairy kingdom.

My role was to document the feels of the trip through illustrations. I sketch whenever I can, quite challenging though because some days were raining hard and electricity was scarce.

Imagine your school at the foot of a majestic mountain by the sea, I would also be inspired to go to school every day.

I've quickly sketched some of the kids we've met at Banuang daan during conversations. Though Mawi wasn't so pleased with my drawing of her. She said some of their peers have to cross mountains and seas just to go to school. They couldn't remember any favorite story book, or maybe they were just too shy.

I think to recreate the spirit of the place and make it more authentic is to express it directly through found materials from the area.

Scratching some natural pigments from stones, soil, bark, plants, fruits, and flowers.

The craft of tying is one of the Tagbanuas' traditions, useful for securing house foundations, weaving fishnets, and basketry.

The project is also made possible through the partnership of USAID-ECOFISH project that "aims to improve the management of important coastal and marine resources and associated ecosystems that support local economies."

We camped for a night inside the health center of one of the three communities we visited. I loved the quietness of the place.

The trip was very inspiring. But it took me several weeks of staring at nothingness before the magic happens.

Aside from book illustrations, the enchanting stories inspired by the trip come to life through an installation. I patterned the exhibit after my MFA thesis, Anima, using some recycled materials to convey responsibility. An afterglow in the paintings and the installation also reveals another narrative. 


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