The Celebration of Cordillera Day 2010: Advance the Politics of Change!

27 04 2010

Baguio City – April 25:  According to the official statement of the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance, there was approximately 5,000 delegates from different provinces in the Cordillera, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Region, NCR, Central Luzon and Mindanao, and indigenous peoples advocates from Taiwan, Cambodia, Thailand, Canada, France, Germany and Australia participated in the successful celebration of the 26th Cordillera Day celebration held last Sunday, April 25, at Melvin Jones, Burnham Park, Baguio City.

Cordi Day 2010

Organized by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance,the celebration carried the theme Advance the Politics of Change. It formally opened with an Ibaloi indigenous ritual and prayer led by Ibaloi elders.

The Cordillera Administration Region (CAR) is located in the Northern Luzon Mountains of the Philippines inhabited by the rich diverse cultures of the Igorots. The Cordillera Day was first celebrated as the triumphs of the Indigenous People  (IP) over big corporate business such as the Chico Dam.  The Day was used to commemorate the Martyrs of the IP struggles.  Today, the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA) leads the struggle for the recognition and respect of the IP in the Cordillera as well as the rest of the Philippines and IPs of the world.

“The success of the 26th Cordillera Day celebration demonstrates the Cordillera indigenous peoples’ continuing efforts to advance the politics of change through the defense of the ancestral land, resources and human rights amidst heightening state repression, development aggression and red tagging of people’s organizations and leaders especially at this time of electoral campaigns,” said CPA Secretary General Abigail Anongos.

The Inquirer newspaper criticized Satur Ocampo for donning native attire to grab votes however, CPA refuted the comments:

As guest of honor on this celebration, senatorial candidates Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza donned the Igorot G-String (wanes) and Benguet tapis (devit) as requested by the CPA and elders from the different Cordillera tribes. “We are very honored that they responded to our request. Their track record on good governance and credibility and concrete support to Cordillera communities as political activists and Bayan Muna and Gabriela Womens Party Representatives deserves such recognition,” CPA officers quoted.

The Celebration was used to “advance the politics of change”.  Indigenous People in the Cordillera are sick of being considered second class citizens often harassed by corporate mining companies and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.  To advance the Peoples’ agenda, each province in the Cordillera endorsed the Katribu Partylist, the Makabayan Coalition, Loren Legarda and Manny Villar along with local candidates who adhere and agree to also push for changes and not just pay lip service.

Black Prop attempts to scare and intimidate the Cordilleran People but their resistance is beyond the damages that Black Prop can achieve! Their hatred in the current status quo allows them to rise out of the current rotten system an attempt to start a bright new future

Though Black Propaganda have been used as an attempt to stifle the IP will to fight back, the CPA along with Katribu Partylists along with the Makabayan Coalition continues to lead the advancing changes in Election 2010 and beyond.

KATRIBU Partylist nominees Beverly Longid (1st nominee and a Kankanaey-Bontok), Nelson Mallari (3rd nominee and an Aeta) and Virgilio Aniceto (5th nominee and an Ibaloi) challenged the delegates to act against the heightened ‘black propaganda’ against Katribu and other progressive partylists and the threats received by candidates and community leaders.

In her keynote speech for the celebration, Longid stressed that, “Indigenous peoples should vote that which truly represents them in the upcoming elections.” Longid also stated that the party sought for the disqualification of A-IPRA Partylist First Nominee and NCIP Chairperson Atty. Eugenio Insigne because his being a government employee seeking Congressional seat is against the partylist law.

5000 Parading in support of Liza Maza and Satur Ocampo for Senator and the Katribu PartylistDespite heavy rains, the 5,000-strong delegation enthusiastically marched along Session, Magsaysay and Harrison in their indigenous attires and continued at Melvin Jones for the sharing of the Cordillera provinces on the people’s agenda for the upcoming elections and the Cordillera Day Declaration for Politics of Change and the May 2010 Elections Baguio City mayoralty candidate Atty. Joe Molintas and candidates for councilor Art Allad-iw, Pinky Rondez, Richard Carino and Rob Ocampo joined Makabayan Coalition and Katribu in a Meeting de Avance. Read the rest of this entry »


Commemorating the Declaration of Martial Law

20 09 2009





Commemorating Martial Law

Commemorating Martial Law

September 21th 2009

San Francisco State University
ROOM: Burk Hall 252

“Remembering the Victims, Honoring the Martyrs” with Rex Fernandez, Human Rights Lawyer and legal consultant for Melissa Roxas

Join us for a night of songs, stories and movies to remember the victims and never forget the era of Martial Law that led many families to flee the Philippines and the many martyrs who sacrificed their lives so others can have a better future.

Sponsored by Bayan USA (AnakBayan East Bay, Babae San Francisco, Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines-SF, and The League of Filipino Students)

People Power Tour

14 04 2009

People Power Tour

Filipino American emcee Geologic (Blue Scholars), and fellow organizer/emcee Kiwi, embarked on the Stop the Killings tour (2007), to address the human rights violations and raise funds for the families of victims in the Philippines. Now in 2009, with a new partnership, the two emcees have formed the People Power tour with a mission to bring awareness to the plight of the Filipino people through critical, class-conscious music. Both Kiwi and Geo are active Filipino community organizers in their respective cities, drawing connections between the struggles of Filipinos in the US and their compatriots back home. They share the view that art is not only a reflection of the world, but a tool, which can help shape a just future society. From the rapidly gentrifying street-corner to the Ivory Tower of academia, Kiwi and Geo bring forth a message of resistance and self-determination in the tradition of pro-people Hip Hop music.



Two of the West Coast’s premier Filipino emcees, Geologic aka Prometheus Brown of Seattle’s Blue Scholars and San Francisco’s Kiwi (by way of Los Angeles), formerly of Native Guns are teaming up again to rally youth and students nationwide to raise awareness about the worsening social, political and economic conditions in the Philippines under president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s (GMA) current administration. Read the rest of this entry »

Diwang Pinay: Still We Rise

11 04 2009

THE 7th ANNUAL PINAY SHOWCASE:  DIWANG PINAY…. still we rise ….    


Diwang Pinay

Diwang Pinay

Sunday, May 3, 2009



4:30pm-5:00pm – Doors open for the Art Gallery
5:00pm- Show starts!
Location: Bayanihan Community Center 
1010 Mission St San Francisco, CA 94103

$7-$10 sliding scale
$5 for youth 10-17 years old w. a student ID
FREE for children 10 yrs and under


For those who have never been to a Diwang Pinay.  Let me tell you, these Pinays are mad talented, they organize their own show, which by the way is family friendly, and also recognize the strengths, triumphs, and struggles that Pinays here in the United States as well as the Philippines faces.  

The women of Babae – Gabriela USA, League of Filipino Students – SFSU, and the Diwata women of the Filipino Community Center are hosting and performing in commemoration of the Filipino women and her fighting spirit.

My friend, Kristen Sajonas will also perform that night.  I remember when I first heard her spoken word poem on the “LBFM” or also known as “Little Brown Fucking Machine”.  The LBFM is what U.S. military personal would call pinays that they have sex with and/or rape.  

This hits home to many Filipinos because almost every single family has had either a domestic violence situation, and/or rape situation.  Because of the feudal culture through the passing down of catholic traditions in Philippine society, it is frowned upon if a pinay would come forth with accusing the perpetrator of rape.  This is to keep the family name “clean” and to pretend that everything is alright when in fact these issues should be addressed or the same cycle of violence will occur over and over.  It is the women who suffer from these attacks in a heterosexist male dominated society.  As men, we need to stand beside our women and support them in any way we can.  


Kristen Sajonas

Kristen Sajonas

When Kristen was done performing her piece, tears of sadness pierced my eyes.  What can I do as a privilege male who does not have to worry about getting raped at night while walking down the streets, or harassed at work because of looking too “pretty”?  What can I seriously do?


One, you can always educate others around you, both men and women need to know the issues.  Two, provide resources and support to anyone who goes through domestic or sexual violence.  My personal favorite is to make sure you befriend strong organizers who will be down to protect your rights and listen to your problems.  One such woman organization is Babae – Gabriela USA.

POMO 09′ Featuring Diskarte Namin and Princess Bustos

10 04 2009




Founded in 1985, Kularts is the premier presenter of contemporary and tribal Pilipino arts in the United States. We are a not-for-profit arts organization based in San Francisco, California. Our mission is to inform and expand the understanding of American Pilipino culture and preserve the spirit and integrity of ancient Pilipino art forms. We produce innovative artistic works, foster mentorship among emerging and established artists, facilitate local and international collaborations; design and implement educational outreach programs for elementary through college age students; lead cultural tours to the Philippines, and more.

Kularts presents POMO, (Post-Modern American Pilipino Performance Project) – a curated annual concert of shared programming highlighting the American experiences of the Pilipino diaspora.

My friend Princess Bustos will be performing with Jen Soriano.  I’ve seen Princess sing many times from Flip da Skript, an open mic, hosted by the League of Filipino Students at San Francisco State University.  She is one of the reasons why I am attempting more and more kultural work.  I would only attempt singing in the shower before learning from Princess and other kasamas.  

Also performing that day is Diskarte Namin.  Straight from the underground arises Diskarte Namin (“our strategy” in Tagalog) – kultural guerillas using music as a weapon to reclaim Filipino pride, and to declare that even after 400 years of colonization – we are still here.   San Francisco born but bred on resistance music from all over the world, Diskarte mixes rock guitar with latin and hip hop beats, reggae and funk basslines,  folk and soul vocals, and indigenous influences from the Philippines.  Since 2000, Diskarte Namin has rocked shows from the Bay to LA to Seattle to the mountains of the Northern Philippines, devoting most of their performances to community events, social justice fundraisers, and political rallies.   

My favorite Diskarte Namin song is the River Song.  An excerpt from the River Song illustrates the inspiration by the resistance and struggle of the women, guerillas, and people of the Cordillera in the Philippines standing their ground against privatizing the ancestral land, 

“there’s a struggle in those hills / you can feel its power still / the women take down private property / in the act of the peoples’ will”

Although I will not be able to check out this show, I will be at Cordillera Day 09 for the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA).

Come support!
Sat, Apr 18, 8pm
Sun, Apr 19, 6pm
 Community Center
1010 Mission St
@ 6th St. SF CA 94103 

Princess Bustos performing at "Sulong Gabriela" in LA

Princess Bustos performing at "Sulong Gabriela" in LA

Diskarte Namin

Diskarte Namin