Friday, May 27, 2011

Filipino Fridays 2011.3

today it's a bit of a filipino history lesson .... both historical and contemporary.  the best way to do this is by introducing you to a few people who stick out in my mind as representative of the filipino way and have made a mark on the world.  the information that i have gathered is nothing special .... it's all readily information through a search on the internet.  there are also many more individuals that you could choose from .... but these are the ones that stuck out to me .... as my own quintessential look at significant people in the filipino culture (not to mention Cory Aquino ... book at right, she deserves a whole blog post to herself!)

Fernando Amorsolo (1892 - 1972).  he is a filipino artist most well known for his amazing landscapes and portrayals of women.  his paintings portrayed much of the filipino lifestyle, and did it as a bit of a counterpoint to the sense of American colonial rule.  he had a strong desire to see the people (especially women) portrayed as real, genuine filipina's rather than the ideals that were and are seen in magazines.

here are a few samples of his work .... Wikipedia has a great wealth of information about his life and works.

entitled: Antipolo

entitled: Fruit Gatherer

entitled: filipino woman

Jose Rizal (1861 - 1896).  if you don't know who he is .... well, you should.  he is a national hero in the Philippines, and was the leader in the fight for independence from Spain.  he is most notably known for his non-violent perspective, martyrdom and his deep abiding belief in the nobility of character of the filipino people (here! here!).  if and when you go to Manila you must take a trip to Intramuros, ending up with Ft. Santiago, where there is a shrine to Jose Rizal.  you can view the cell that he spent his last days in and read a heap of information about is his life ... it is really moving.

below is what is reckoned to be Jose Rizal's final work, written the night before he was martyred ... a poem entitled, "Ultimo Adios" or translated in english as "My Last Farewell".  i found myself very moved by this poem .... thinking about his love of his home and the people of the filipines and all that he was giving up because of that love.

My Last Farewell

Farewell, dear Fatherland, clime of the sun caress'd
Pearl of the Orient seas, our Eden lost!,
Gladly now I go to give thee this faded life's best,
And were it brighter, fresher, or more blest
Still would I give it thee, nor count the cost.

On the field of battle, 'mid the frenzy of fight, 
Others have given their lives, without doubt or heed;
The place matters not-cypress or laurel or lily white,
Scaffold or open plain, combat or martyrdom's plight,
Tis ever the same, to serve our home and country's need.

I die just when I see the dawn break, 
Through the gloom of night, to herald the day;
And if color is lacking my blood thou shalt take,
Pour'd out at need for thy dear sake
To dye with its crimson the waking ray.
My dreams, when life first opened to me,
My dreams, when the hopes of youth beat high,
Were to see thy lov'd face, O gem of the Orient sea
From gloom and grief, from care and sorrow free;
No blush on thy brow, no tear in thine eye.

Dream of my life, my living and burning desire, 
All hail ! cries the soul that is now to take flight;
All hail ! And sweet it is for thee to expire ;
To die for thy sake, that thou mayst aspire;
And sleep in thy bosom eternity's long night.

If over my grave some day thou seest grow, 
In the grassy sod, a humble flower,
Draw it to thy lips and kiss my soul so,
While I may feel on my brow in the cold tomb below
The touch of thy tenderness, thy breath's warm power.

Let the moon beam over me soft and serene, 
Let the dawn shed over me its radiant flashes,
Let the wind with sad lament over me keen ;
And if on my cross a bird should be seen,
Let it trill there its hymn of peace to my ashes.
Let the sun draw the vapors up to the sky,
And heavenward in purity bear my tardy protest
Let some kind soul o 'er my untimely fate sigh,
And in the still evening a prayer be lifted on high
From thee, 0 my country, that in God I may rest.

Pray for all those that hapless have died,
For all who have suffered the unmeasur'd pain;
For our mothers that bitterly their woes have cried,
For widows and orphans, for captives by torture tried
And then for thyself that redemption thou mayst gain.

And when the dark night wraps the graveyard around
With only the dead in their vigil to see
Break not my repose or the mystery profound
And perchance thou mayst hear a sad hymn resound
'T is I, O my country, raising a song unto thee.

And even my grave is remembered no more
Unmark'd by never a cross nor a stone
Let the plow sweep through it, the spade turn it o'er
That my ashes may carpet earthly floor,
Before into nothingness at last they are blown.

Then will oblivion bring to me no care 
As over thy vales and plains I sweep;
Throbbing and cleansed in thy space and air
With color and light, with song and lament I fare,
Ever repeating the faith that I keep.

My Fatherland ador'd, that sadness to my sorrow lends
Beloved Filipinas, hear now my last good-by!

For I go where no slave before the oppressor bends,
Where faith can never kill, and God reigns e'er on high!

Farewell to you all, from my soul torn away,
Friends of my childhood in the home dispossessed !
Give thanks that I rest from the wearisome day !
Farewell to thee, too, sweet friend that lightened my way;
Beloved creatures all, farewell! In death there is rest !

Translated by Charles Derbyshire

the Jose Rizal Web Site has a wealth of information.  i like this one simply because it is really personal In Honour of and, well you just can't go wrong with Wikipedia!

and finally ....someone that every young filipina wants to be (well, at least mine does).  star of Miss Siagon and  Le Miserable and the voice of Jasmine from Aladdin and Mulan.  (ok, ok .... i admit that my daughter also loves the fact that she shares her name and her pronunciation with her!)

Lea Salonga.  she hit the big time with Miss Saigon and she is a star.  she has a voice that speaks for itself ... it needs no explanation except to say .... WOW!  but i suppose the thing that i really like is that she is a young filipina, who takes a stand for girls and women and is a huge activist in world hunger issues.  what an example to set to our daughters!

so here are two examples of her work.  i have been madly trying to find something of her early stuff (before she was the star of Miss Saigon -- age 17!).  but i can't.  so try this on ..... enjoy!

and this is from her international debut in Miss Saigon .... at the tender age of 18! oh my!

she has a lot of stuff on youtube .... check out her wedding video .... it is so sweet!

and you can look at heaps of other stuff about her activism and career at her web site.  she rocks!

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