Puerto rising

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By Nef Luczon


Sunday, April 13, 2014

THE subtitle for this column would be “Sparing Artistic and Cultural Movement from Politics.”

Only very few have I encountered people serving as elected officials talking about progress through cultural and artistic endeavors, it’s surreal, it’s as though very misplaced considering the political landscape of our society.

But when a friend invited me over to help brainstorm and listen to the plans of Barangay Puerto’s chairperson Rustico Christian Achas about the conception of an improved event for their annual fiesta in June, you’ll notice that his statements were somehow sincere as far as he wanted the first “Layag Festival” meets its fruition.


Of course, the birth pains are present and it was not an easy walk in the park. The budget alone in preparing such festivities as there are special highlights the chairperson wanted to part of the festival. One of which is a community-based film festival which was also the reason why I was invited over to share some insights.

So we invited over one of Mindanao’s highly regarded filmmaker, writer and cultural worker, Gutierrez “Teng” Mangansakan, to give workshop to those who wish to be part of the first Layag Film Festival.

The first day started out with many curious people mostly youths, but later it decreases its number until those who are truly interested are left listening intently to the workshop. It may seem expected, film culture in grassroots communities have yet to be established and this is one example of the birth pains Barangay Puerto is experiencing in coming up with the festival.

Nevertheless, we thank Teng for coming over and shared to those very few the dynamics of filmmaking out from his experience in the industry and for being passionate about it.

Sadly though, the youths who disregarded this was not able to appreciate Teng’s calibre could cost them thousands of pesos for a standard workshop, but in Barangay Puerto, it was free for them.

And as for Achas and Barangay Puerto, it only proves that despite heavy politicking in the city, still it is possible for elected officials even in the barangay level to come up brilliant ideas for the community, especially integrating arts and cultural significance.

It is possible that they can be their own person and a leader, despite the difference of political allegiance from the current ruling political party, and it’s a good indication that barangay officials can be a person of their own standing and not hiding in the shadows of others. Indeed, it’s possible.

I personally admire people who give value to endeavors on artistry and culture, especially in this modern governance that only sees progress when there is money in the coffers and infrastructure built in the corners of the community.

For all we know, having respect to arts and culture is also having a self identity and recognition to the soul of our human nature. It may sound very complicated, but without those two we cease to be humans, even if we say we are learned and tamed.

[Email: nefluczon@gmail.com | nefoi.blogspot.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 14, 2014.


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