My privilege and my purpose (Day 4)

July 30th, 2019

Day 4 back in the Philippines. My first stop: the place I was born and raised, Manila.

My biggest fear upon arrival in Manila was crossing Alabang Zapote Rd. Pedestrians have no right of way here and traffic is often congested. To me, this mirrors my sheltered and privileged upbringing. In the Philippines, the gap between rich and poor is as vast as the Pacific Ocean that connects this motherland to the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tseilwaututh land I had lived on the last nine years. My family falls within the privileged demographic of Manila. Growing up, I was driven to and from school. I was driven to my dance classes. I was driven to parties. I never had to cross Alabang-Zapote Rd. Since arriving, I have been crossing this street and learning more about what it means to develop my autonomy and independence in the city I was raised in.

When I left Manila for Vancouver, i was 18, I then experienced individual independence for the first time, in a 1st world country. Now I am back in Manila, eager and anxious to learn my independence in the place I grew up. It will take bravery and humility to learn independence and autonomy here, while respecting the specific kind of collectivism in this country.

Humility. Patience. Bravery. An objective eye. An Understanding heart. Loving determination.

It will also take the ability to discern. Here where collectivism reigns in such a way that “an individual’s thoughts actions and beliefs are influenced by the thoughts beliefs and actions of their family and friends.” I will learn when to waiver in my stance and when to stay firm and true to beliefs I have that I might feel totally alone in.

As a Filipino privileged enough to have the option of living in what is now known as Canada, I feel it is my responsibility to dedicate my time, mind, heart, and creativity to joining in the movement of Cultural Resurgence. I am determined to further understand the effects of colonization (capitalism, consumerism, systems that make our people feel less than) that still exist today. I aim to grow closer with motherland via spending time with her Indigenous stewards, witnessing their daily gestures, joining her stewards in their daily tasks, and developing relationships. I hope to earn the privilege of being called her steward and create spaces and art that express the beauty and importance of valuing the Filipino culture!

I am thankful to my supportive community. I am thankful to the Canada Council for their financial support in this research that will carve out how my artistic practice can serve decolonization and cultural resurgence. It is a privilege to have the health and resources to delve into this work. It is an honour to have the space to dedicate myself to mother earth and her people in this way. I am learning, I am experiencing.

If you have thoughts and words to share with me, please don’t hesitate to email me at ph.mariaclara@gmail.com.

Tin GamboaComment