Friday, 4 July 2014

Ahay Kalisud ( Oh, How Sad). Dedicated to a livelihood program in Pilar, Capiz, Philippines

I am once more back in the community helping the poorest of the poor. 

The town of Pilar in Capiz, Philippines, has been badly devastated by Yolanda, the world's strongest  typhoon. Until today, I could not personally accept that there are still survivors who are unable to receive as much help as we all could do. 

The SAVE Program through the Capiz State University initiated this livelihood project by re-purposing used candles as lights which now I am able to help them with design and product development so we can market them better. The program involves skills development, advocacy, volunteerism and empowerment. It is led by a simple frail young woman Jennifer Alba Perez Benliro. With the Department of Trade and Industry Capiz Province, we have embarked on this project, since for the past 10 years, our tandem collaboration has been consistent and productive.

I share with you all the sadness how much our rural communities still struggle. Sadness for me means I need to help more. When I am hurt of what I see, I want to give more. 

I titled this blog "Ahay Kalisud" ( How Sad), an Ilonggo folk song said to have originated from Capiz ---- a peaceful and verdant province since the Spaniards discovered it during the 16th century. 

I dedicate this song to the young children who will benefit on this endeavour. It hard for them. Below is the link of the music. Any Ilonggo will shed tears to listen to its piercing lyrics.
 ( NOTE: Raymond Fuentes, a designer as well, once wrote about Ahay Kalisud as such : This beautiful but sad song. Jovita Fuentes and Manuel Roxas, both from Capiz were childhood sweethearts. Instead he chose to marry Trinidad de Leon from Bulacan. Rumors was that it politically advantageous for him. Heartbroken she composed "Ahay Kalisud" The song which is a portrait of a tragic love affair teaching us a lesson about life and love, fate and choices. Jovita wept all her life until that tragic day when Roxas died of a heat attack. She never married.)


 Used candles mean light and livelihood to those who have so little in life but have so much innovation...and hope.
Chalks are not only for blackboards at school but to light the life of folks many of whom were in darkness after the super typhoon Yolanda....and still is, today.

Sustainable material like soil brings reality to use resilient materials for poor Filipinos to appreciate that lean resources will never hinder creativity

 Used tin cans means new life to them as they will be re-purposed as candle containers which symbolize our embrace for sustainable products
 The chalk into wick, the used candle waxes filling the used sardine cans...ready to light the world of those who are deserted by conveniences of modern life.
 Lighting them is like unfolding the meaning of the saying that a Filipino becomes creative because he has so much less ( ang Filipino naging creative dahil sa kawalan).

The twinkling eyes see light as their forbearance to endure. In darkness, the will see. In making things from nothing they will understand that  life may be brighter. In embracing what some others may appreciate dearly is sharing their message to us that we are more fortune to just switch on our electric lights. 

 The line of light is a joy of life for poor people whose life is as simple as what they have created yet as touching a humanity.

Video of the skill training. 

Ahay! Kalisud, kalisud sing binayaan (Oh, what sorrow to be deserted)
Adlao gabi firme ta ikaw  gui natangisan (Night and day I lament for you)
Ahay! Inday nga walay sing kapalaran (Oh, my hopeless fate)
Walay guid walay guid
Sarang ko kalipayan (Nevermore, no more joy)

Ay cielo azul nga sa diin ka na bala (Oh, blue sky,  I wonder where you are)
Baluigui  tabangi ang nabilango sa gugma (Please embrace this prisoner of sorrow)
Mayo pa ang mamatay kun halus mamatay (It is better to die, much better to die)
Agud di ako makadumdum (So that I shall not experience)
Nga ako walay kalipay. (This unbearable sorrow)

To hear this song, link is  I suggest to just listen to the music while you read the lyrics for better appreciation of the beautiful melody and message of this song. 

Please let me know if you can donate your used candles /waxes and some tin cans. May be some throw away ribbons or fabrics we can decorate our tin cans with. 


> Helping the rural women of Ubay, Bohol with their carabao handmade soap making at the Philippine Carabao Center in their community. 

 > Mentoring young design students at the high tech FABLAB ( Fabrication Laboratory in Bohol) with rural SMEs on making artsanal products to sell for livelihood--a pioneering project in the Philippines.

> Re-inventing Project Zero at Sooc Arevalo with an American volunteer in my wings.