REACHING OUT AND CLINGING TO THE “Moon Hanging Low Over My Window”
By: Faye Sta Maria-Abalos
The moon as a symbol of the divine power of the woman to change, pass and return to season (University of Dayton, 2021) speaks of the capacity and will of the woman to control one’s life and her ability to determine her path for growth.
Last Saturday, October 15, 2022, Babeth Lolarga’s “Moon Hanging Low Over My Window and Other Poems,” was launched at Mt. Cloud Bookstore. The poet, the woman, Babeth Lolarga writes with her newfound voice as J. Likha Yatco and explains in her Foreword (2022, xv) that in this book, she becomes the “second or third person…to resurrect her in yet another form” In her other woman form, Babeth and/or J. Likha Yatco reclaims re-birth as another woman who possesses the power to examine herself. Detaching the self from culturally constructed notions of the female, J. Likha Yatco, (also Babeth), explores the power of the woman’s voice, carefully and carelessly weaving words together, melding and detaching imaginings to produce ever-binary poems that speak of her, me, us, and other women. Luisa Igloria provides the introduction for this collection of poems and writes (xvii), “the poet is J. Likha Yatco (Babeth Lolarga), it is the moon, that ‘orb/of small light/ that revitalizes/ [the] soul’—… the poet (bound by earth, bound by appetite, bound by time) comes to understand that her work is the work of the almost impossible.”
Browsing through the poems in the “Moon Hanging Low Over My Window,” I am reminded of Luce Irigaray and Elizabeth Grosz’ notes that the understanding of the woman identity, one should “re-imagine female” as a starting point by reading the “process and act of becoming” and (re)becoming (Irigaray, 1975 and 1985; Grosz, 2008). It is in the corporeal performance, and the intersection of the use of time and space where we can separate the reading of the woman body from the mundane, phallocentric lens. Reading Yatco/Lolarga’s poems became an unfolding experience of the acknowledgment of duality, taking comfort in the ambivalent and the continuous becoming and unbecoming.
“The Moon Hanging Low Over My Window” was not merely a moon that I should see through my window but a moon that I should reach and cling to. It is that moon that I should embrace—reminding me that I too possess the power to control my life, determine my direction and see through my own growth.
Last Saturday, October 15, 2022, I performed two poems written by J. Likha Yatco/Babeth Lolarga in her book launch. Last Saturday, it was not only an opportunity to perform after many years. It was also a process of unpeeling my course.
I lost a part of myself several years ago. It is that part of myself where my soul was still, when my body used to move freely in spaces, when time allowed me to be subsumed in poetry. It is that self when gazing at the moon, subsumed in its light, permitted me to whisper my thoughts, and celebrate the pleasure of taking in new words and let them play in my head. For several years now, my body, time and space are committed to others. I see my body separating itself from my mind and soul. My body, time and space has been performing mundane, pragmatic work and tasks to be rendered as relevant and useful.
Last Saturday, October 15, 2022, as I read the poems of J. Likha Yatco/Babeth Lolarga, I felt my body attaching to my mind and soul as I moved and owned the performance space. For around 10 minutes, I was my exuberant, woman self again.
I asked Babeth Lolarga/J. Likha Yatco to sign her book. She wrote, “To Faye, you made me cry! That’s how poetry should be read.” I wanted to weep, and tell her that she/Babeth/J.Likha made me cry and allowed my tears to wash off my gendered, mechanicalized, wearied body. She/Babeth/J. Likha enabled me to see the “moon hanging low,” within my reach. I lost my moon several years ago, this time, I am clinging to it.
Faye lost a part of herself several years ago. She lost a part of her mind and soul. She allowed others to commit her time and space. On October 15, 2022, Faye found the moon hanging low, within her reach. She touched it and allowed her tears to wash off her mechanicalized, wearied body. Faye is clinging to the moon… claiming it as her own… gaining the power to renew herself to find her body, mind and soul once again.
“Moon Hanging Low Over My Window and Other Poems” by Babeth Lolarga, with Introduction by Luisa Igloria is published by the University of Santo Tomans Publishing House. It is available at Mt. Cloud Bookstore. Get a copy now and reach out for the moon.
ML@50 in Kordi: “Lagip ti Amianan” webinar launched to commemorate Martial Law
By: Benjamin Meamo III & Ruel Caricativo
Poster design by: Ides Macapanpan.
Cracks in the “solid North” do exist.
Last September 14, various academic and cultural organizations in Baguio City organized a webinar that brought back the narratives of struggle against the Marcos Sr. dictatorship in Baguio and the Cordilleras.
In commemoration of the 50th year anniversary of the imposition of Martial Law, the discussion entitled “Lagip ti Amianan: Campaign for Truth against Historical Distortion and Disinformation in the Cordillera” kicked-off events in Baguio City. Speakers from the academe and community newspapers were joined by more than 160 attendees which included students and campus journalists, teachers, cultural workers, media practitioners, and concerned citizens.
The webinar was organized by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Cordillera, College Editors Guild of the Philippines-Cordillera, Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordilyera, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Baguio-Benguet, Open Space Productions, and 1Sambayan-Baguio-Cordillera.
According to Prof. Priscilla Supnet-Macansantos, retired professor of mathematics from the University of the Philippines Baguio, a few months before martial law was declared, she remembered how student organizations Kabataang Makabayan (KM) and Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK) were very active in relief work after “the great flood in 1972.” It was KM and SDK’s political activities though, along with other political organizations that time, that would be used as a pretext by Marcos Sr. to declare military rule. But for Prof. Supnet-Macansantos, “regardless of how active the student groups were at that time, talagang plano niya [Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Sr.] to perpetuate himself in power.”
Prof. Supnet-Macansantos was arrested in 1972 shortly after the martial law declaration. She was already a writer for Outcrop, the student newspaper of the then University of the Philippines College Baguio (UPCB). Her first arrest happened a few weeks after leaving manifestos against Marcos Sr.’s martial law at the Baguio Cathedral. She and other students were illegally detained for five (5) months.
Upon their release, she was allowed to re-enroll at the UPCB. “But before the semester ended, kinuha na naman kami, kinulong na naman kami. Why? Maybe because I joined a meeting or two”, recalled Prof. Supnet-Macansantos. They were locked up in Camp Olivas in Tarlac. They were released seven months later.
Despite the military rule, censorship, and countless arrests, by 1976, students were able to revive Outcrop.
Baguio press for freedom
Immediately after Martial Law was declared, media institutions and newspapers that were deemed critical of the administration were closed. But in Baguio City, alternative channels emerged.
“Makikita mo dito ‘yung pagpasok ng mga… campus papers becoming community papers”, according to Frank Cimatu of Baguio Chronicle. Aside from Outcrop, other papers he noted were The Gold Ore of then Baguio Colleges Foundation (now University of the Cordilleras) along with local newspapers such as Sagada Postboy and the Baguio Midland Courier.
Baguio journalists braved the threats of military repression during this time, most of them were also correspondents for newspapers and magazines that challenged the authoritarian regime such as WHO Forum, Mr. & Ms., and the Manila Times.
For instance, in 1983, Isidoro Chammag, correspondent for Bulletin Today and Agence France-Presse, went on a fact-finding mission led by lawyers from the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) to probe military atrocities in Tubo, Abra. He was the first to break the story – “Terror reigns in Abra, pregnant woman and 2 others killed” – amidst the military-enforced silence. But the following day, he was slapped with a PhP5 million libel suit by Gen. Fidel Ramos, Philippine Constabulary (PC) Chief and Director-General of then Integrated National Police (INP), and Gen. Victorino Azada, PC-INP Regional Commander.
Baguio journalists rallied behind him and launched the “Piso para kay Chammag” campaign. “Up to now ginagamit pa rin ang kaso [niya] to show that libel is a way of harassing the media,” said Cimatu.
According to Sherwin de Vera of Northern Dispatch, “mayroong history [ang Baguio media] ng… pagpapatuloy na mailathala iyong balita sa gitna ng pandarahas, sa gitna ng panggigipit.” He noted that Baguio media remain united for press freedom or the freedom of expression in the face of attacks and challenges faced by community or alternative press at present.
Fight against historical distortion and disinformation
“Despite the atmosphere of repression, cultural ife thrived not only in UP Baguio but elsewhere. Theater… our issues in Outcrop contained quite a lot of literary contributions… dealing with important issues at that time”, recounted Prof. Supnet-Macansantos during the time of martial law. But these issues and narratives are still under threat.
During the webinar, Prof. Francis Gealogo of Ateneo de Manila University also stressed the dangers of historical distortion and disinformation prevalent in different social media platforms. “Ang mga oligarkiya at mga dinastiya ang mga pangunahing nagsasakatuparan nito dahil sila naman ang may rekurso,” he added. He argued that the roots of disinformation can even be traced to the authoritarian regime of Marcos Sr.
“The mythmaking started very far back,” noted Prof. Supnet-Macansantos. That is why her challenge to the participants is: “we must learn from history.”
Zoom photos by: Jomay Del Rosario of UPB Outcrop
UP Baguio breezed through AUN assessment
The University of the Philippines Baguio undergraduate degree programs: BS Mathematics and BS Management Economics breezed through the quality assessment conducted by the ASEAN University Network (AUN) program-level assessment from August 29 to September 2, 2022.
UP Baguio is currently waiting for the results from the AUN.
Watch the highlights of the assessment by clicking this link or copying this to your browser: https://fb.watch/gmdaJNRYSp/
Bureau of Fire Protection-Baguio trainors with UP Baguio employees.
UP Baguio employees undergo fire protection training
September 17-18, 2022, UP Baguio employees participated in a training to secure Fire Safety Evaluation and Inspection Clearances from the Bureau of Fire Protection-Baguio City. FO3 Kipler M. Balagsa, FO3 Mark Roldan C. Kigis, FO2 Garrieth L. Dorian and SFO2 Lester Jude B. Page-et of Baguio City Fire Station conducted the training at the UP Baguio campus.
CHED-DARE TO visited UP Baguio projects
The Commission on Higher Education-Discovery-Applied Research and Extension for Trans/Interdisciplinary Opportunities (CHED-DARE TO) monitoring team led by Senior Research Grants Officer, Ms. Jamie Joyce Sese visited UP Baguio. With two funded projects from CHED-DARE TO: 1) Popularizing Access to Biodiversity Information Data and Conservation Efforts (PABIDACO) led by Dr. Zenaida G. Baonan, and the 2) “Harnessing the Potential of plant resources in the Cordillera for Drug Discovery, and Promoting the use of indigenous wild plants, and underutilized and neglected food crops as alternative food source and livelihood of local communities” under Dr. Dora D. Balangcod, Ms. Sese said that these projects have delivered all the required outputs.
From Left, Dr. Dora Balangcod, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension
Prof. Rachel Pitlongay, CHED monitoring team members, Chancellor Corazon L. Abansi,
CHED Senior Research Grants Officer Jamie Joyce Sese, CHED monitoring team
members, and extreme left, Dr. Baonan.
Check other ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS
at the UP Baguio Facebook page
UP Vanguard donated an ROTC Office
October 6, 2022, the UP Vanguard Alumni- Amianan Chapter donated an ROTC Office. The new ROTC Office is now located near the Basketball Court A. The UP Vanguard Office is named after Atty. Edgar Lara, UP Vanguard Alumni-Amianan Chapter.
Check the UP Baguio Facebook Page for more photos: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialUPB/posts/pfbid0AMV1vq9saoNfyo9EpwNWueb1FTCNoVdCfjJm23rSt77KydX42ndQPCGv9FSFuQaBl.
Chancellor Corazon L. Abansi with the UP Vanguard Alumni-Amianan Chapter.