We are not uprooted
The murals are just physical manifestations, faces of the in-depth process that starts with a specific philosophy. The vision expands through brainstorming and dialogue. It takes up shapes and palettes through design thinking. It then goes through fieldwork - a study of empathy, foot traffic, demographics, textures, and light.
Beyond the exciting pop of colors and clamors in bridges, alleys, and walls around the city, we hope to continuously design artivism as a permeable platform that gathers people in areas that are a bit far from the center. We hope that it becomes embodied shifts even if the gestation takes time.
"When we gather, we are touched and transformed by each other. We experience a diasporic imagination: in connecting to our network-web of relationships, we feel/think/learn/relate/reimagine from other positions and places of possibility, simultaneously embodying different temporalities and movements of being. Within the cracks or elsewhere, we find ourselves lost in the forest; singing with the waterfalls; swayed by the desert; learning to thrive and heal with the planet. In kinship, in repair, in regeneration, charting trajectories towards Life." -Ecoversities
On the 12th of June, Philippine Independence Day, we partnered with Go for Greener Barotac Viejo and EarthingPH. We also invited our friends from Baryo Balangaw. Together, we held "Tapak sa Duta" rewilding, rerooting, and retelling - an eco-consciousness workshop/ barefoot camp with youth leaders in Barotac Viejo. We were grateful that Jaspare Barrido, Ph.D. (Founder and Organizer of GGBV), Babyjoy Baldelovar (MENRO Officer), and Mayor Nielo Tupas supported the initiative.
The full-day workshop included:
Raz Salvarita's Sacred Ecology ritual
EarthingPH's climate action lectures and workshops (Riza Ornos and Hermz Gacho as resource persons)
In-depth discussions and heart-centered dialogues
Social action planning and pitching
Nature poetry and debriefing by Kristine Buenavista
Music breaks and jamming with Arsen Carl Vargas
Here are some reflections from youth participants about their experiences:
Tapak sa Duta started with a soul-touching poem read by our speaker, Kristine Buenavista. It was Mary Oliver's "The Summer Day." I cannot forget that one significant line, "Tell me, what do you intend to do with your one wild and precious life?" It seemed like I got punched with a single yet heavy question out of nowhere. Why am I here? What is my purpose? I got drowned in my thoughts for a while. There I realized how great it is to have a clear goal. What is my goal? What should I do with this life I have? That line hit me in a way that I could not fathom the answer. -Johlinon Briol
I realized how powerful the force connected me to Mother Nature: shivers and goosebumps covered my whole body throughout the camp. During that day, I grasped the beauty of everything around me, even the softest echo of running water, the chirping of birds, and the breathing of the person beside me. I was able to appreciate the wonderful place extensively. The essence of this workshop is to have that eco-consciousness within every one of us. -Salve Cartojano
I went to many camping sites, training sessions, and workshops. I could perhaps say that Barefoot Camp is indeed one of the events that I will never forget since we all had a great time participating while learning. I was enthralled by how our speakers instilled the knowledge that we sought in our minds. I also noticed that these good friends from various organizations banded together as one for the primary purpose of the event. When we began the ritual led by Raz Salvarita, which is parallel to meditation, I felt some lightness in my heart — one that is especially relaxing, and it was like a vision. I felt a form of tranquility that I never imagined possible just by being in that place. I can experience the warmth within myself. And I adore everything about it. We can develop and spread inner peace in the world by how people behave and how serene they are throughout that ritual. It felt nostalgic, and for more than half a decade, I felt it again. I'm inside a crystal ball, floating like Aladdin riding on his magic carpet in the middle of a paradise, and the cool breeze is touching my back. It is not my first time experiencing this type of ritual; it is reminiscing the old days, envisioning the future, and concentrating on the present. At that precise moment, while we were performing the ritual, I could sense a feeling of calmness in each of us. It's incredible; it's electrifying. I appreciated how the first speaker continued to keep the connection going by asking us to share what kind of element we can be if given a chance. When I heard multiple viewpoints from people I met for the first time, I felt contented and fulfilled. "Breathe first, mind last, heart and feelings in between." Nine words, 45 letters, that kept lighting up and settling in my head at the start and end of our workshop. - Mareysol Dadivas
The insights from the camp made me believe that in any second of our life, we are capable of changing and accepting changes. And no matter how small we are compared to the giants of our universe, we were born with a purpose, we matter, and we hold the power to live the future we're dreaming of. They say nature is out of reach, that it's only found in the mountains and the seas. Nature is where life grows; we just need to learn how to see. It isn't defined by the boundaries of its jungles but by its presence in the value of a day. Nature carries the hope for life to stay. When biodiversity is lost, so is the health of the whole human race. When nature is compromised with no rectification, it is progress for greed, not for our breed. When we choose to act passively with our values blinded by apathy, it isn't only nature that is shattered, but the hope of those who fight to breathe. It's time to stop treating nature as a factory of our needs but as a home in which each life on earth is rooted. If we fail, what's left for our future generations? -Jam Monares
More photos by Arsen Carl Vargas
These days, the negative reputation of the youth being radicalized is taking up so much space.
Radical comes from the Latin root word, "radic" which means of, relating to, or proceeding from a root. Have we ever thought of radical youth as emancipation from our common perceptions of revolution? That being young and radical is an act of digging deep into the roots and allowing this discovery to lead to new frontiers - in healing, regeneration, and transformation.