Top 5 Personal Picks at Vargas Museum’s “Filipino Myths and Legends”

Top 5 Personal Picks at Vargas Museum’s “Filipino Myths and Legends”


As a kid, you might have been warned by your grandparents about growing a thousand eyes after hearing the story of Pina, the lazy girl from which the pineapple fruit originated, or maybe, got scared of actually being eaten by aswangs on the streets.

Our Philippine history has a rich collection of myths and legends, which certainly reveal a lot about our culture; and most of them, we might not have even heard of yet.

The “Filipino Myths and Legends” Exhibit at the Vargas Museum in University of the Philippines Diliman helped me re-discover and discover more about our roots. I was thrilled with the unique art interpretations that would make anyone question his or her existing beliefs.

The exhibit was part of the Looking for Juan Project of Center for Art, New Ventures, and Sustainable Development (CANVAS) which showcased sixty-five artworks by Filipino artists. Because I enjoyed it a lot, I want to share my top 5 picks with you here, in no particular order:

Top 5 Personal Picks at Vargas Museum’s “Filipino Myths and Legends”

Top Five Personal Picks at “Filipino Myths and Legends”

1. “Finding Juan’s Self” by Brendale Tadeo (polymer and wood sculpture)

Tadeo used the manananggal as a metaphor of Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). According to him, “A series of self-transformations takes place.” An OFW who leaves his country brings a portion of himself to a foreign nation, but leaves another part of himself back in his homeland. But once he gets back to his motherland, he becomes full once again, being reunited with his loved ones.

I also want to give my own interpretation for this artwork. Since I also believe in the saying “the author is dead.” We are all like a manananggal. Well, we do not literally eat fetuses, but we are incomplete. We continuously look for those lost pieces that we think will complete us, but we sometimes fail in the end. Whether we fail or not, though, the journey of finding one’s self is already a very fulfilling one in itself.

Top Five Personal Picks at “Filipino Myths and Legends”

2. “Alamat ng Mito: Ang mga kwento ng ating panahon” By Kuleng Manzanero (acrylic on canvas)

 

Lola Basyang was one of my favorite storytellers when I was a kid. Storytelling becomes more exciting whenever parents make weird hand gestures and sounds. Very nostalgic. As the artist puts it, “stories always contain a great amount of creative imagination.”

Top Five Personal Picks at “Filipino Myths and Legends”

3. “Mishaps in the Forest” by Jim Orencio (oil on canvas)

 

The forest is such a magical place for me. Forest stories often hide dark creatures or magical enchanted beings, like tikbalang (half-human, half-horse) and fairies.  It can be dangerous and safe at the same time. Forests have a unique way of allowing you to create your own fantasies if even just for a moment.

Top Five Personal Picks at “Filipino Myths and Legends”

4. “Mito ng Pagkalalaki” by Rommel Jonson (oil on acrylic on canvas)

 

Agree? Because everything’s a social construct, and you can always take a step forward from the status quo. Although society has created parameters to measure the masculinity of a man, such as having gym-built muscles and being stiff, we should not be contained by them.

 Top Five Personal Picks at “Filipino Myths and Legends”

5. “Kapre sa Siyudad” by Jhom Centeno (intermedia)

 

“The kapre is a mythological creature in the Philippines – a brown, human-like, hairy, bearded male. They are seen smoking and sitting under the trees, like beggars in the city.”

I love how he connected myth to social reality, and made a point. Because sometimes, people are too busy creating their own myths without realizing the realities of life.

  

Top Five Personal Picks at “Filipino Myths and Legends”

 

If you have been to the “Filipino Myths and Legends” Exhibit, why don’t you share your top 5 picks with us?

If you missed the chance, though, yet still want to learn more about our culture, why don’t you check out the “National Museum” in Manila for only Php50 for students and Php150 for adults? Learning doesn’t always have to be expensive. :)

 

Top 5 Personal Picks at Vargas Museum’s “Filipino Myths and Legends”






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