New Publication: "Indigenous Earth Wisdom"

Indigenous Earth WisdomPRESS RELEASE


Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary (MES) is proud to announce the release of a book entitled "Indigenous Earth Wisdom". This book is the product of several years of research and documentation on the cosmologies of the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera.

Stories from indigenous elders, shamans, men, women and youth are collected in this volume. From these stories can be gleaned a wisdom which has been passed down through generations, on how to live simply in harmony with nature, with the "unseen", and in community.

A key message is that the indigenous wisdom of the Cordillera peoples are valuable and hold special relevance for contemporary times. The book challenges the popular misconception that indigenous knowledge is backward and inferior. The book is a repository of examples of deep knowledge and wise practices on sustainable living, badly needed in this age of climate change and ecological crisis.

The book was written by a team of writers-researchers, Judy Cariño- Fangloy, Merci Dulawan, Vicky Macay, Maria Elena Regpala, and Lucia Ruiz. The public is invited to the book launch on March 7, 4pm, at the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary (MES). The book is now available at MES and in selected bookstores.




iNima, 2

iNima, 2 PosterSanctuary Gallery


iNima,an exhibition of linocut prints by Leonard Aguinaldo opens at the Sanctuary Gallery, Maryknoll, Baguio City on March 7, 2015 at 4 p.m.

The prints in this exhibition form part of a continuing series of works that show Aguinaldo’s impressions of montane life on the Northern Philippine Cordillera and of the various aspects of highland cultures. This set of prints which began 15 years ago, he says,“is an ongoing documentation of the life ways of highland peoples juxtaposed with the changes that technology and development have ushered in.”Thus, his exhibition title conveys both the link and contrast between “hi-tech” and “low-tech” (iNima, literally, made by hand in Iloko language; iNima is a play on words and formed like the ubiquitous “iPad”)

The rich imagery in Aguinaldo’s works reflect the “intensity and coherence of his work.”His use of indigenous iconography is nuanced by a profound sensitivity to the importance of honoring the integrity of cultures. His concepts and imagery are informed by solid research and he says are the “inevitable result of my own understanding and imagination – drawn from books, archival photographs, other printed materials and conversations with people from which these series of works have come to life.”

Aguinaldo has received several awards and citations in the past 15 years. These include a Thirteeen Artists Award from the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 2003, grand prize ASEAN Art Award in Bangkok, 2004, Top Five Jurors’ Choice in the 2003Philippines/ASEAN Art Awards, and Special Selection, Sea Art Festival, 2002 Busan Biennale, Korea. He has exhibited in Baguio, Manila, and in cities in countries like Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, France, Australia, and the USA.

The exhibition runs until May 24, 2015. The Sanctuary Gallery is located at the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary, Campo Sioco, Baguio City. For inquiries, write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 0915-655-5745 * (Erlyn Ruth Alcantara)






March 7, Saturday, 4 p.m.

Three events at the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary, Campo Sioco: opening reception of iNima, an exhibition of linocut prints by Leonard Aguinaldo at the Sanctuary Gallery; book launch of Indigenous Earth Wisdom, and a special live music performance by Bobby Carantes and Glenmoore Makie of songs in Ibaloy from their new CD entitled Ikul. For information, call (074) 424-5745/0915-655-5745.


Caption to photo/image: “Lesles,” Thanks giving Feast. This linocut print by Leonard Aguinaldo forms part of the exhibition iNima, opening at the Sanctuary Gallery, Maryknoll Eco Sanctuary, Campo Sioco on March 7, 2015 at 4 p.m. 


'Alphabet of Eve' at Sanctuary Gallery

"ALPHABET of Eve," an exhibition of photographs by Dorit Drori is ongoing at the Sanctuary Gallery, Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary, Baguio City until October 15, 2014.

These photographs by Drori were first shown at the Art Gallery Twenty Four, entitled "Bonding" in Tel Aviv, Israel, then as a traveling exhibition at the Jewish Museum in Melbourne, Australia in 2010.

"Alphabet of Eve" is an autobiographical work where the artist portrays 26 women characters she has known in her lifetime and of women in ancient Biblical texts that pertain to the land of Israel.

The photographs have become part of her self-discovery, reflecting her surroundings, travels, her inner journeys, the varied conditions of daily life, and other facets of the physical landscape and the social-cultural world.

These self-portraits, taken in the years 1987- 2000, were photographed on black & white film and darkroom printed by her and Baguio-born photographer Emmanuel (Mannix) Santos. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Santos curated the 2010 exhibition at the Jewish Museum and this year arranged the show’s travel to the Philippines.

“Alphabet of Eve” is being shown for the first time in the Philippines at the Sanctuary Gallery Baguio, Maryknoll.

This exhibition offers a vantage point where we can view the images collectively and gain insight into the spirit of a woman in these times – for us to understand how the dreams, the struggles and vision of all women are, in essence, no different from one another.
Together, these photographs present the artist’s “sense of freedom, peace, and understanding of the human soul.”

Drori was born in Jerusalem in 1957. Both her parents were Austrians. She says, “When I was 10 years old, the "Six Day War" started and a shell destroyed our home in Jerusalem, showing me that life can change quickly.”

From 1980- 1983 she traveled to different parts of the world with her husband Uri. In the northern Philippines, some of the places they visited in 1981 were Baguio, Sagada, Bontoc, and Banaue. She has joined several group shows in, among others, Israel, Belgium, Australia, Italy, USA. Drori is an art therapist in the Israel educational system. Through photography and her proficiency in expressive therapy, she has harnessed the usefulness of art in helping discern the paths towards healing and self-discovery. She worked on art programs for high risk teenagers, one of which was a project called “Chalas” (or “Life Without Drugs”).


Yaring Kamay 4

Yaring Kamay 4 brings together artisans from Baguio, Benguet, La Union and weavers from Aklan, Kalinga, Mountain Province, and Ilocos Sur.

The works in this exhibition show creative productions that use a variety of materials and are crafted by hand using techniques and designs that have taken years to master. Yaring Kamay 4 will run until February 28, 2015.

Handcrafted objects that serve functional and decorative purposes have become an accessible art form. Some artisanal work, like weaving, carving, and basket making in Northern Luzon keep its weavers, carvers, and basket makers producing on an “as-needed” basis year-round.1 This meets the domestic demand for objects used in ceremonial occasions as well as for daily use: like baskets to carry crops, carry rice to wedding celebrations; loom-woven fabric to make blankets, wrap skirts, or garments for death rituals; bamboo instruments to play during ceremonies; or a gusi (stoneware jar) to hold rice beer during weddings.

Works by other artisans – in stoneware pottery, handmade paper, shifu weaving, and stone and wood craft – exhibit how current creative productions can be drawn from age-old technology.

The artisans participating in this exhibition use different materials drawn from nature – clay, bamboo, rattan, plant fiber and pulp, reclaimed wood, and stone. They make new forms, create designs, and craft objects that bring to light a distinctive style unique to its maker. They are sometimes experimental or playful yet still refined and precise.

The challenges facing artisans today do not make it easy for them to keep at their craft. Raw materials – like rattan, cotton thread, clay, bamboo, wood, fiber plants and others are becoming more difficult to source and acquire.

Many artisans can only produce in limited numbers since they usually have other jobs they cannot give up because these provide for their daily household needs. They are farmers, vegetable gardeners, carpenters, small-scale miners, office employees, and others.

For small, backyard weaving operations, income from products developed as souvenirs and “indigenous mementos”2 are dependent on the highly seasonal tourist market and ever-shifting consumer tastes. Lucrative sources of income like gold-panning or the wagwag (secondhand clothing) trade have also drawn away many of our best artisans in the Cordillera region of northern Philippines.

Fortunately there are still many artisans who find ways to continue their craft, knowing that being able to produce a beautiful and functional object is ultimately its own reward.

The first Yaring Kamay exhibition organized by the Baguio Arts Guild was held in December 1988 at the Hyatt Terraces Baguio. The Sanctuary Gallery continued to hold the craft show with Yaring Kamay 2 and 3 in 1999 and 2000.

Through these exhibitions, the Sanctuary Gallery aims contribute in the effort towards making artisanal work vibrant and sustainable by providing a venue for artisans to exhibit their works and to connect them with viewers who genuinely appreciate and value their work. (ERLYN RUTH ALCANTARA, 11 November 2014)


1Albert Bacdayan,  “Baskets among the Tanulong and Fidelisan Peoples of Northern Sagada,” Basketry of the Luzon Cordillera, Philippines, LA: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History, 1998, p. 46-47; B. Lynne Milgram, “Making and Marketing Contemporary Baskets in Ifugao Province, Northern Luzon,” op. cit., p. 53

2Milgram, Ibid.



Air Pollution in Baguio Discussed in a Community Forum: "Seeking Solutions to Air Pollution in Baguio City"

The World Health Organization's (WHO) 2014 Ambient Air Pollution study reported that Baguio city has exceedingly high recorded levels of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), standard measures of air pollution. This became the subject of a community forum, convened by the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary, on the occasion of World Environment Day, June 5, 2014.

Sixty participants gathered for this community dialogue, with the theme "Seeking Solutions to Air Pollution in Baguio City". Behind this activity is the belief that solutions to air pollution and other environmental problems in the city need the engagement and participation of all sectors, including government and the citizenry.

With input from Dr. Achilles Costales, participants were guided towards a deeper understanding of the WHO report. In the Central Business District of Baguio, PM10 and PM2.5 levels are reducing over time, but are still alarmingly higher than the standards set by the World Health Organization Air Quality Guidelines, for the period 2009-2013. Air pollution related diseases in Baguio include upper respiratory tract infections, colds, pharyngitis, asthma, bronchitis, and cardiovascular diseases.

A panel of local government representatives shared their programs and insights towards improving air quality. In Baguio, we have in place a Clean Air Ordinance, a number coding system limiting vehicles entering the Central Business District, and monitoring and fining of smoke-belching vehicles. However, based on the levels of air pollution, these measures are still not enough.

Five speakers in the citizens' panel shared their perspectives and insights towards finding solutions to the air pollution in the city. Dr. Ronald Paraan of the Baguio Heritage Foundation called for the conservation of green and open spaces in the whole city, including the central business district. Architect Rafael Chan proposes the pedestrianization of Session Road, while revitalizing business potential in the area.

Engineer Editha Mejia, environment officer in Camp John Hay, shared that the ambient air quality in John Hay is far better than other parts of the city. Camp John Hay and other forested areas of Baguio act as carbon sinks and help improve the air quality in the city. Thus, we need to preserve all forested areas left in Baguio.

Dr. Rosalina Tandoc, a pulmonologist in the Baguio General Hospital, called for individual behavioral change. She advised the audience to drive less, fly less, walk and bike more, practice recycling, and to find ways to reduce our personal carbon footprint.

Engineer Mona Reyes, adovocate of the Brahma Kumaris Environment Initiative, shared her insights towards living sustainably and harmoniously. She invited the participants to choose sustainable, simple, and less materialistic lifestyles, and to practice meditation and silent reflection. A vegetarian diet preserves valuable oxygen in air, reduces pollution and carbon footprint, and contributes to health and future of the planet.

The citizens panel, though coming from different groups with various perspectives, all agreed that we should do our part in addressing the problems of Baguio, not just on air pollution, but also on development planning, urban core management, conservation and restoration of Baguio, and personal lifestyle change.

In conclusion, we need to strengthen true citizen participation in managing the development of Baguio. Citizens need to build a stronger voice, and engage with government towards achieving sustainable development for Baguio city, which is based on the health and well-being of the people of Baguio, and in harmony with nature and the planet Earth.

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