'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”).


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.

Symphony of Peace Prayers

"WE are all unique beings with our own cultures, traditions, customs and beliefs. Peace does not require that we all be the same. A true culture of peace is built when we come to understand and respect our differences and appreciate our diversity. It is like an orchestra with the sounds of various instruments playing together to create a beautiful harmony."


Hiroo Saionji

The World Peace Prayer Society


Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary welcomed and hosted 20 representatives of indigenous and faith traditions last May 18, 2014, for a continuing symphony of peace prayers, which was started in 2005 at the Fuji Sanctuary in Japan.

Since then, on every third Sunday of May, this unique ceremony gathers people from diverse religions and cultures to pray with one voice for peace on Earth. It is now celebrated in 52 countries with over one million participants joining the movement worldwide.

It was a rainy and cold day in Baguio, but the interfaith gathering built a warmth and unity among the participants who took turns to offer their own prayers for peace in a beautiful and moving Symphony of Peace Prayers. Prayers for all Nations, for Oneness of all Living Things and for the Four Directions were offered.

A final ritual was to bless and hang a mandala for the aversion of natural calamities. This flag hangs on the west side of the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary, and shall be passed on to another host in Baguio, after one month. The sanctuary is also home to a peace pole with the words "May Peace Prevail on Earth". This peace pole is one of over two hundred thousand Peace Poles in the world, carrying the message of peace in different languages.


"May Peace Prevail on Earth"