Mixed Media

Día de Los Muertos 2019: City of Souls
SomArts (San Francisco, CA)

In collaboration with: Sabokahan, Liyang Network



The Pantaron Mountain Range is located in the heart of Mindanao and is home to one of the last remaining intact rainforests in the Philippines. Indigenous peoples of Mindanao—collectively known as Lumad—have played a historic role in the defense of the Pantaron rainforest, rivers, and mountains from the onslaught of development aggression by logging and mining corporations and agri-business plantations.

Under the Duterte administration, development aggression threatens the lives of the Lumad and their ancestral domain, coupled with the dire conditions of the Filipino people country-wide due to intensifying human rights violations, with human rights reports estimating close to 30,000 victims. Since the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017, over 500,000 individuals have been forced to evacuate from their homes due to increased militarization.

Through the practice of traditional indigenous defense of their ancestral domain known as “pangyaw”, to establishing community schools based on indigenous knowledge, community health, and sustainable agriculture, the Talaingod Manobo have inspired many other Lumad tribes in Mindanao and allies around the world to stand in solidarity to protect our sacred environment and continue the fight for self determination and liberation.

The altar proposed is to pay homage to their fight, pangyaw. It centers a bahay kubo (bahay= house; kubo= cube), a type of village dwelling that is constructed out of organic and found materials, an example of a green structure, and a showcase of extreme simplicity and sustainability that has been around for a very long time. This houses have been rebuilt by Lumad evacuess to serve as a refuge to settle in their evacuation camps with no clear timeline when they can return back to their ancestral homes.

Through this altar and our offerings, we pay homage to the Lumad people who continues to fight for self determination and for the many others who have lost their lives through the journey of pangyaw. In the spirit of community and international solidarity, we lift up their struggle, and celebrate the resilience of all displaced and evacuated people for their fight to the return back to their ancestral homes.

Format Mixed Media
Location San Francisco, CA