After 8 weeks of hosting 3 virtual Bisayan language classes simultaneously (!!!), we finished in the first week of December, and hosted an in-person gathering for students in Lenapehoking (NYC). So grateful for connecting with these beautiful souls from the islands <3
When Baba Bisaya finished we began our December journeys through Mexico! Six years ago, I lived for 2 years on/off in the pine-oak mushroom cloud mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico, swimming in a microcosm of eco eros & human errors. What a pleasure to return last December with my family & community to rewire connections in this long journey of repair & healing!
One of the highlights included participating in the Virgen de Guadeloupe Pilgrimage. Attending the largest pilgrimage in the world for La Virgen (the patron of Mexico and Cebu, Philippines, the city where I was born) with my family felt like a full circle in this path of reconnection! In “Stalking the Virgin,” Resil Mojares, an incredible Cebuano scholar, writes about the relationship between the Mexican & Cebuano devotion to La Virgen de Guadeloupe as having similar indigenous roots oriented to a primitive earth goddess, appearing at the mouth of caves & rivers, openings of sacred divine nature.
Many of the pilgrims we witnessed were in their traditional indigenous clothing, carrying sculptures, fabrics & paintings of the virgin mother on their back, along with their backpacks & deep faith in the power of prayer. Years ago, when I hitchhiked through Mexico & ended up stuck in the Oaxacan mountains, not contacting my family for two months, my mom would pray to the La Virgen to watch over me. What an honor to share this journey with her, knowing her faith belong to a global circle of prayers & blessings.
This trip really affirmed to me the power of rewriting the scripts of our past. Did you know that for 250 years (from 1565-1821), the Philippine islands were governed as a colony not by the royal family of Spain, but by the Viceroy of Nueva España, based in Mexico City?
Many of the ‘Filipino’ governors were of mixed Mexican-Spanish (indigenous creole) descent. With priests, friars & soldiers also recruited from all colonies of “New Spain,” alongside the exchange of foods & goods in the Manila-Acapulco trade, a great deal of ethnic & cultural transfusion impacted both Philippine & Mexican histories. In fact, the Philippine word for ‘market,’ “tiangge” or “tyangge” (pronounced ’tchyung-gee’) is a Nahuatl word from the Uto-Aztecan language family. Our corn, guavas, avocados & chocolate (+ more!) are all derived from indigenous people’s agricultural traditions on Mexican lands. Meanwhile, the Philippines brought tamarind, coconut & mangoes to Mexican tongues.
What happens when we begin to understand how our cultures transcend narratives of colonial empire?
After my family finished their vacation, I joined up with members from Red Canary Song, and we linked up with La Brigada Callejera de Apoyo a la Mujer in their office in Mexico City.
We also visited Huerto Roma Verde, an incredible center with gardens, eco-architecture & plant/cultural/healing arts in the middle of La Roma district in Mexico City.
What a treasure to align December 2021’s Full Moon in Gemini & Winter Solstice with our teacher Diego Piñon’s 20th year dance gathering on their family’s ancestral lands in the mountain pine forests of Michoacán, Mexico.
At the same time that Typhoon Odette blew thru the Philippine islands, I had just arrived to Tlapujahua, Mexico - the remnant mountain town of a Spanish gold & silver mining operation (that now tourist commercializes its production of christmas ornaments). Among the spirit magic that bloomed there in the aftermath of mid-century tragedy (an avalanche) is our teacher’s return to these roots to grow ‘butoh ritual mexicano’ (a term that he birthed & abjected).
In the absence of communication with loved ones without signal, I turned inward in this time to retreat & reflect on the unspoken parts of my embodied psyche. Grateful to be in the presence of this illuminated lineage of butoh expressionists who wish only to inspire painting the landscapes of our inner storms.
My heart & my notebooks carries strong memories of wisdoms whispered from source…
💙cosmic forces of alignment… fuerzas cósmicas de alineación
🌀constellations of the planets & elements … constelaciones de las planetas y los elementos
💙a connection to ancestors & detachment … una conexión con los antepasados y el desapego
🌀de-programming, de-conditioning… contra programación, contra acondicionamiento
💙we are forever changing … estamos cambiando para siempre
🌀allowing the body of (e)motions to emerge… permitir que emerja el cuerpo de (e) movimientos
💙soaking in pleasure, of changing, like stars … empapado de placer, de cambiar, como estrellas
🌀reorienting an authentic connection to source… reorientando una auténtica conexión con la fuente
✨Grateful for all the spirits who traveled into the trance of play with me, continuing to keep the seeds of this ritual time to grow…
The passage of Super Typhoon Odette through central & southern Philippines compels us to face the devastating reality of disaster at the root of our migrant islander experience. With Raffy Bunal, we put together a living document of active typhoon relief efforts that will need continuous support for immediate & long-term recovery.
We hope that folks with access to financial resources can return to the document on a regular basis to share abundance & actively invest in healing process. We welcome additional donation channels by leaving a comment on the document.
We know that there will be many more storms like this, and that the commitment to reconnect with “home” also looks like fighting for climate justice, ecological sustainability & indigenous sovereignty, everywhere.
Back in Lenapehoking NYC for January, we continued to do bodywork for our clients across the city and also hosted at The Shipibo Conibo Center basement.
We also got the opportunity to choreograph a dance sequence for Shelby.Works latest film project!
So much fun hanging out at the studio at Abrons Art Center.
Until the next winds!