The parable of our grandfathers-A A +A
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Dr. Ryan Guinaran
“OGO shi Capitol (It’s not pouring inside the Capitol),” justified the veterans who were trooping to the Provincial Capitol last August 15 despite the furious bombardment of rain by typhoon Helen. The fuming weather triggered landslides and flood but the old men’s doggedness and resolve have encountered more spiteful and brutal battles in their heroic lives to yield to this Helen. With their presence, the province deferred the cancellation of the program and went on with the celebration of the 67th Liberation of Benguet.
Similarly, avid history enthusiasts, students and veterans’ kin trooped to the Baguio Cinematheque at the Casa Vallejo where the two-hour documentary “Nowhere yet Everywhere: The Untold Stories of the 66th Infantry, USAFIP NL” was being initially screened on August 15.
This film was crafted by the Project 66 Team, of which I was project leader, and made by youth, 8 to 30 year-olds, who are proud grandchildren of the veterans. We started the film project in 2006 as volunteers and from complete scratch. Then, the project backbone duo: our director Dave Montes was 18 years old and scriptwriter Betty Listino was 22. Everyone else was just one of these: elementary pupil, fresh from high school, college student, or young professional. Nobody among us was a filmmaker.
Everything in the film was done by the team: resource mobilization, editing, casting, original compositions, musical arrangement, research, re-enactments, production, costumes and props, etc. After six passion-driven, backbreaking and challenging roller-coaster years, we let this film out of our fold with our most profound gratitude to all project partners and supporters.
All are happy despite all difficulties, triumphant after arduous battles, more inspired and most proud of our Igorot fathers through this documentary. This may not be a work of art, but this is our humble work of heart.
I recall some nights in 2005, while doing a health research in Kabayan, I would converse with Lolo Alisandro at the moonlit porch of the house in Adaoay. He proudly narrated to me how he led his company and thousands of civilians from Kabayan and Bokod to safely move out from Akiki to Kabayan Barrio where the only footbridge to safety was, then to Napaay and Sayangan where the 37th US Army was waiting. Stories to reconnoiter, defend, ambush, build the airstrip, support the troops, and mobilize the community saturated the nights before he said his soulful lengthy prayers and retired to bed.
Lolo Alisandro Marquez was inducted by Col. Martin Moses on October 20, 1942 in Karao, Bokod as an officer in the guerrilla core group of the 66th Infantry. He was my paternal grandmother’s brother. Victorio Camado, my grandfather on my mom’s side was a Philippine Scout and also a member of the 66th Infantry.
The members of the Project 66 Team had reminiscences like this, before we were introduced to each other as strangers no more six years ago. We bonded in this documentary project thinking: Who are the best people to do this, and play their part? Datayo nga Igorot grandchildren who value their heroism and love them so much.
We took to the mountains again last Saturday for a project reunion. We went to Kamog, Sablan to celebrate the closing out and culmination of the project. Sablan was our main site for shooting re-enactments and most of our young actors were from this lovely municipality.
We end the project this year as a jubilant Project 66 Team, only to discover new beginnings for the larger community with their initiatives and for us, as we organize 66th Infantry HisToury events, institutionalize the 66th Infantry module in the curriculum of Cordi education, and for those who already know their stories, to be reborn and sustain the courage, love of family and community, cultural pride and indigenous values of our Igorot grandfathers and grandmothers, the heroes.
Watch the docu at the Baguio Cinematheque on August 24, 26, and September 3 at 6:30 pm. Admission is free.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 21, 2012.