It's a typical youtube homemade video of a song describing the conflict between Magellan and Lapu Lapu. It ends with Magellan asking for a doctor and telling his mama "don't you cry."
Now, wouldn't you want to die trying to bring Christianity to the Philippines ... or something ... and then being immortalized in a song like this? (Does anybody know who this singer is?)
Also, this history student made this video summary of the Galleon Trade for class. Love the music! Don't love the way history is taught: so that it leaches all the human idiosyncracy out of the stories and makes them a catalogue of dead numbers and dry anecdotes.
rader Woff is here to speak, speak about the Galleon Trade.
Jenifer Wofford, by name, den mother, artiste, fearless leader, unspeakable admiral, grantwriter, ruffled trade, and the one to blame for all of this.
Speak, Woff! Tell us: what is the Galleon Trade?
... if we can find some other art spaces along the west coast of Mexico ...
Indeed! And how did you come up with this project?
It was 1998 and I barely understood what an internet was.
And where do you see cultural convergences among the three landing points of the project: Philippines, Mexico, and the Bay Area?
You have an incredible love of drama in both situations ... I don't know, good dancing skills? ... A real affinity for pork and salt?
Then talk about hybridity: in general, and especially with regard to the Philippines as a place of both race-mixing and cultural hybridity.
The tricky thing about talking about the Philippines, certainly from somebody who's a halfie herself, is ... it can become very self-congratulatory to talk about the wonderful future of hybridity. It's really narcissistic, too. ... At the end of the day, for me it's less about some nationalistic Filipino thing, for me it is more about the bigger condition of hybridity or about drawing connections across difference. Doing that through Filipino arts and culture issues for me feels the most--"authentic" is such a tricky word but I'll go ahead and use it--feels like the most authentic way for me to do it. I could do it in some ways just as easily through Malaysia, since I grew up there, and in some ways I have a lot deeper connections with that place, but it's a little trickier to make that fly. There's a very small Malaysian American community here, there's less of a network to actually make these kinds of parallels happen. --Also, I'm not Malaysian.
Everyone's symbol of the Philippines, everyone's adjective. It's impossible to explain a jeepney--you have to see one. But once you've seen one, all you need to say is "jeepney" for the full force of its symbolism--its representativeness, its jumble and joy and color--to infect whatever word you're modifying.
The word itself contracts "Jeep" and "Jitney," the latter a form of share taxi found in the US and Canada in the early 20th Century.
It's also impossible not to fall in love with jeepneys. I did, my first hour in Manila--exhausted from a 16-hour flight and 13-hour jetlag, inside an air-conditioned taxi trying to muscle its way through morning rush hour to our accommodations--when the rising sun picked out the brightest things on an already colorful landscape, and all the things that people had tried to tell me about jeepneys before burst visually into my consciousness like ripe coconuts onto my hard, hard head.
The brightest things were moving targets full of people and I didn't manage to take a single picture that time, nor did I manage it for the rest of my trip in Manila, despite repeated attempts. My only halfway decent jeepney pictures are from the inside of oneZak took me on to get, in a roundabout way, to the Manalos' store.
It seems almost silly to point out the Filipino-representative nature of jeepneys; it's so overstated already. But do you notice something about all these youtube videos?
Yeah, they're all made by Ams of the non-Fil variety, or other flavors of white tourist. (Let's count me among them, since in the Philippines, I'm white. That's, after all, what counted to the Filipino strangers I encountered: the American, the money, and the white. Oh, and apparently I'm white because of the loves and enthusiasms the Philippines awakened in me. Jeepney! O, Jeepney!)
Filipinos I met didn't talk about jeepneys amongst themselves, and were almost reluctant to answer my questions. A cliché? A stereotype? Fil Ams were equally reticent, and undelighted. Used to it? The only Filipino youtube videos with the word "jeepney" in them were the excessively posted video of a band called "Sponge Cola," (?) who had an apparent hit with their song "Jeepney." There aren't any jeepneys in the video, but I have no idea if the song deals with jeepneys. (Well, there were also the inevitable personal videos made by Sponge Cola fans using photos of self and drawings of unicorns against the backdrop of the jeepney song.)
But Americans? A post-modern, transportative, artisan-fact like a jeepney is almost calculated to make GenX travelsters wet their shorts with cum-to-Jesus. Love. LOVE! How it bleeds American pop through its chrome skin! How it bedecks, deflowers, beflowers a supra-militarized past by dragging it into a dingy military relic! How it pollutes the air (you can hardly ride one for the fumes!)! The names of the jeepneys! They all have names! Love! How unselfconscious! Just like the na-ked-tives in National Geographic! We love that shit!
And the Catholicism of the jeepneys! They're so Catholic! With their virgin statues, and saintly names, and sometimes near-evangelical airbrushed Jesus. We love the Catholic in the foreign, since the US is so fundamentally post-Catholic, post-joy, post-passion, and post-tack. It makes the Philippines almost look like those weekends in TJ, or spring break in Cabo! Only better, because, without the frat boys (much)!
the galleon trade edition is embedded reportage from the front lines of the 2-3-year art campaign Galleon Trade in Philippines, California, and Mexico.
This blog will follow the artists on their wanderings throughout the life of the project. More than that, it will follow thoughts directly and indirectly inspired by the project and its implications: speculating, inspecting, researching, commenting, commentating, and jumping to conclusions. It will be more focused than usual, but it will be very atlas(t)y.