Inang Lupa, Inang Bayan - the struggle continues


Tonight I watched the two-play production Inang Lupa, Inang Bayan featuring Marili Fernandez Ilagan and Teresa Opaon-Ali's "Sanlibungan (Sanctuary)" and Bonifacio Ilagan's "Hindi Na Muli (Never Again)" at the Bantayog ng Mga Bayani, Quezon City.

The play featured National Artist for Literature Bienvinido Lumbera.

It was heart-wrenching, as it tells the story of a people struggling for self-determination and freedom. 

"Sanlibungan" tells the story of three indigenous women from three different tribes (Mandaya, Manobo, and Bagobo) with a common story to tell, and that is the story of oppression and resistance as businessmen and politicians force them to leave their land so that they could exploit it. It tells their story of how they struggled, how they resisted, and how their spirit was crushed through intimidation, sexual harassment, and even through extra-judicial killings. How families were divided and destroyed by the economic system of greed.

As one of the characters would put it, where else are they supposed to go as the capitalists push them to the top of the mountains.

"Hindi Na Muli" gives life to the grim reality of the Martial Law years as the younger generation is starting to have the illusion that the Martial Law years was the country's golden age, actually risking the return of the infamous Marcos' to Malacañang.

Its message: Martial Law was real, the torture was real, the killings were real, the human rights violations were real, the nightmare was real. 

The common message of the plays is that even until today the struggle for total freedom, for true peace, Shalom, continues. Martial Law may have been lifted, but the atrocities of Martial Law continues, with the continued harassment of the indigenous peoples, the continued disappearance of activists, and the denial of justice for victims of abuses.

The play seems to question, when will this end? And it enjoins the audience to do something about such unhuman acts.

The play was held in an outdoor stage which was both functional and aesthetic, even the trees became essential parts of the set. The sounds, however, was not that good, but since the audience was so intimate, it was acceptable. There was difficulty in terms of lighting. At times scenes on the set would not have any light and since it was so dark one would not know that something is happening on the unlit portion of the stage, until one would notice some kind of movement in the dark.

I honestly love the way they used multimedia to help build up their story or to add drama to the scene. And the live tribal music was just amazing. Even the interaction with the crowd after the first play was just beautiful. It gave the play a very experiential dimension.

The play was superb. The storyline was so emotional. The whole production was very captivating. 

The play will run until tomorrow, 7 pm. 

Photo credits:
Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation
Khoko Obel
Tag-Ani Performing Arts Society
Karlos Ysagani


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