“We might have lost a battle, but we have won our soul.”
Forgive me for my shameless plugging. I am coming up with a new coffee-table book this month, and like many of the books that I have published so far and consonant to what I write about most of the time in this column, this upcoming book leans heavily on arts and culture.
The book is titled Leni Robredo Cultural Revolution. Nah. It is not about grabbing power. I wrote about the art phenomenon in this column several months ago. Observant people with open minds would have easily taken notice of the historic truth.
In the book’s preface it says: The book Leni Robredo Cultural Revolution is meant to be a visual document of the hundreds, if not thousands, of artworks and other creative outputs that were inspired by the presidential run of Leni Robredo.
The murals, portraits, paintings and sculptures, graphic designs, cartoons, production and costume designs, even the poems, songs, essays, speeches, and lyrics flowed like rushing tributaries into a mighty river right after the Vice President declared her decision to run in October 2021.
When she said that she had no resources nor machinery, the people responded quickly. We will pick up the tab, they seemed to have said a number of the times. In an ironical symbiotic relationship, they said: lead us and share us your vision and we will show you the way.
The people dictated the color, the tempo, and the tone. Never has this happened before. Multitudes supporting a candidate who had the resolve but the mistaken notion, it turned out, that it was going to be a lonely campaign with a few believers.
History is being indelibly written in this corner of the world. Emulative it is. If People Power was just a romantic notion 36 years ago, the label has become real and pragmatic, but no less dreamy.
The narrative goes beyond the elections. Robredo most certainly knew that, even before she ran and even if the momentum and conditions would have been on her side and made her head of state.
The magnitude of creativity was profuse and impressive if not overwhelming. As we gathered materials (for the book) before the elections reached its crescendo, the creations kept on gushing forth. They seemed unceasing, spurting from a hitherto untapped fresh and wealthy spring.
At some point we had to steer the bucket from the faucet and be content with a book that gives a general sense, an encapsulation, of this momentous movement. For, after all, we believe these simultaneous discoveries of strength and expression will go beyond the elections. We agree that there is much work to do.
The book does not even include the loads of fine artworks and crafts that were gifted directly to Leni Robredo during her sorties and rallies.
For now, may we present with shared pride a glimpse of that phenomenal time when a common and widespread cause resulted in movement, fueled by hope and patriotism.
May I quote our good friend Jose Ma. “Boy” Montelibano, columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer:
“Boboy Yonzon could not have said it better. I guess it takes an artist to capture that which is beyond the mundane in the most difficult of times when fear and fakery have constricted minds and hearts. Artists have an uncanny ability to sense the divine ahead of others.”
Although I must say that recognizing the phenomenon called LENI at this point in the Ides of March 2022 is not a challenge anymore except for those pretending to be deaf and blind.
This is cultural. This is behavioral. And may I add, Boboy, this is spiritual, too. Because Filipinos cannot be separated from prayer and the spirit world at their deepest core.
When survey companies that had long been offering their services, not only to the politicians but especially to the corporate world, suddenly cannot report (I say report, because they cannot capture phenomenon well enough) the frenzy of volunteers for LENI when these volunteers are not less than a million Filipinos, I sense something frightening.
Survey results seem to be following a script like actors in movies or teleseryes. It is as though results are already prepared to strictly adhere to numbers decided long before. Anyway, that is not the problem, it is only more provocation for the problem.
LENI is VIRAL. She was a wave that is now going TIDAL. LENI is not a BRAND, she is a SYMBOL, a noble symbol at that, the kind that people will go to war to protect, to obey. There will be no more EDSA in Metro Manila, there will be an EDSA everywhere in the Philippines - even in the so-called bailiwicks of warlord, of political dynasties. Because that is the nature of the game today.
I am so blessed to be witnessing this miracle because it will be so cleaning, more cleansing than the 1986 People Power having learned many of its lessons by now, irreversible momentum being carried by the youth for LENI.”
In that one period of time, people discovered and wielded creativity. That art is not just reposed on a few extraordinary, talented people, but in all of us.
The book Leni Robredo Cultural Revolution will be launched on August 29, Heroes Day.