Crafting Anthropological Traditions in the Philippines

By Canuday, Jose Jowel P. , Porio, Emma E.

First draft of paper completed in October 2014 and a final draft was submitted on 21 September 2015 as a chapter of the book tentatively titled as Anthropological Traditions in Southeast Asia. The book manuscript, edited by Professor Eric Thompson of the National University of Singapore, was submitted for publication at the NUS Press and now being circulated for peer review.



Green public spaces in the cities of South and Southeast Asia. Protecting needs towards sustainable well-being

By Alfiler, Cherie Audrey, D.

Sahakian, M., Anantharaman, M., Di Giulio, A., Saloma, C. Zhang, D., Khanna, R., Narasimalu, S., Favis, A. M., Alfiler, C. A., Narayanan, S., Gao, X., Li, C

The significance of green public spaces is well documented in relation to social inclusiveness, human health, and biodiversity, yet how green public spaces achieve what Gough (2017) has termed ‘sustainable wellbeing’ is less understood. This contribution presents preliminary results from a study of green public spaces in four mega-cities of South and Southeast Asia: Chennai (Republic of India), Metro Manila (Republic of the Philippines), Singapore, and Shanghai (People’s Republic of China), cities that have climates ranging from tropical, to subtropical and temperate. The conceptual framework brings together social practice theories with human development theories, methodological implications for the study of park usage, and Protected Needs. This study sets out to understand how parks satisfy human needs by uncovering practices in relation to activities and material arrangements. Central to the research design and sampling strategy is a desire to understand park-related practices in all of their diversity, and accounting for how different activities are carried out by diverse groups of people. The paper presents exemplary results showing that parks provide a space in which a multitude of needs are satisfied, and that parks cannot be substituted by other settings such as commercialized spaces. The paper will conclude by discussing tensions between types of park usage, and in relation to commercial encroachments on public space.

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Localizing Shakespeare and Folk Performance: Romeo and Juliet, Sintang Dalisay and the Igal of the Sama Bajau in Southern Philippines

By Abad, Ricardo G.

Ricardo G Abad, M. C. M Santamaria


Based on Romeo and Juliet and a 1901 awit adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, the theater production Sintang Dalisay deploys, as its movement motif, the igal, a dance tradition of the Sama Bajau of the southern Philippines. The use of the motif influences other elements in the production, specifically, the music, the decision to set the play in a Muslim community, the set and costume designs, and the change of the characters’ names into more local appellations. The localized production adopts a collaborative intercultural approach to theater-making, with Muslim and Christian artists working together to teach the dance to performers, help reconfigure the dance for the contemporary stage, and align that reconfiguration with community practice. This paper reviews the production, assesses its reception on etic and emic levels, and contextualizes the project in terms of Muslim–Christian relations in the Philippines. It finds that the task of localizing Shakespeare as folk performance must contend, onstage, with issues of cultural and political representation and, most importantly, offstage, with ethical issues that underlie collaborative intercultural theater. The offstage component makes the production a vehicle to advance a vision of mutual solidarity between Muslims and Christians.

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Bilibid Weeks: An Account of a Prison Theater in the Philippines

By Abad, Ricardo G.

Ricardo G Abad, Nicolo Ricardo Magno

For three years, the training company RolePlayers, Inc., worked with young male inmates at the Special Classes for Children in Conflict with the Law (SC-CCIL), a unit of the New Bilibid Prison, in two theater productions that were shown to the prison community and the external public. The first production, staged in 2016, was a devised piece called Tumbang Preso (Knock down the Prisoner); the second production, mounted in 2018, was the Pyramus–Tisbe scene from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in Filipino translation. The productions’ immediate impact, however, lies beyond the plays. For the young inmates, prison theater served as an opportunity to learn new skills, gain new perspectives, receive emotional support, and increase their chances of getting released. This paper documents the prison–theater project, the challenges the organizers faced, the lessons they have learned, and the paths that can be taken to sustain prison theater.

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Intermittent Departures, Returns, and the Incremental Acts of the Everyday: Paid Domestic Work and Insurgency in Sitio Sibol, Bohol

By Alfiler, Cherie Audrey, D.

Cherie Audrey Alfiler

Our understanding of maids and their condition is confined within the current discourse of domestic labor exploitation and its general assumptions. This study presents an expansion of the discussion as experienced by residents of Sitio Sibol, Bohol including past experiences of NPA (New People’s Army) insurgency and counterinsurgency that partly played an instrumental role in shaping the maid’s experience. Informed by ethnographic research among former and current maids and their community in Sitio Sibol, this study problematizes how the changing context in the community affects the emergence and proliferation of local domestic work. It traces back the community’s history and analyzes both individual and collective experiences, attitudes, and practices as exercises of human creativity when faced with adversity and different conditions of injustice. The shared community life in the sitio established active and passive social networks; and changing political conditions shaped and illustrated the complex process of “pagpapa-maid” revealing realities of human costs usually unaccounted for.
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Re-visioning obscure spaces: Enduring cosmopolitanism in the Sulu archipelago and Zamboanga peninsula

By Canuday, Jose Jowel P.


In popular imagery, the littorals of Sulu and Zamboanga conjure visions of pirates, terrorists, and bandits marauding its rough seas, open shores, and rugged mountains. These bleak accounts render the region nothing but a violent and peripheral southern Philippine backdoor inconspicuous to the sophisticated constituencies of the world’s metropolitan centres. Obscured from these imageries are the lasting cosmopolitan traits of openness, flexibility, and reception of local folk to trans-local cultural streams that marked Sulu and Zamboanga as a globalised space across the ages and oceans. The distinctive features of these cosmopolitan sensibilities are strikingly discernible in inter-generationally shared narratives, artefacts, and performances that were continually renewed from the days when Sulu and Zamboanga served as a borderless trading and cultural enclave nestled at the crossroads of the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. These enduring cosmopolitan sensibilities are embodied in the blending, among others, of the time-honoured dance of pangalay and the pop-musical dance genre celebrated on actual, analogue, and digitally-mediated spaces of the contemporary world. Furthermore, these embodied sensibilities are evident in song compositions that proclaim the humanistic themes of hope, peace, and prosperity to their place and the world in ways that exemplify the local people’s broader sense of connections beyond the narrow association of family, community, ethnicity, religion, and identity. This mixed bag of age-old and recent imaginaries and cultural traffic evoke a sociality that link the social spaces of the troubled but once and current globalised region to continuing acts of transcendence in history, memory, and visions of the future. In these marginalized places, we can see an unyielding tradition of cultural re-adaptation and creativity made up of myriad everyday acts that are down-to-earth, pragmatic, interstitial, and practical cosmopolitanism.



Book Review: Bulloch, Hannah C. M.: In Pursuit of Progress. Narratives of Development on a Philippine Island.

By Canuday, Jose Jowel P.

Canuday,  Jose Jowel (2018) Book Review: Bulloch, Hannah C. M.: In Pursuit of Progress. Narratives of Development on a Philippine Island. Anthropos, Seite 284 - 285
Anthropos, Jahrgang 113, Heft 1, ISSN print: 0257-9774, ISSN online: 0257-9774, DOI:  10.5771/0257-9774-2018-1-284