Monday, October 14, 2013

Guardians of Tradition Review

My grandmother is a piƱa weaver, as was her mother before her, and her mother before her. My aunt also weaves. I have grown up surrounded by the finest pineapple cloth -- plain, embroidered, striped, painted, with the design inlaid. I've seen weavers at work. I can recite the weaving process in a rather factual manner, though I have to confess that it's been years since I've tried my hand at the loom. But this is my heritage and I'm very proud of what my grandmother and relatives do.

That's why I signed up for the Guardians of Tradition Blog Tour. My family has always been big on preserving traditional arts and crafts. Though I am familiar with the NCCA and the work that it does, I am still eager to know more about our Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan awardees. Eleven of them are featured in this book, namely: Uwang Ahadas, Hadja Amina Appi, Ginaw Bilog, Federico Caballero, Lang Dulay, Masino Intaray, Salinta Monon, Eduardo Mutuc, Alonzo Saclag, Darhata Sawabi, and Samaon Sulaiman.

Guardians of Tradition is written by Mae Astrid Tobias, with illustrations by Rommel E. Joson and photographs by Renato S. Rastrollo. It's a non-fiction book that's currently nominated in the Children's Picture Book category of the 2013 Filipino Reader's Choice Awards. It manages to present all these information about our National Living Treasures in a very upbeat and informative way. Ms Tobias' tone is perfect: it's light and friendly as she uses Banog and Kiko to introduce artisans and their crafts.

Mr Joson's art and Mr Rastrollo's photographs complement the text perfectly. The book strikes a great balance between all these elements that it really doesn't matter if a child or an adult is reading it; there is so much to learn from every page (even from every image).

Case in point: cute and colorful illustrations to accompany all the info

But beyond the illustrations and the child-friendly text lies a deeper message that appeals to every Filipino. These artisans have devoted so much of their lives so that these traditional crafts may continue. We shouldn't let these die on our watch. With every page, you come to realize just how rich and diverse our culture is, how talented and creative our countrymen are. Every craft is unique. Every story is moving.

My grandmother and my aunt have actually met some of our National Living Treasures. The late Sumaon Sulaiman, who played the kutyapi, was one of the artisans who went on an expo with them at the Smithsonian back in the nineties. It was good to read about him and pass the information on. Another Living Treasure Iwho caught my interest was Lang Dulay, a dreamweaver from Lake Sebu. Dreamweavers weave t'nalak cloth from designs that come to them in their dreams. This was actually my first time to read about what the t'nalak's colors represent and it's quite inspiring. There is so much poetry in our lives. It's such a shame that we can lose this in the monotony of our worker-drone lives.

One of two t'nalak pieces at our house, taken with a bad camera phone

Ficsation has joined the Guardians of Tradition blog tour, and I hope that you can show your support by doing one of three things:

1) Spreading the word about our traditional arts and our National Living Treasures

2) Purchasing a copy through the following links

For the duration of the Guardians of Tradition Blog Tour, Guardians of Tradition is available at discounted prize at the Adarna showroom in Quezon City. For international readers and Filipinos abroad, an ebook version is coming soon.

Goodreads -
Adarna Order Form -

3) Joining the raffle (this one's easy!)

If you're from the Philippines, you can start showing your support by joining the Guardians of Tradition giveaway! You can win one of the following prizes:

One $25 Amazon Gift Card + signed copy of Guardians of Tradition from Adarna + 1 CD of National Living Treasure Bayan Sumaon Sulaiman from NCCA

3 $10 Amazon Gift Card + signed copy of Guardians of Tradition from Adarna + 1 CD of National Living Treasure Bayan Sumaon Sulaiman from NCCA

6 signed copies of Guardians of Tradition from Adarna + 6 CDs of National Living Treasure Bayan Sumaon Sulaiman from NCCA

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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