Last July, I was one of 10 University of British Columbia students who traveled to the Philippines to be part of Dr. Leonora Angeles’ Philippine Planning Studio Course. We conducted research in support of Local Climate Change Action Planning (LCCAP) in Angat River Basin municipalities, in Bulacan province.
My teammates (Carolina Camargo and Sameer Shah) and myself had the good fortune of working with the incredibly generous Municipality of Calumpit. We were able to speak with local elected barangay officials, barangay volunteers, farmers, fisherfolk, and municipal staff about their community strengths and knowledge about climate change. We asked, “what do you know about climate change?”, “what about your community/city are you most proud of?” and “how can, and is, your community preparing for climate change?”. The following is a snapshot of what we heard.
Dancing with the Weather: Local Climate Change Action Planning in Calumpit
Nakikisayaw Sa Panahon Calumpit: Paghahanda sa Pagbabagong Klima
Music: Janice Lee, Drown the Earth
Video: Kathryn Lennon, with contributions from Sameer Shah and Carolina Camargo
As students who visited Calumpit as guests, we were inspired by the sense of bayanihan that is so strong in Calumpit, and the belief that “ang mabigat ay gumagaan, kung pinagtutulungan” (“anything that is heavy can be light if we put our resources together”).
We will do our best, Calumpit, to help you carry the task of planning for climate change. We will also carry the lessons learned from Calumpit with us, and share the stories we heard, with our communities on the other side of the ocean. Thank you to the entire Municipality of Calumpit for giving us the opportunity to provide a background paper for a future Local Climate Change Adaptation Plan. Thank you to all Calumpiteños for your knowledge and generosity. To all the kuyas and ates of Calumpit who have shared knowledge and meals with us: maraming maraming salamat po!
In particular, we benefited enormously from the contributions of (in no specific order):
Mayor Jessie P. De Jesus
Vice Mayor Zacarias C. Candelaria
Sahlee Graida, MPDO
Marie Cris Co, PESO
Boie Salonga, MDRRMC
Bryan Tolentino , MPDO
Avellino C. Vicente, MPDO
Eva Balite, MENRO
Carina Sabino Bernadino, MAO
Abel D. Cabrera, Municipal Engineer, Building Official, DDRM Office Olive Feliciano, SB Secretary
Dr. Rizallie Lucas, Municipal Health Officer
Carol Yambao, MPDO
Jennifer Fraile, MPDO
Charito Cruz, MSWD
Niño Maranguis, MPDO
Municipal Disaster Risk Management Office Staff
Municipal Environmental Resources Office Staff
Municipal Agriculture Office Staff
Dr. Leonora Angeles
Thank you also to the barangay councilors, barangay health workers, eco-girls/eco-boys and residents of: Sapang Bayan, Calumpang, Bulusan, San Jose, Balite, Iba Este and Corazon.
May Mga Isla Na Sa Hugis Ng Mga Bayan (Islands in the Shape of Nations)
I also had the pleasure of collaborating with my very talented friend and classmate, Christopher J. Carter, to create a poem-film about our experience. Our dear friend Dennis Gupa translated the poem into Tagalog for us, and we had the lovely Concepcion Angeles, mother of Dr. Angeles, narrate and sing.
A film about place, roots and change amidst climate uncertainty. Made on location in Bulacan Province Philippines. The product of an impromptu collective.
Poem – Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon
Visuals – Christopher J. Carter
Translation – Dennis Gupa
Voice – Conception C. Angeles
With assistance from Leonora Angeles and Gilbert Angeles.
Special thanks to the communities of Calumpit, Hagonoy and Malolos, in Bulacan Province, Philippines for collaboration in fieldwork and filmmaking.
You can listen Concepcion Angeles singing the whole song here.
THERE ARE ISLANDS IN THE SHAPES OF NATIONS
There are islands in the shape of nations in our blood
I feel my fingertips crinkling and toe pads wrinkling
waters rising, and coastlines eroding.
The moon doesn’t call the tides like it used to
The rain doesn’t fall to the earth like it used to.
It feels like we are boats with no moorings
sailors with no stars
We need to go farther
from shore to find
fish these days.
Typhoons bend rooftops
~Kathryn Gwun-Yeen Lennon
– – –
MAY MGA ISLA NA SA HUGIS NG MGA BAYAN
May mga isla na sa hugis ng mga bayan ng ating mga dugo.
Kumukulokulobot ang daliri ng aking mga kamay at paa
sa pagtaas ng tubig baha, sa susul na gumuguho.
Hindi ganyan ang dating tawag ng buwan sa mga agos.
Hindi ganyan ang buhos ng ulan sa daigdig.
Para bang mga bangka tayong walang daungan
ng mandaragat na pawang nangungulila sa mga tala.
Kinakailangan pa tayong magpakalayo
mula sa dalampasigan upang makahanap
ng mga isda sa mga panahon ngayon.
Ang mga bubugan lata at yumuyuko
tulad ng mga kawayan
ang mga ugat
~ Dennis D. Gupa, Antipolo, Rizal 2014