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Negating the Capampangan race

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WE ARE proud of our museum… come and see why!

The next time you visit #Pampanga, step into the Clark Museum, the portal to the province’s rich legacy.

Too enticing to pass, I readily submitted to that teaser of the Greater Clark Visitors Bureau in its Facebook page and excitedly hit the play button on the short video exactly titled as the teaser’s.

It was despicable!

At 0:43 of the video — “It tells of Pampanga as home to indigenous people and traditional Tagalogs…”

No, this no instance of mere historical revisionism. No, this is no case of naked fact-twisting.

No, this cannot even be a simple matter of semantics – “indigenous people” in the Philippine context having assumed the meaning of aboriginal.

This can only be an absolute negation of the Capampangan race.

A Pampanga unpeopled by the Capampangan themselves is defi nitively no Pampanga.

What brains could pass for those who conceptualized, scripted, and produced that video are certainly addled. The same applies to those who approved that video, those that are now promoting it as well. Yes, the Clark Development Corp. and the GCVB, foremost.

The Capampangans among you ought to hang… hang your heads in shame, at the least.

Come to think of it, this is not the first time that antipathy to, indeed, abomination of the Capampangan crept out of the Clark Museum.

In January 2015, at the inauguration of the museum’s 4-D Theater, I shouted in protest over the denigration of the Capampangan in the video premiered for the event. Here’s my account of that incident:

NO GOOD! A crisp, if loud, ejaculation I spewed at the 18-minuter Rising from the Ashes screened at the Clark Freeport’s spanking new 4-D Theater inaugurated last Monday.

Truly, NO GOOD. For such high a cost as P13.85 million, the film devalued, aye, denigrated, what it was purposely made for to celebrate – precisely the indomitable spirit of Clark – its people, the Capampangan foremost – to resurrect from the devastation of the Mount Pinatubo eruptions.

What gall has the film producer/writer/ director then to impact in the narrative that Clark was “systematically looted by the hungry victims of the eruption”?

It is no mere public knowledge but gospel truth that the looting of Clark was perpetrated by elements of the Philippine Air Force stationed there. Indeed, it was a systematic pillage by an organized army with sole authority over the place, rather than some spontaneous raid by a hunger-driven ash-speckled rabble off-base.

Forever enshrined in the Hall of Shame of our collective memory of Pinatubo is “General Hacot” – the Kapampangan “H” most pronounced where it does not exist – as the pillager of Clark.

The filmmakers did not know this? Or it just did not fit into the movie already fixed in their mind? Yeah, as it goes in some literary circles, why sacrifice the story for the facts?

As indeed, they seemingly did too at the opening scenes with a male Aeta shaman chanting forebodings of the forthcoming doom over their land. The culturally astute intrepid journalist Tonette Orejas was quick to slam the gender-insensitivity, if not outright perversion, committed by the filmmakers – the role of shaman or mag-aanito among the Aetas is exclusive to womenfolk.

So, the film made some perfunctory references to Apo Namalyari, Mount Pinatubo’s deity whose displeasure caused the eruptions. But what displeased the Apo?

No, not the pale-faced imperialists that had already occupied the land and befriended the tribes for nearly a century before the vengeful blast.

Every Kapampangan journalist at the time knew the Aeta lore that Apo Namalyari was disturbed from his slumber when the unat (straight haired) desecrated his home, that is the Philippine National Oil Company exploring the slopes of the Zambales mountains for potential geothermal energy sources.

The Aeta tribesmen we interviewed claiming the steel pipes “melting like plastic” during the drilling as a sign of Apu Namalyari’s displeasure, aggravated by the subsequent – to them consequent – earthquake of 1990. And finding full, enormous expression in the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruptions.

No, the filmmakers had the least idea of these information. Or it could have been only too much non-essential bother to them. Else they could have easily referenced the Center for Kapampangan Studies and got precise, proper precis from Professor Robby Tantingco…

For what is supposed to be a drama-documentary, Rising from the Ashes runs short in facts and long, too long in romanticism. Alas, the medium consumed the message, with no more than bones left for substance…

AN INSULT to the Capampangan then, the utter denial of the Capampangan now.

What gives, CDC?

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