As part of the observance of the National Heritage Month in May, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Filipino Heritage Festival, Inc. staged 100 Women: 100 Ways of Life exhibition.
The 100 Women: 100 Ways of Life was a three-day restrengthening of something we already know but not fully think much of: That our women have been steadfast cultural agitators the moment they realized their inwrought value and their fixity of purpose.
It featured a collage of 100 photographs of Filipino women displayed at the Glorietta Activity Center in Makati City. The 37 photographers showcased the many practices by which the women have, through the ages and in varied circumstances, done to sustain and extend the conceptions of “heritage” and the appreciation for it.
The women in the photographs are little women, unheralded, leading ordinary lives, toiling with their hands under customary workaday situations—woodcarver, fisherwoman, weaver, farmer, lambanog maker, tricycle driver, potter, jeweler—and women who have become estimable and are celebrated in their fields of expertise—choreographer, ballerina, pediatrician, surgeon, dentist, teacher, athlete, artist, veterinarian.
There are also the women who are in activities usually reserved for men of sterner stuff: pilot, firefighter, surfer, traffic enforcer, and soldier—notably the “Hijab Troopers,” Maranao and Muslim women in Marawi, Lanao del Sur who were deployed by the Philippine Army to assist in the peace, education, and social welfare of those displaced in Marawi.
The Filipino Heritage Festival is a month-long calendar of cultural activities whose purpose is to bring the many-sided aspects of our heritage to a wider audience. The events include performances, visual arts, exhibits (such as the 100 Women: 100 Ways of Life), regional culinary lectures/demonstrations, and other projects intentionally shown at public malls and heritage sites, all easily accessible, for a broader range of viewers.
Photos by Diana B. Noche