Parkfest PH is a weekend festival in Nayong Pilipino park located beside the National Museum, featuring the fusion of local art, crafts, Filipino flavor and music with a colorful twist. This is the description on Parkfest PH‘s facebook page. This description however, pales in comparison to the experience I had when I went last May 29, 2016.
Parkfest PH aimed to revive Nayong Pilipino through showcasing the works of local artists, and it did just that last May 28-29. Nayong Pilipino, a once forgotten park, was filled with all sorts of people. People came in and bonded with their friends and family as they appreciated the art installations of the various artists, listened to music, shopped from the various crafters. This embodied the Nayong Pilipino of the past.
I decided to wear a turtleneck maxi dress with slits because sneakers and a gray cap. The maxi dress helped me brave the slight breeze and the drizzles, while the slit made sure that it wasn’t too hot. I made sure to bring a cap with me since it was a very sunny day. I also wore sneakers since I knew I would be walking a lot and I wanted to be comfortable.
As we walked to the entrance we were greeted by this colorful view. The place itself is absolutely beautiful. Everywhere you look, there’s something to take a picture of.
Of course, the art installations were just absolutely amazing. The “Hanging Filipino Flowers” were each handcrafted by artist Mabby Camacho. The chosen local flowers all have their own symbolic meaning. The sampaguita, our national flower, a symbol of love and devotion. The santan is a symbol of valor and passion. The kalachuchi is a symbol of grace, strength to withstand challenges, and immortality. The bougainvillea is a symbol of prosperity, brightness, and a new start in life. The yellow gumamela is a symbol of happiness, sunshine, and good luck. The concepts these flowers symbolize also represent the Philippines, and the Filipino people. The black and white street art is called the “I saw isaw atbp.” This piece by Camy Francisco-Cabral features the different street food of the Philippines. These different types of food may be deemed strange by others, but to the Filipino people, each bite is a delight. Next is the blue, red, and yellow, which is a bottlecap mural in the making. It is called the “Paglaya” or freedom. This moving piece by Ella Lama and June Digan poses a wonderful question for the Filipino people, “ano ang inaasam mong kalayaan?” or what freedom are you hoping for? How can we say that we really are “free”? This piece encourages park-goers to put a bottlecap over the answer to the question”ano ang inaasam mong kalayaan?” The choices were “kalayaan sa pamamahayag” or freedom of the press, kalayaan sa pag pili or freedom of choice and “kalayaan sa diskriminasyon” or freedom from discrimination. As for me, I picked freedom of choice. “Kalesa: Bloom” by Alessa Lanot showcases the richness and natural beauty of the Philippines, a reminder that the Philippines is beautiful and color is everywhere.
This next piece gets the park-goers to make a wish on butterflies by writing their wishes for the Philippines on different colored ribbons. Iori Espiritu’s handmade butterflies are enchanting and are symbols of insecurities and fears being set free.
These two jeepneys are part of the installation called “Para po” by Patrick Cabral and John Ed De Vera. The jeepneys symbolize the talent of the Filipinos and how they can turn scraps and trash into something beautiful.
The three giants symbolize Luzon, Mindanao, and Visayas, the three island groups of the Philippines. “Higante: Luzon” was made by Ang Ilustrado ng Kabataan. This giant aims to showcase Luzon’s culture and history, making the audience aware and stimulate a sense of pride in our heritage. “Higante: Visayas” was made by the Doodle Art Enthusiasts. This piece portrays the colorful and diverse culture of Visayas, and how no matter how dispersed the islands are, they will always be unified. “Higante: Mindanao”, by the ARTitas of Manila, shows Mindanao as the bright, colorful and beautiful island. The beautiful wire pieces were made by Mike Tutaan and Iya Calamlam. It is called “Tabi Tabi Po” and reminds us of our childhood fairytales reminding us to say excuse me to the supernatural beings surrounding us when walking through nature. It is a piece that reminds us of how beautiful and rich Philippine folklore is.
These Bamboo Chimes made by Geli Balcruz, Carl Chua, Anina Rubio, and Jelvin Base. The different designs portray harmony, peace, free flowing nature, the structure of our society,the resiliency of the Filipinos, a reminder to enjoy the music and dance to the rhythm of life. It portrays love, unity, and how Filipinos can do anything to survive. It also portrays simplicity, how small things can still be beautiful, the country as an archipelago, Filipinos’ positivity and high spirits. It also serves as a sanctuary for those who want to break free from negativity.
What made the whole experience so unique was how there were different interactive activities aside from the art installations. Aside from these scheduled activities, there was also an Amazing Parkfest Race that engaged the park-goers and got them more involved.
Some of the fun activities that Parkfest encouraged you to participate in are playing Filipino games, the games of our childhood, riding a bambike, and asking the artists some questions. This was great because it also reminds us of forgotten Filipino culture. Giving us a chance to reminisce and reconnect with our roots.
You can also contribute to the beauty of the park by using colored chalk on the sidewalks or painting this board or adding bottlecaps to a mural. I love the different styles and how messy the board is. I like how it’s set up to look like a waiting shed or a jeepney stop, because it represents that all kinds of people pass there and wait there, and somehow they all make their own mark. Just like in life, you will meet different kinds of people, some will leave, some will stay, but somehow, they all make their mark on you.
An added bonus was the World of Art Photography Photo Exhibit that will be there until June 12.
If you loved all the art installations and wanted to go home with a piece of art yourself, you could buy from one of the crafters. Everything was so beautiful. We really should start supporting local artists and start recognizing the talents of our fellow countrymen.
I loved Parkfest PH. I loved reconnecting with my roots, learning more about our culture, seeing the different art installations and marveling in the amazing way the artists were able to symbolize our culture into art. With a rich culture such as ours, I can see how the artists are so inspired to make such beautiful pieces. Parkfest reminded me to look at the small details of everyday life because this is where I will be surprised with the beauty of everyday things. It reminded me to be appreciative of all the color and beauty that surrounds me in the Philippines. Everywhere we go life is just bursting with color and beauty, and sometimes we are too preoccupied to notice these.
Some descriptions came from the descriptions of the art installations last May 28-29.