WATCH: How to educate the youth through arts
MANILA, Philippines – How can you educate the young through arts?
Students from the Tabsing Kolektib made it their mission to answer this question.
Established in 2012 and based in Manila and Laguna, Tabsing Kolektib aims to educate people – mostly young millennials – about issues affecting the marginalized and disenfranchised sectors in the country through theater.
“Tabsing” is a Filipino term for estuary, a body of water formed by the mixing of freshwater from rivers and seawater from the oceans. Coming from this metaphor, the guild sees itself as the meeting place of theater artists who collectively strive to serve the public through art.
Just like any theater guild, Tabsing Kolektib has actors, staff, directors, and playwrights. But what sets the organization apart from other guilds, according to Tabsing Kolektib secretary Jaira Roxas, is their mission to use theater as an instrument for societal awareness.
“As an organization in UPLB, nakikita namin ‘yung paggamit ng teatro bilang isang instrument for societal awareness, na para mailapit natin ‘yung tao sa teatro; mailapit natin ‘yung tao sa sining, at sa pamamagitan no’n, mas lumalim ‘yung pagkakakilala natin hindi lang sa ating sarili, kundi sa ating bansa, sa ating lipunan,” Roxas added.
(As an organization in UPLB, we see the use of theater as an instrument for societal awareness, to be able to bring people close to theater; to bring people close to the arts, and through that, help deepen our understanding, not only of ourselves, but also of our country and society.)
Indigenous people’s plight
What is the plight of the indigenous people in the country? Seldom discussed, this is one of the many issues Tabsing Kolektib tried to bring to the stage.
Through an original play entitled, “Kasaray Duma: Mga Sumpling ng Sigwa” Tabsing Kolektib tackled how indigenous people live.
They ran the production in October, in time for the Indigenous People’s Month. This also coincided with the “Manilakbayan”, a national protest caravan held by IPs from the Bicol region.
IPs participating in the protest caravan grabbed the opportunity to watch the play. Their reactions, according to Roxas, were unanimously of admiration and appreciation.
“They have seen the play and after nila mapanood, we see some of them na may umiiyak. Humanga sila, actually. Humanga sila na parang sabi nila, 'Ganyang-ganyan ang nangyayari. Ganyang-ganyan ‘yung mga naririnig namin.' Siguro rin nila inasahan na aware pala tayo na ganyan ‘yung nangyayari sa kanila,” Roxas added.
(They have seen the play and after watching it, we see some of them crying. They said they admired our effort. They said, “That’s exactly what’s happening. That's exactly what we have been hearing about.” Maybe they were not expecting us to be aware of their plight.)
Echoing the silenced stories of Lumad in Mindanao and the Iraya Mangyan in Mindoro, the play tackled the issue of land-grabbing, a shared experienced by many IPs across the country.
With the tagline “Teatro ang bukal ng sining (theater is the spring of art)," Tabsing Kolektib also believes that “theater is the estuary of all forms of art.”
“We believe that, through art, we can let our audience feel that they are with the people we try to represent,” Roxas said. – Rappler.com
Tabsing Kolektib is a partner organization of Rappler's civic engagement arm MovePH. For more information on how you can help or be part of Tabsing Kolektib, check out their stories on X. Know more about our other organization partners:
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- WATCH: Helping farmers through agricultural biotechnology
- WATCH: Giving hope for a brighter future to street children
- WATCH: Can bottled water build classrooms for urban poor communities?
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