Beauty in chaos

Bopeep C. Espiritu
A freelance photographer shares in photos and words his anger at the corruption-laden Pork Barrel system

PIG HEADED. A 'higante' with a pig's head gains the attention of protestors at the August 26 #MiliionPeopleMarch in Luneta. All photos contributed by Bopeep Espiritu

There by the black Tamaraw statue, a cluster of musicians sat on a makeshift picnic blanket singing and strumming their angst out. In another spot not too far away, a group of musicians with ethnic instruments were beating their leather-skinned drums and split bamboo to make a more ethnic tune to their anger against the Pork Barrel Scam. 

Still, in another patch of people, a group of bikers sat where one woman wore a black shirt that had the ‘V for Vendetta’ mask printed on her back. She picked up a pair of rainbow-colored poi made of cloth. One of her friends was singing an ethnic tune while a man beats on a drum with his bare hands.

This was the #MillionPeopleMarch rally at Luneta in August 26. I had my camera and my anger in place. As a member of the middle class, I have earned my honest living sleepless in the call center, absorbing every ranting of customers calling from first world countries – only to be squandered away by the same lawmakers that I chose to draft the laws of this third-world land.

DAILY PORK. A protestor holds up a loaf of bread shaped like a pig at the August 26 #MillionPeopleMarch in Luneta

How is it then, that I’d be so delighted to see a mob of artisans, musicians, actors, writers, dancers and singers? Colorful effigies depicting faces of pigs were towers over this mixed race of, as if they were more than happy, instead of angry, to be in a gathering of political angst. Songs were reverberating over the grey skies that spilled sporadic rain, while others scatter with placards and pig-masks like a parade of fools — for the fools that we have been. And they were happy to pose and smile at me when I take their shot either from a distance or up close. A guy wearing a pinkish pig mask even stopped at me and took a ‘thumbs up’ and just stood there until I got my shot. I gratefully returned the gesture.

This is the Filipino in anger. This is the Filipino who knew that they have been fooled long enough. And the Filipino’s indomitable spirit will never break.

I look around Luneta and the Quirino grandstand. Colorful banners fly freely across the grey skies. Songs and chants rhyme in the air. Artisans paint their faces and put on pig masks in mockery to the government. Musicians dance and sing their broken hearts out on the muddy patches of weed and earth where footprints had been made by all walks of life is a tango of the beautiful chaos of this sovereignty. –


Bopeep Espiritu is a freelance writer and photographer. See more of her photographs on the Move.PH Facebook page

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