There is a Filipino folk song “Lubi-Lubi” which was often taught to toddlers as way of mastering the months on the calendar – Enero, Pebrero, Marso, Abril, Mayo…
Probably, it is our subconscious way of introducing the concept of time to young minds.
Today’s traffic and hectic schedules prompt us to rely on pricey planners and mobile apps to alert us of important events that we tend to forget about.
Narrating the history of the Filipino calendar in Filway’s Philippine Almanac of 1991, essayist and fictionist, Mario I. Miclat recalls how the ancient Filipinos used to tell time by tying knots in a string to remember the days, counting the full moons to know when the palay should be harvested, or relying on the rainy seasons to keep track of one’s age.
During the Spanish times, together with our Catholicism we begun our adherence to the Gregorian calendar. Filipinos eventually relied on this calendar for the names of their children, as well as for auspicious signs to guide their daily chores.
The Cry of Pugadlawin, which launched the Philippine Revolution of 1896, is known to have coincided with the Feast of San Bartolome being the patron saint of bolo makers.
Jose Rizal is said to have made predictions about the Philippines a century later with a calendar in mind.
The enduring publication and popularity of the “Dimasalang Kalendaryong Tagalog ni Honorio Lopez” is a strong indication of how the calendar continues to guide the ordinary Filipino. Originally written by Don Honorio Lopez, the Spanish authorities accused Lopez of being a propagandist for the Revolution when the calendar was first produced in 1897.
Today, Kalendaryong Tagalog has become part of the Filipino culture and is still available along the Quiapo Church patio.
The Kalendaryong Tagalog features dates of high tides and low tides, as well as festivals related to fishing and farming. “If there were no calendars, how would Filipinos remember Rizal or the Revolution? How would June 12 or even August 21 be recorded? And how would the country appreciate the long process of building a nation?”
The calendar therefore helps us remember the past, appreciate the present, and plan for the future.
The exhibit “Kalendaryo 20/20” is now ongoing at the UP College of Fine Arts Gallery. Its featured artist is my former professor, Marco Ruben T. Malto II.
In recent years, Malto’s solo exhibits embodied themes capturing the country’s current crucial concerns and how they interplay with history and the nuances of the Filipino culture.
This professor constantly aspires to educate by engaging his public in important national discourses– using his works to characterize and to comment on the socio-political conditions of the present, while remembering history and drawing on cultural references from thematic beliefs and practices that are distinctly Filipino.
Marco Ruben T. Malto II is a graduate of University of the Philippines Diliman College of Fine Arts (UPCFA) in 1993. He finished his Master of Fine Arts, also in 2002.
Prof. Malto who has been teaching since 2002, is a recipient of the UP Diliman Centennial Professorial Chair Award for the past six years for his solo exhibitions: Colors of Black (2013); Bayang Magiting (2014); Siete Estaciones
(2015); Ang Petroglyphs ng Angono (2016); Susmaryosep (2017); and Peksman (2018).
Now you may understand why Prof. Marco Malto became the recipient of the University of the Philippines Artist Award. His prolific works and his love to hone the talents in the visual arts of is what makes him “calendared in the hearts of many whom he had taught”.
Mabuhay po kayo, Prof. Malto !!!