Taga-Alog 2019: Breathing Life to Pasig River Through Art and Culture
by Jace Amodo, September 06, 2019 7:02pm
Art by Dani Elevazo
Before Pasig River was announced biologically dead in the 90s, it was all at once a rustic and bustling river snaking through parts of Metro Manila. It has seen a glimmer of rehabilitation attempts by the government and countless groups with a noble mission, but none of it seemed to ensure continuity.
At least that was the case until the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Philippine Education Theater Association (PETA), and the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) teamed up to launch Taga-Alog on June 2018. Taga-Alog is a creative campaign aimed towards the promotion of the Pasig River as a space for cultural identity and collective memory. If last year's edition carried the theme "Balik Tanaw, Balik Sigla," Taga-Alog 2019 is pushing for the "Sulong! Lusong!" slogan.
Pasig River was once known as a primary corridor for transportation and cultural activities in Metro Manila, and it has massive restructuring and renovating long overdue.
In its own way, the operation solemnly swears on its goal with activities lined up for the next few months. Workshops and Mentorship Programs (songwriting, story writing, film making, theater arts, dance, and visual arts); Competitions (songwriting, story writing, and film making); Lakbay Baybay Experiential Tour (Mandaluyong City and Marikina City); Site Enhancements through Visual Arts (three sites); and Lecture Performance on Tour (10 venues). Each activity has different qualifications such as age restrictions; registrations are available via their Facebook page.
These activities employ strategies founded on the gains and learnings from its first year. A Taga-Alog 2019 Culminating Concert will be held thereafter, where everyone is invited to celebrate another year of successful campaign run.
Shakers, as the organizers and public participants of Taga-Alog call themselves, are noticeably expanding in numbers. Not only did NCCA maintained relationships with previous partners, but they also received support from private entities and different sectors of the government.
More than just a nostalgic look at the past, the campaign dreams of a future where the river is truly clean and alive once again. The campaign also hopes to serve as a wakeup call for people to be stakeholders and ambassadors for the restoration Pasig river. Because one fact remains true, a fact that stood the test of time: change doesn’t come with the government alone; it comes with the help of each and every one.