Friday, January 30, 2015

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN: Contested Access to Land in the Philippines and Indonesia, an international conference

Contested Access to Land in the Philippines and Indonesia: 
How Can the Rural Poor (Re)gain Control?
An International Conference
16-17 February 2015
GT Toyota Asian Cultural Center, Asian Center,
University of the Philippines-Diliman, Quezon City

The Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, the Asian Center, and the Third World Studies Center, will be holding an international conference, Contested Access to Land in the Philippines and Indonesia: How Can the Poor (Re)gain Control? from 16 to 17 February 2015 at the Asian Center and the University Hotel, both in the University of the Philippines Diliman.

This two-day conference reflects critically on recent trends in land-related issues, including a “global land grab,” the leasing of land to more capitalistic entrepreneurs, and other types of investments that alienate poor land users from their land. Contested by various stakeholders in varying ways and degrees, these land-deals render the rural poor vulnerable, voiceless, and disempowered, and have become an urgent concern of researchers and nongovernmental organization (NGO) activists.

This conference is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, but pre-registration is REQUIRED. Please visit the conference's official website here to register.

DEADLINE FOR REGISTRATION is on 10 February 2015.

For more information about the conference, contact Joel Ariate, the conference secretariat, via

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Filipinos in Northern Japan after the March 11 Earthquake: A Public Lecture by Dr. Takefumi Terada

Takefumi Terada, PhD
Professor and Dean
Faculty of Global Studies
Sophia University

26 January 2015 (Monday)
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon
 Third World Studies Center
Lower Ground Floor
Palma Hall
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
University of the Philippines-Diliman

In 2011, a few days after the disasters of March 11, a considerable number of Filipinos were evacuated to Tokyo from the Sendai and Fukushima areas along with their children. Approximately 150 were received at several evacuation centers located at churches in Tokyo. The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power accident at Fukushima undeniably affected the lives of these people, most of whom are women married to Japanese.

A significant transformation that is currently visible among them, is the fact that many Filipino women now appear at various Catholic churches in the Tohoku area to attend mass. In certain places, reciting the rosary in groups, or block rosary, has been introduced.

Prior to March 11, no Filipino priest was employed in the Catholic Sendai Diocese, (which comprises the prefectures of Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima). Realizing the importance of organizing a regular Tagalog or English mass for the Filipinos, the Catholic Church has decided to assign two priests, namely a Filipino and an Indonesian who is fluent in Tagalog, to form work at Ofunato, and to serve other Filipino communities as well as other foreigners in the devastated areas.

The Filipinos for a variety of reasons had earlier faced several obstacles in coming to church and attending mass. However, the churches in their respective vicinities have been transformed into centers for gatherings and networking hubs. The sense of being a Filipino in Japan and a Catholic is certainly awakened through the months following the March 11.

The Filipino community of Shinjo Church in Yamagawa will also be discussed. 


Takefumi Terada, PhD is currently professor and dean of the Faculty of Global Studies, Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. His major areas of research include folk Catholicism and popular religiosity in the Philippines, and Christian churches in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation period. Formation of Filipino communities within the Catholic Church in Japan is also a topic of his field research. Since March 2011, he has been working on Filipinos and Filipino communities in northern part of Japan affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Dr. Terada obtained his PhD from the Philippine Studies Program of the University of the Philippines-Diliman, and served as president of the Japan Society for Southeast Asian Studies (2011-2012).

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The 2014 UP TWSC Public Lecture Series on Natural Disasters Lecture 5--Imperiled Heritage, A Heritage of Peril: History and Legacy of Natural Disasters

The 2014 UP TWSC Public Lecture Series on Natural Disasters


Imperiled Heritage, A Heritage of Peril
History and Legacy of Natural Disasters
27 January 2015 (Tuesday), 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Pulungang Claro M. Recto, Bulwagang Rizal (Faculty Center)
University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City

9:30 – 9:40 
Opening Remarks 
Elena R. Mirano, PhD
Dean, College of Arts and Letters
University of the Philippines Diliman

9:40 – 9:45 
Introduction of the Role Players

9:45 – 10:25 
Atty. Rose Beatrix Cruz-Angeles
Legal Consultant
National Commission for Culture and the Arts

10:25 – 10:55
Carlo A. Arcilla, PhD
Professor, National Institute of Geological Sciences
College of Science
University of the Philippines Diliman

Patrick D. Flores, PhD

Professor, Department of Art Studies
College of Arts and Letters and 
Curator, Vargas Museum
University of the Philippines Diliman

10:55 – 11:20 
Open Forum

11:20 – 11:30 
Closing Remarks
Ricardo T. Jose, PhD
Director, Third World Studies Center
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
University of the Philippines Diliman

Prof. Jely A. Galang
Deputy Director, Third World Studies Center and
Assistant Professor, Department of History
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
University of the Philippines Diliman

Catastrophic calamities devastate not only the tangible present but also the reminders of the fading past. When the heritage churches of Bohol, among the oldest in Asia, crumbled in the 2013 earthquake, many lamented the “national cultural treasures” having been reduced into rubble. The churches, according to the National Committee on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), “are artifacts of memory”—they “form ‘part of the soul of the community.’” Similarly, when Yolanda’s wrath felled the statue of Carlos P. Romulo, one of the seven bronze figures in the MacArthur Landing Memorial, in commemoration of a key event in America’s effort during the Second World War to retake the Philippines from Japanese occupation, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) immediately set to work its restoration. MMDA chair Francis Tolentino averred that “By restoring this memorial, we hope to inspire the Leyte people to rise again. Like General MacArthur declared, we shall return." In the twin disasters of 2013, earthquakes tampered with topography and disrupted the surefooted rhythm of local lives as these break belfries of faith and bury to the ground a culture’s material achievements. Floods and storm surges drowned bodies and reshaped the margins of habitable earth as these submerged histories that anchor identities, inundated and broke the tenuous link between generations and its heritage. Calamities are fires of societal transformations that force the living to sift through and find value in the ashes of what’s left, divine the past from the soot marks, and devise new spaces of being and belonging from the razed ground. Spaces that both honor society’s loss and pain are the very same spaces that herald society’s unyielding quest for permanence and remembrance. Heritage needs not only be conserved but reclaimed. Histories need not only be taught but rewritten and retold. Songs and practices that perform the past in the present must be drawn again from memories of minds muddled by the trauma of disasters. Despite the country’s limited resources, heritage compelled the need to stand up to unprecedented risks and rebuild the tangible and the intangible, epitomized by “Task Force Heritage.” But between the hunger pangs of the survivors and the elite’s penchant to preserve their very own legacy, is there a formulary of prioritization to address in humane and timely manner the need of the body and the need of the soul? Is there a point and value in giving up and just letting nature take its course on the material legacies of the past?

1. If heritage is only one of the means of accessing the past, why privilege it over other ways, even in times of natural disasters? Or does seeing it the subject of sudden and irreversible devastation creates a sense of urgency that may not be totally justified? What are historical examples of such in the country?

2. Given the increasing vulnerability of the country from unprecedented risks of natural disasters, has the government consistently looked out for the preservation of its “natural cultural treasures”? 

3. Should it always be government institutions that must bear the onus of securing heritage sites? Who are the other stakeholders at work, if any?

4. Is there a point and value in giving up and just letting nature take its course on the material legacies of the past?

See link for the concept paper of the public lecture series.