#NEWS: Grade 11 celebrates PSHS Humanities Festival 2018
by Janpol Estrella and Rafael Cadiz
Last November 14–16, PSHS held its annual Humanities Festival 2018: “In Pursuit of Truth in a Post-truth World”. With various grade levels having their respective projects, Batch 2020 started their own special schedule of events.
OPM Songwriting Performances
After the opening ceremony, Batch 2020 started with their OPM songwriting performance, headed by the Filipino unit. The original songs were written with a theme to post-truth in relation to the main theme. The performances also had visual accompaniment and music videos.
“‘Yung Humanities Festival, pinag-usapan namin sa Humanities teachers ‘yung tema, at nag-agree kami lahat na post-truth yung gagamitin. So ‘yung essence nito, nakita namin na lahat na gumaganap sa Pilipinas ngayon ay tugmang-tugma ituro sa lahat ng mga itinuturo namin, applicable talaga,” said Ma’am Christine Aguila, a Grade 11 Filipino teacher.
When asked about the batch’s process in making the project, she said, “Nakita ko na mas napaunlad nila yung pagkikipag-ugnay nila sa kapwa, at naging mas kritikal sila sa komposisyon ng kanta nila; hindi lang sinusulat na parang walang saysay.”
“Makikita rin sa kanila na iba ang saya nila kasi orihinal na gawain ito; proud na proud sila doon. Makikita rin sa kanila kung gaano kahusay yung pag-arte nila para sumalamin sa kanilang liriko, tapos maganda na nga yung mga liriko nila,” continued Ma’am Aguila.
Blocks H, C, and B won 3rd, 2nd, and 1st place respectively in their performances.
Truth be Told Forum Series, Day 1
Later in the day, after the universal lunch period, the first part of the Truth be Told Forum Series has started. The forum series was held by respective blocks and had an audience consisting of Grade 11 and 12 who were required to sign up.
When Sir Audrey Morallo, a Grade 12 English teacher, was asked about the essence of the series, he replied, “The forum series is an English and Social Science requirement for Grade 12. All [the] English [Unit] cares about is an organized discussion in a panel discussion format. For the latter, it addresses and talks about pressing social issues in the Philippine setting.”
A forum entitled “Artivists: Activism and Protest through Arts, Music, and Literature” expounded on the use of the various arts in the subject of activism and anti-oppression. The speakers narrated their experiences in publishing revolutionary art, in the reactions of the pro-Marcos agenda, to the history of various effigies made against Marcos, Duterte, and the fascist like.
The first speaker, Sir Renan Ortiz, is an art teacher for Grade 7 and an anti-marcos cartoonist. He talked about his experience on the manipulations of the pro-Marcos agenda, in its trolls and their social media influence, as he published his work.
He shared anecdotes about the Duterte influencers; in the verge of social media organizers paying people to comment on the pro-Duterte regime, to that specific highlight where the agenda mistook his art as pro-Duterte, and intentionally put it as wall art in a foreign Duterte-supporting restaurant.
“Activism is not wrong in the subversion of truth, and the address of oppression,” said Sir Ortiz as a quote to end his talk.
The next speaker is Imelda Enday, an artist, author, exhibit organizer and founder of KASIBULAN. At the start of her talk, she started with a quote: “activism starts through compassion”, setting the theme for her part.
She explained how activism is a practice of an advocacy; the perpetuation of an idea’s belief, and its context in the arts that she makes. She also expounds on the details of her art, and how its metaphors criticize the Marcos regime.
The final speaker of the forum is Max Santiago, an artist from the UGATLAHI Artist Collective. He talked about the collective’s history, founded by UST students and expanding to general art enthusiasts with a spirit for activism. He also talked about the history of the effigies made to counter the fascism agenda, even including Trump as a universal revolt to oppression.
“Ngayon, may presidente na tayong pasista, so ngayon, ano na gagawin natin?” said Santiago as quote to end his talk. “Root out the oppressing system,” he continued.
Another forum entitled “Journalism: Sugarcoating the bitter truth”, focused on informing Grade 11 students of the plights of many journalists in covering news. The speakers gave special significance to journalism’s biases in present times, how journalists perceive and write information, and how there is an innate bias in selecting what stories deserve to be heard. They also touched upon the recent ubiquity of sensationalism and fake news in journalism.
“There was a deep-seated question on whether or not journalism actually does its purpose of sharing the truth,” said Daniel Regala of 12-A when was asked for the motives behind the projects.
The forum was especially significant with fake news’ recent prevalence. When asked what 2020 and 2019 as batches had learned, Regala added, “Though we saw that journalism will always have its pitfalls, we got reassurance that it, when used correctly by the right people, can still fulfill its purpose of sharing the truth to the masses.”
Forum on inflation
The second day for the batch started with a forum on inflation, addressing the sudden rise of the inflation rate in recent times.
“It’s about the explanation of the current abnormality of the inflation rate. It also talks about the flaws of the TRAIN Law, and the eventual actions and reactions of the people about it, especially in the advent of post-truth,” said Sir Vladimir Lopez, Economics teacher and organizer for the event, when asked for the forum’s essence.
The forum also expounded on the government’s original intent on the TRAIN Law, the reality of what happened, and how the government attempted to fix its mistakes by revising the law in TRAIN 2.
Truth Be Told Forum Series, Part 2
For the next part of the second day, the Truth be Told forum series continued with five other student-organized fora. The set of fora featured a wide variety of topics, from of environmental sustainability and the accuracy of Filipino historical film adaptations; all of which formulates to the theme of post-truth.
“I think it was a great way for students to showcase what they can do and exercise their talents in other ways. As an organizer, it’s a really great way to gain experience in management and leadership, and it also gives us a way to express our creativity that can help reinforce the theme of this festival,” said Dean Solano from Block D when asked for his opinion on the student-organized forums.
“Learning about this industry from professionals and other students kind of makes you put into perspective what the media really means to them and how it affects you. Even though the talk was really long, the topic became very relatable as a consumer of media, and as someone who did enjoy the theme of the fest overall and the forum was very in line with it,” continued Solano.
When Carlo Recio of Block 11-D was asked for the effectivity of the student-organized projects and events, he said, “I think it provided a learning experience for the Grade 11 students to be more resourceful and more creative with ways to make finding the truth an engaging activity.”
When asked about the significance of student-organization as opposed to PSHS-organization, he added, “The same speakers we had now would most likely have not been the same. This is because there doesn’t exist, within those who manage the school, the same liberal sentiment within the students that factored in to the decision-making with regards to the finding of speakers.”
Creativity Day Workshops
For the third day, the students of Batch 2020 had their respective Creativity Day workshops. Creativity Day workshops gave Grade 11 the liberty to choose and sometimes create their own workshops.
With a plethora of hobbies, ranging from a tutorial on tattooing to a Cosplay workshop, the batch had many workshops to choose from that suited their interests.
“Personally, organizing my own workshop made me feel that I was really a part of the Humanities Festival. During Creativity Day, I was also able to conduct my first calligraphy workshop with some of my friends and I think that this day was really worth all the time and effort. I’m actually glad that this year’s Hum Week allowed students such as myself to have this one of a kind experience of sharing talents through their own workshops,” said Czarlise Alcantara, organizer of the Calligraphy Workshop for Grades 10 to 12.
Student Jano Cadiz of 11-G shared the same sentiment saying, he found this years humanities week different. “I played a different role, rather than being merely a participant, I was also an organizer,“ said Cadiz.
He added, “I think being an organizer really helps you appreciate everything a little bit more. You can empathize with the difficulties in planning events. It just seemed more grounded and relevant to me as an individual, to Pisay as a community, and to the Philippines as a country.”
After the universal lunch break, all the batches proceed to the gym for the Closing Ceremony.
On the stage, the winners of the OPM Music Performance, Block B, performed their song, “Tagu-taguan”.
The winners of the batch’s Essay Writing competitions were also recognized. Nicolas Jardiolin and Florence Agcaoili were the second and first runner-up respectively, with Carlos Montemayor getting overall champion.