Know Your North: “Ang Pag-aalsang Basi” and “The UNESCO Heritage Sites of Ilocos”

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To mark the 215th anniversary of the Basi Revolt of 1807, the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) and Victory Liner, Inc. (VLI) will screen the films “Ang Pag-aalsang Basi” and “The UNESCO Heritage Sites of Ilocos” at the National Museum on October 26, 2022.

“Ang Pag-aalsang Basi” is a feature about the early 19th century uprising, when Ilocano folk from Piddig and other northern Ilocos towns marched southward towards the provincial capital of Vigan to protest against a Spanish-imposed ban on the private manufacture of basi, the traditional sugarcane wine. The group, with Pedro Mateo and Saralogo Ambaristo at the helm, was met at Bantaoay river in San Ildefonso by a Spanish-led army, consisting of the military, natives and mestizos, ready to quell the uprising. The ensuing battle that lasted a day ended in a victory for the colonial forces.

Esteban Villanueva, a mestizo from Vigan, is claimed to have received a commission from the Spanish colonial authority to paint a series of 14 paintings commemorating the events of the 1807 Basi Revolt in 1821, fourteen years after the insurrection. The appropriately called “The Basi Revolt” series, which is currently on exhibit in the south wing of the Old Carcel Museum inside the Ilocos Regional Museum Complex in the Heritage City of Vigan, was proclaimed a National Cultural Treasure in 2009.

Using images from the 14 oil paintings, the documentary by filmmaker Gabriel Malvar, narrates the events from September 16 to September 29 in 1807, which culminated in the eventual death of the rebel leaders.

The NMP and VLI collaborated on “Ang Pag-aalsang Basi” to raise public awareness of both the historical events and the artifacts that chronicle those episodes. The initiative is a component of the NMP’s celebration of the artworks’ bicentennial anniversary in 2021.

“The UNESCO Heritage Sites of Ilocos” spotlights the historic city of Vigan and the baroque churches of Paoay and Sta. Maria, World Heritage Sites designated by UNESCO in the Philippines. These heritage properties are of the utmost universal value, embodying a distinctive and incomparable legacy, and exhibiting an exceptional creative accomplishment from the Spanish colonial period.

“The UNESCO Heritage Sites of Ilocos” won the Best History and Heritage Award at the 2021 Croatia Tourism Film Festival and the Silver Award for Tourism Product Category at the International Tourism Film Festival Africa 2022. The film is expressed from the perspective of a Spaniard who looks back fondly at the outcome of a shared history and the interchange of diverse cultures.

“Ang Pag-aalsang Basi” and “The UNESCO Heritage Sites of Ilocos” were both directed by Gabriel Malvar and are episodes of the “Know Your North” series. Know your North is an initiative led by VLI to document and archive the rich culture and traditions of the northern region. The themes are environmental protection, heritage preservation, and cultural elevation. The narratives are curated, co-produced, and directed by Mr. Malvar under his outfit, The Extra Mile Productions.

The event will be held at Gallery 1, 2F, National Museum of Anthropology and will start at 2:30pm.

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