KARP: Manila Transitio 1945

A view of the Philippine, American, and Japanese flags at half mastA view of the flags from inside the La Castellana

The climax of our trip, was our participation to Carlos Celdran's annual Manila Transitio. It is his way of giving thanks to the city that he loves. February to March was the period of time in which Manila was decimated by a war with the Americans and Japanese. I decided early on that I would like to honour those lives which were lost in the fight. I wanted to have flags made, and have them side by side by side on flag poles, at half mast, beside a baseball diamond which I would recreate.

The forecast a week before the show's date, said spotty thunderstorms. The day before was fairly good, gray sky but no rain. The morning of, I peek out the window and it was pouring. After some scrambling, an indoor venue was located, still Intramuros, close to Manila Cathedral. La Castellana is a bit fancier than the outdoor venue of Fort Santiago, but it's better than nothing. And with that, I had to alter my piece, and hang them accordingly.

Tables were set up, the band was rehearsing, art was being installed, and caterers were prepping; the show goes on. The question on mine and everyone else's mind was "Are we gonna be  able to light the floating lanterns?" At the end of the night after good food, cool installations and a great set by Mel Villena's big band AMP, the rain let up, and we went out and set the magic in motion.

Releasing of lanterns as the night cleared up during Manila TransitioLanterns floated up into the Manila sky

Being in the Philippines for roughly three weeks, I could not help but notice the resourcefulness, DIY nature of just about everything around me. I thought it would be fitting that I do the same, to take simple everyday objects and create something new. In the end, it was the various colored rice sacks that I decided to use to create my flags.

My hunt ended up at the San Andres Market asking various lola's in their rice stands for "saccos," in various colors. I thought it would be a nice thing to go to one of the local tailors to stitch my flag; however my search for a tailor was futile. No one would touch these rice sacks, as the moment you cut them, the edges just fall apart. So, I had to improvise, using a soldering gun to cut out my shapes sans fraying, and constructing the flags myself.

The process of making flags from multi-coloured rice sacs, starting from the market, all the way to soldering.