Bongamas, putaktakey, and sinabilao – that is red, white, and blue for you in the Maranao, Kankanay, and Bicolano dialects of The Philippines. Sounds magical, doesn’t it? 

These I learned from an excellent exhibit at the Ayala Museum over the weekend focused on colors as a part of the Filipino heritage. 

My mind exploded with unicorn juice as I marveled at our local pantone. I especially loved the local names – Ampai, Pusikit, Binlak, Kayumanggi, Salungayngay. It is completely ours. And the symbols chosen for each! Incredible. 

Also, the descriptions are phenomenal. You can only talk so much about black, pink, and green but the narration perfectly hits the heart of the colors. What they stand for. Where they apply in life. 

I loved how it identified Black with the deeply religious Philippine society, and Pink not with fragility but strength. Green is ripeness and decay while Brown is the color of my race – and I am infinitely proud of it. 

My, my, my. What a great treat. I just chanced upon the exhibit while my friend was introducing me to Pokemon Go and this is the best thing to come out of four hours of continuous walking. 

To end, I borrow the words of local poet Alejandro Abadilla: One’s soul can be black (or clean) but soul has no color. There lies our redemption. 

20 thoughts on “HERE LIES REDEMPTION

    1. hi, yes it is nice to see something that is completely ours. far too often our heritage takes a back seat flooded by western influence. poeple forget how lovely and unique we are and have always been.


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