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Daan Patungong Tawaya: What is it about?

Seen the posters, but not quite sure what is it about. The ‘Daan Patungong Tawaya’ poster has been up in cinemas but not much is known about the film. What is it about? Should we watch it? Will it provide another story to what we already knew in history books? Daan Patungong Tawaya, Road to Paradise is one of the four finalists of Sinesaysay Documentary Lab and Showcase 2018 funded by the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. It is also supported by the Commission on Higher Education and the University of the Philippines Visayas.

The full-length documentary is from ERK Productions, the same team that made it to the 2018 Busan International Film Festival with “Lugta ke Tamama” (Land from God). Last year, FDCP and NHCP set out to create Sinesaysay Documentary Lab and Showcase with the objectives of highlighting the often-unvisited events in our history that has shaped the country to what it is today. The project also sought to inspire a sense of nationalism and may want to consider among others, some feminist movements in the Philippines. Furthermore, the project required that a historian be part of the film as a consultant to verify the story’s facts and authenticity.

Thus, “Daan Patungong Tawaya” was created.

John Barrios, Historian. As a History major from UPVisayas, John Barrios who eventually earned his PhD in Filipino – Panitikan, has always been interested in Western Visayas culture and literature. He is a part-time Commissioner of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino and currently sits as the Chair of the Professional Education of College of Arts and Sciences of UP Visayas.

More than 10 years ago, John Barrios together with Melchor Cichon and Dominador Ilio wrote “The Katipunan in Aklan. The book featured the little known 19 Martyrs of Aklan and their General, Francisco del Castillo from Bantayan, Cebu. These are the men who started one of the biggest Katipunan movements outside Luzon.

“Daan Patungong Tawaya” is about them including the Babaylans, the Shamans who were the women and the important role they played in the shaping of our nation.

“History has never been perfectly rational.”
– Reynaldo Clemeña Ileto

Preparing for the death anniversary of the 19 Martyrs, John Barrios unearths his research and encounters other educators and historians. Among them is Reynaldo Ileto who believes that the understanding of our history should not only be within the pages of written documents, but should also include our understanding of oral tradition.

And so we take on a different road. While there are also women heroes, Philippine history can be considered male-centric. Little has been known, or hardly are there serious discussions about the important aspects of babaylanism in our history and in relation to the revolution.

We also go beyond the discussion of war as we further move on to the positive portrayal of babaylans as animists and what our country might have been if not for the revolution. At this time of technological trappings and digital warfares, we can only aspire what we once were and how the country was when it was at peace by itself. This was our Tawaya and the road trip that this documentary will take and will bring us there. And interestingly, the film is a multi-media rendition of this unvisited event in our history. The film combines live-action, animation and comics.

Daan Patungong Tawaya Writer, Director. Kevin Pison Piamonte is a Hollywood trained writer and has won in the FDCP screenwriting competition. His first full-length documentary, “Lugta ke Tamama” (Land from God), about the Indigenous People in Boracay represented the Philippines in the 2018 Busan International Film Festival. “Daan Patungong Tawaya” is his second full-length documentary. Kevin Pison Piamonte teaches Communication and Media Studies at the University of the Philippines Visayas. He is with the Division of Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences. He specializes in advertising and film courses.

Daan Patungong Tawaya Co-Writer, Co-Director. John Raymund “JR” Macahilas was a one of the pioneer graduates of the Film Leaders of the Youth (FLY) and Japan Re-J programs, both of which are sponsored by the Asian Film Commission’s Network. He was a winner of the Sineng Pambansa Unang Yugto Screenplay Competition, which qualified him as one of the finalists for the Film Festival with his first full-length film, “Ang Mga Aswang”. His first film project was a short film entitled “Sa Direksyon ni Makoy: The Final Cut”. It is a material that discussed congenital AIDS, in line with the Maternal-child Healthcare theme of the Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival. In the said competition, the short film bagged the Jury Award for Best Short Film. He is a graduate of BA Communication and Media Studies from UPVisayas. Currently, he is the Head of the Creative and Communication Division of Team OnGround Integrated.

Director of Photography. Emmanuel Lerona was featured in Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho for putting into focus the little known rice terraces in San Remigio, Antique. A lecturer at the University of the Philippines Visayas, he is also a street photographer and has mounted exhibitions.

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