Sunday, April 17, 2005

I never thought of myself as a genre-bender or a multi-genre memorist but I like the sound of both.

Since the Babaylan word is on the book's title, I've been thinking of Bullet Marasigan who died five years ago, April 18th. There will be a celebration of her life at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco tomorrow. I was asked to talk about "Bullet as Babaylan" but I couldn't be physically present so I just sent in my short talk. Hopefully, someone will read it on my behalf.

I think of Bullet as Babaylan because she wasn't only known for healing the physically sick, she was also a healer of other forms of illness -- social injustice, human rights violations, denial of Fil Am veterans benefits, civil rights abuses. She spent her life in the Philippines and in the Bay Area involved on so many fronts -- as an educator, activist, lobbyist, writer, advocate, organizer, spiritual leader. She was indefatigable. I never saw her tired. Her sense of humor always a source of levity amidst such grievous concerns in the Fil Am community and beyond.

As the Babaylan of old was also a healer/therapist, mediator, and a revolutionary warrior of her time, so is the contemporary Babaylan like Bullet. May there be many more like her.

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