Kublai Millan's Beast of Burden

The carabao: the Filipino farmers’ ubiquitous companion made to carry the weight of the plough as it cracks the earth tamped to a solid mass by the summer’s heat, the brawn to bring the harvest out from remote farmlands to the market, the vehicle that needs no gassing up, and the seasonal source of glory during town fiestas after winning a race.

As the most reliable transport, it too has carried its own share of the sick and dying from out of the remote vastness of farmlands many in the cities have not even visited.

Made of discarded hospital beds of a public hospital, these carabaos are a monument to the sufferings of the poorest. These beds served many who were not able to sustain the cost of medication that would have brought them back to health. Much as public hospitals and public health workers strive to serve all, there will always be more than they can possibly handle as the rural folks survive in near invisibility while the city folks hog majority of the services and conveniences.

The monument is an invitation to spare a moment to connect with those that produce the food we eat. These carabaos afford the viewer the opportunity to ponder on life stripped of the conveniences of urban development, literally down to the steel frame. Inside the bigger carabao is an old hospital bed laid bare, for anyone to lie on and feel how it is to be lying down in the bowels of the beast of burden, on a bed where the poorest of the poor have lain, and be thankful for what he has within his reach.