A testament to the unending hope of the Filipino people in the face of tragedy
The Manila Bulletin UPLIFT Awards honors and celebrates individuals and institutions whose efforts to unite, perform, lead, and inspire put focus on particular issues that trended and were of utmost importance during the past year. This year’s awarding, its first, will be held on April 7, Thursday, 6 p.m. at the Maynila Ballroom of the Manila Hotel. The awardees will be receiving an iconic trophy, designed by artist Kublai Millan and interior designer Willie Garcia, which reflects the unending hope of the Filipino people in the face of tragedy.
Seeing the macro, the top design was molded from bullet shells and other metal remnants that were part of the Marawi Siege aftermath. Also known as the Marawi Crisis and the Battle of Marawi, the devastating event left a trail of death and destruction. With the militants forcibly displacing 98 percent of the total population of the city as well as residents from nearby municipalities, the Philippine government decided to put an end to the damage that they have brought to our nation. It was a five-month-long armed confrontation between government forces and pro-ISIS militants which started in the month of March 2017.
“It’s a combination of a mountain, a cloud, and a dove. The triangle is an arrow pointing upward, a mountain-like pattern used by some tribes in Mindanao. Below it, is my iconic ‘Lullaby,’ symbolizing the cloud and the dove, carrying our hopes and dreams. Champions of society have risen up above it, like mountains carrying the burdens of the world,” says artist Kublai, one of the founders of the Mindanao Art annual festival.
Kublai is a prolific artist from Mindanao. Recognized for his larger than life sculptures such as “Kampilan” in the city of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and “Risen Christ” in the church of Tagum City, the giant Durian monument in Davao City International Airport, and the Giant Eagle seen at the People’s Park in Davao City.
The colorful and woven-like feature is made of plastic waste, twined by victims of the eruption of Taal Volcano last 2020, which spewed ashes all over Calabarzon, Metro Manila, and some parts of Central Luzon and Ilocos Region which affected more than 700,000 people.
“This trophy is made by the hands of different communities, maximizing the use of materials available for environmental conservation. This truly represents the ingenuity of Filipinos in uplifting each other in a time like the pandemic,” adds Willie, who is also a known environmentalist and founder of “eco-conscious” design firm Junk Not.
It is with no doubt that we are more than familiar with the plight of our nation. We can’t really have a perception of the outside looking in, we were all affected.
This trophy is, indeed, a medium for uplifting. This serves as a commemorative testament that marks the end of a catastrophic storm, the light at the end of a dark and ruinous tunnel. This is to honor the courage and bravery of the Filipino people that when knocked down, we stand up.