The Pala’wan: A Long Standing Humanity [fr]

The Embassy of France to the Philippines, together with Alliance Française de Manille, the Museum of the History of Ideas, Jewelmer, TAO Inc., University of the Philippines, Save Palawan Seas Foundation and the National Museum, invites you to an event entitled “The Pala’wan, A Long Standing Humanity” on February 23 and 24, 2016. This multi-disciplinary event features the works and discoveries of pre-historians, anthropologists and artists resulting from French-Philippine cooperation on the island of Palawan.

All events are open to the public and are free of charge.



Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Alliance Française de Manille, 209 Nicanor Garcia St., Bel-Air II, Makati City

10:30am - 11:30pm Film screening
"Les deux fils du chaman" (1998, 56 mins)
Discussion with film director, Pierre Boccanfuso
11:45am - 12:30pm Opening of Ink Drawings by Anna Fer
Presentation of Pala’wan Highlanders Crafts and Culture by Norli Colili
12:30pm - 2:00pm Break
2:00pm - 3:30pm Film screening
"Le chaman, son neveu... et le capitaine" (2008, 87 mins)
4:00pm - 5:00pm Film screening
"Y a-t-il un chaman dans l’Ethnie ?" (2014, 52 mins)
Discussion with film director, Pierre Boccanfuso
5:15pm - 5:45pm Presentation of Save Palawan Seas Foundation, Inc., to be followed by discussions

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

How the Pala’wan inhabit their world?
A long insight by Filipino & French pre-historians, anthropologists, and artists
Venue: Museum of the History of Ideas, UP Manila Museum Building, Padre Faura St., Ermita, Manila

5:00pm - 6:00pm Part I: Explorations in pre-history
- Dr. Hermine Xauflair (MNHN - Institut de Paléontologie Humaine)
- Dr. Eusebio Dizon (National Museum of the Philippines)
- Dr. Victor Paz (Archeological Studies Program, University of the Philippines)
- The first inhabitants of Palawan and the contribution of present local knowledge to understand the past
- Discussions
6:45pm - 7:30pm Part II: Explorations in the ethnography of speaking
- Dr. Nicole Revel (CNRS-MNHN, Site du Musée de l’homme)
- Digital Humanities: Pala’wan Highlanders’ Verbal Arts
- Discussions

March 1 to April 29, 2016

Photography exhibit: La Vallée / The Valley by Pierre de Vallombreuse
Venue: Alliance Française de Manille, 209 Nicanor Garcia St., Bel-Air II, Makati City




Emeritus Director of Research at the CNRS, Dr. Nicole Revel, linguist and ethnologist, began her research in Palawan on the prehistoric site of the Tabon Caves in 1970, in collaboration with Charles Macdonald, anthropologist, at the invitation of Dr. Robert B. Fox, ethnologist and archaeologist, then Director of the Department of Anthropology and Prehistory of the National Museum of Manila. After working on the language and the local knowledge about Nature in collaboration with the Highlanders, she has undertaken an extensive work on the literatures of voice, the art of speech and performance. From 1991 to 2001, Nicole Revel has coordinated a French-Filipino Program collecting and safeguarding epics and ballads, an extremely rich intangible heritage among 15 national cultural communities in the archipelago.

Since 1969, Nicole Revel collaborates with the University of the Philippines where she has taught, as well as with Ateneo de Manila University. Thanks to the support of the French Embassy, long sung narratives have been recorded and videotaped in situ, transcribed and translated in collaboration with Filipino ethnologists and 25 knowledgeable native speakers. Since 2011, an extensive collection of epics and ballads sung by 69 singers of tales has been housed at the Ateneo Archives. Then Nicole Revel was requested to conceive and realize a website. It was launched by Ateneo in January 2011, and since then is monitored by the Rizal Library: (Access free).

In her attempt to show the Pala’wan very presence to the World, she has created a synergy between sounds and images, speech, songs and music performances. She will select some excerpts of a set of 10 DVD-Roms plus a booklet (in press).


Hermine Xhauflair is a prehistorian who has been introduced to the Pala ’wan Highlanders by Dr. Nicole Revel. She has conducted studies in ethnoscience in Southeast Palawan, and is involved in the study of archaeological sites in Tabon Cave (Southwest of the island) and Ille Cave (North of the island) in close collaboration with archaeologists from the National Museum and the Archeological Studies Program of the University of the Philippines Diliman, including Pr. Victor Paz and Dr. Eusebio Dizon.

They will introduce the archaeology of the island which will be followed by a presentation by Hermine Xhauflair about the study of current practices of plant processing – as a mean to shed some light on the activities of a distant Past. Her presentation will be accompanied by several videos taken in situ in 2011-2012 and 2015 which she edited herself.


A research engineer at CNRS, Pierre Boccanfuso started his career in the private sector as a cameraman, editor and director of documentary films. In 1994, he decided to focus on ethnographic documentary films and work with anthropologists, including Charles Macdonald. Abandoning the conventional notion of film crew, he decides to film alone to give priority to full immersion and trusting relationship with local people. In 2000, benefitting from his previous work, he lands a position as the audiovisual director at CNRS. The films he has written and directed are being used in visual anthropology for university students (France, Philippines, and Taiwan), CNRS researchers and engineers, student research units (France, Vietnam) and Institut Français (Morocco). His films were also presented at various seminars (CNRS, EHESS, Musée de l’Homme) and conferences (Musée du quai Branly, Cinema du Réel Festival, Université d’Eté, Alliance Française).

The documentary films directed by Pierre Boccanfuso, are broadcasted not only in academic and research circles but also by TV channels and international documentary film festivals. They contribute to the dissemination, promotion and visibility of the CNRS work and the expansion of the research units to which they are linked.

Pierre Boccanfuso wrote and directed a trilogy about a populace Pala’wan: “Les Deux fils du Chaman” (The Two sons of the shaman) (56’) (1998), “Le Chaman, son neveu…et le capitaine” (The Shaman, his nephew and the captain) (87’) (2008) and “Y a-t-il un chaman dans l’ethnie?” (52’) (2014) (Is there a shaman in the ethnic group?). He received various awards in international festivals of documentary films, including a nomination in the prestigious Cinéma du Réel (Paris) and the Grand Prize in the Festival du Film de Chercheur (Nancy). This trilogy, broadcasted on the television, tells us of the life of the Pala’wan over two decades (1994-2014) with the same characters growing old on screen.


Dr. Eusebio Dizon started working in prehistoric archaeology in 1977 at the National Museum of the Philippines and received formal academic training (PhD) in Archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania and specialized in Archaeometallurgy. He was the founding Director of the Archaeological Studies Program, University of the Philippines, Diliman in 1995. To date, as a Scientist III of the National Museum of the Philippines, he is coordinating, participating and conducting archaeological researches on Paleolithic, Neolithic, the Metal Age and Protohistoric periods as well as in Underwater and Maritime archaeology. He is currently working on several international research projects, including about the Prehistory of Palawan Island with the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle of Paris where he is also involved in the teaching of Master and PhD students.


Pr Victor Paz is professor at the Archaeological Studies Program, University of the Philippines, Diliman, where he got a chair after his PhD at the University of Cambridge and is the President of the Southeast Asian Commission of the UISPP (International Union of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences). He is interested in Southeast Asian and Pacific archaeology and in further advancing archaeobotanical studies in the region with the objective of elucidating human-plant and human-landscape relationships in the past. Studying transforming cultural consciousness and cosmologies and their materiality in Southeast

Asian and Oceanic cultures is also a standing interest for him. He is involved in several international fieldwork projects in the Philippines, including the Palawan Island Paleohistoric Project that he directs. Like Dr. Dizon, he is actively involved in the teaching program of the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle of Paris.


As a visual artist, Anna Fer has dealt with the themes of woman and definitions of power, the environment, the political situation of martial law, and anthropology.

Anna Fer joined ethnolinguist Dr. Nicole Revel in the highlands of Palawan south of Brooke’s Point where she did field drawings and photography. She wrote and illustrated her experience "Among the Palawan of Mantalingahan Mountain" which was published in the Filipinas Journal of Science and Culture, Vol.3, in 1982.

In 1983, a collaborative exhibit, “Palawan Highlands - Ink Drawings and Oral Tradition” opened at Heritage Art Center in Cubao. Dr. Revel’s book “Kudaman: une Epopée Palawan Chantée par Usuj “was launched in this occasion. Among the artworks were a set of ink drawings set out in a sequence, images that document the rice wine ritual, a ritual that involves trance and collective drinking. Anna Fer also illustrated "The Jombee Dance of Monserrat - A Study of Trance Ritual in the West Indies" by Jay D. Dobbin Ohio University Press: Columbus 1986) and "Marxism in the Philippines - the Marx Centennial Lectures"(Third World Studies Center, University of the Philippines 1984). The height of this creative collaboration culminated in “Pananaw Palawan: Perceptions and Expressions”, a major ethnographic exhibition at the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ Museo ng Kalinangang Pilipino in 1991. The book “Fleurs de Paroles Histoire Naturelle Palawan” in three volumes contains the ink drawings and photo-graphs of Anna Fer.

Currently, Anna Fer has been working on a research on the material culture of the indigenous of southeastern Mindanao through the permanent collection of the Davao museum. Anna Fer has exhibited at the Asian Museum of San Francisco (At Home and Abroad - 20 Contemporary Philippine Artists in 1988 and in the Cuba Biennale in 1986; she is in the collection of the Ateneo Art Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum, and is archived in ALIWW (Ateneo Library of Women Writers).


Norli Colili is a Pala’ wan member of the NGO “Non Timber Forest Products” (NTFP) and co-founder of “Tinkep”. For many years, she leads various actions combining local economic development, protection of the forest, rise of traditional handicraft as well as the defense of her cultural community Rights.

She will present objects and other crafts made from the plant world and representative of Pala’wan culture.


For 30 years, Pierre de Vallombreuse presents, through photography, presents life in the little valley of Singnapan, home to a community of Pala’wan, the Taw Batu, the "Rockshelter People”. They practice a seasonal variation by taking refuge in caves and natural formations during the rainy season. By doing so, they seek protection from Master Thunder who frightens them.

An exhibition of the photographs by Pierre de Vallombreuse showing the beauty of Nature and its Humanity, will be held at the Alliance Française de Manille. The exhibition’s opening night is on the 1st of March, at the Alliance Total Gallery and will run until the 29th of April, 2016.


The Save Palawan Seas Foundation Inc. works to preserve the environment in Palawan and to improve the living conditions of the local communities. By sharing its experience, the Foundation will provide an invaluable insight on the economic, environmental and social issues that the island is currently confronted with. (TBC).

Dernière modification : 29/02/2016

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