This week I viewed a digital story by Michael Lagcao who won first prize in a digital story telling contest in the Philippines open to high school and college students. Lagcao tells the story of moving from the big city of Manila to a provincial town. The story is one familiar in a way clichéd; it’s the story that so many city dwellers romanticize, the story that you will find peace and meaning in a more simple life. He does not glamorize his life in the small village but rather gives and honest and stark portrayal of life in country side, describing and filming profound poverty and drug addiction.
This piece is important to me because for some reason I have been thinking about the plight of the Philippines a lot recently. I have many Pilipino friends and they post all sorts of crazy things on Facebook that is happening right now. People being arrested protests, drug users being murdered by police, and a strange fascination and love for their new despotic leader Rodrigo Duterte. This story is a reminder that there is life and beauty in the Philippines and people just trying to live their life like any other country in the world. But it is also a reminder that we here in the United States are so blessed to live in this bubble and most of us do not experience the suffering of deep poverty and economic copse. The end of his story is the story that so many poor people tell themselves that wealth should not be measured in material possessions but rather how one lives their lives. That is a nice thought but does little to further education, health care or freedom.
I really enjoyed his Lugcao’s story but I would not say that it should have won first place. It’s a little cheesy a the video editing was a little crude. The audio levels were a little high but more important than the technical issues is his message. I agree with what he said and it was so earnest that I felt real compassion for the author.