A Message of Painting Unveiling (Pagbinayloay) at Ani sa Diyandi Event
by: Sonia Yrastorza, President of Cebu Artists, Incorporated

While it is noteworthy that we are about to celebrate the quincentennial of Magellan’s coming in 1521, and the so-called “discovery” of the Philippines, I am happier still at what we are celebrating through Celso Pepito’s art today, pre-colonial Philippines.

The roots of our identity as a people lie in the precolonial period, yet it is that time in our history, our culture, and heritage which has been much under-appreciated, practically glossed over in our history classes while we were growing up.

I remember hearing the word “sibo” when I was a little girl, visiting my grandparents’ farm. Listening to the context in which my grandma used it, I understood it to mean to acquire something ‘nakasibo’. Earlier today, I came across that word again, a Cebuano word that was one of the many versions from which Cebu got its name. This time, the meaning was clearer, more specific, that is “to trade”. In other words, pagbinayloay.

One simple word “sibo” whose meaning I learned today. But how much of our history, our culture and heritage do we not know?

I am thankful for Palm Grass Hotel’s advocacy. By highlighting our heritage, it encourages Cebuanos to learn more about our roots.

But you know oftentimes, history would seem like a boring subject, unless we can truly relate to it, which is when it then becomes interesting.

When one sees archaeological artifacts from the Sung, Yuan, and Ming dynasties, one would better appreciate how, before the Spaniards came, our people already had a religion or religions, how we had a way of writing and had a thriving trade with our neighboring Asian countries, and how we practiced binayloay (trading).

It is to be hoped that Celso’s painting will help us become more aware of our history and culture, and we would have a platform for more binayloay, of ideas, and most especially in the arts.

-A message from Sonia Yrastorza, President of Cebu Artists, Inc.