The Philippines
Originally, visits to my wife's home country--and now my home since 2015
(more about my travels--and life--in the Philippines)

Kidlat Tahimik

During our honeymoon in May of 2007, Lila and I and our friend Adam headed up to Baguio, where Lila went to university.

We had lunch the first day at a restaurant that's part of what I call "Baguio's Vegetarian Dining Trifecta." Oh My Gulay is a veg restaurant and artspace (article and photos at Pinoy Travel Blog). More pics in Lila's Flickr album. (The other restaurants in the "Trifecta" are Bliss Cafe, owned by our great friends Jim and Shanti Isla Ward, and the venerable Cafe by the Ruins.)

Lila and Kidlat

While Adam and Lila were looking around, she ran into her old professor, Kidlat Tahimik, who has a part-interest in the restaurant.

This guy is a real a character, a promoter of the concept of the "true Filipino," uncowed by European culture. Part artist, part film director (one of his films was distributed by Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope Films), part shameless showman, he believes (according to his wife's book, Kapwa) in a return to simplicity, to traditional values, to "collective sensitivity."

For example, he calls the television "The Trojan Idiot Box," and sees it inculcating non-traditional values in the (addicted) viewers. He considers rejection of the television to be part of a 500-year "cultural resistance" on the part of Filipinos against European imperialism. (Yet, he produces video.)

When we met, he promised us a copy of the book by his wife, Katrin de Guia. When I picked it up the next day, I was delighted to discover two things.

First, his inscription read, "To Lila and James: The search for our artistic sariling dwende [inner strength] and for our Indio-genius strengths goes on...just as the way plotted out in Comm 122 [Lila's class]. Kidlat Tahimik."

And second, Dr. de Guia starts the chapter on Kidlat with references to Joseph Campbell and Mircea Eliade, both of whom I've studied and written about for years.

It was a great honor to meet this "icon" in the Filipino art and cultural scene.

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