By Carlito Pablo
Mona Lavina says there’s something to be learned from a Filipino folk story about a monkey and a turtle who found a banana tree floating on a river.
The Kelowna-based curator of Filipino culture and heritage explains that it relates to “carefully discerning in life what is valuable in the long run”.
“It’s about the wisdom in choosing what in life will truly bear fruit in the end,” Lavina notes in a written interview.
Lavina is the founder of the Filipino Canadian Art Museum, a digital platform that celebrates Philippine culture and heritage. Since its creation in 2019, the site has featured events, exhibits, and Filipino artists in Canada.
“It has been amazing to see how we are able to use the tools of technology. We see our work evolve with it each year,” Lavina states. “I’m also so happy to have made connections with many talented Filipinos.
“They inspire me so much and I’m excited to see how the community continues to thrive in Canada.”
Lavina is one of the presenters in BC Culture Days, which runs until October 15.
Culture Days are also happening simultaneously across the country, in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Alberta, and New Brunswick.
On October 14, Lavina’s animated tale, “The Tale of the Monkey and the Turtle”, will show at 10 a.m. online on the BC Culture Days website.
In this Filipino anecdote, a monkey and a turtle find a banana tree floating on a river, and each planted their half. A half of the tree died, but the other with roots lived and bore fruit.
Lavina notes that one can “learn so much about life from what becomes of that tree”.
Daughters support Lavina
She will narrate the tale in English and Filipino, introducing non-Filipino speaking audiences to the national language of the Philippines.
What makes the presentation of “The Tale of the Monkey and the Turtle” in BC Culture Days extra special for the Filipino cultural curator is that it’s a collaboration between her and her two teenage daughters.
Her eldest daughter, Clara, rendered the watercolour artwork for the story, and her youngest, Anya, brought the story to life with music and animation.
“This project captures everything I love about our work in promoting Filipino heritage and arts in Canada: the joy of sharing our culture through storytelling and immersive experiences, and the creative use of our individual talents to serve the community,” Lavina says.
Lavina, Clara, and Anya also teach Filipino language and culture in their local community under the auspices of the Okanagan Filipino Canadian Society.
The lessons run monthly throughout the school year, Lavina says, adding that classes include Filipino folktales, like the one about the monkey and the turtle.
“The Tale of the Monkey and the Turtle” will be screened online at 10 a.m. on October 14 on the BC Culture Days website. Follow Carlito Pablo on Twitter @carlitopablo. Follow Pancouver on Twitter @PancouverMedia and on Instagram @PancouverMedia. Visit the Filipino Canadian Art Museum website or on Facebook or Instagram.