Friday, September 11, 2009
BATTLE OF PULANG LUPA MURAL
In various stages of action, scenes from the celebrated Battle of Pulang Lupa are depicted on a concrete horizontal mural that stands before the historical marker on a mountaintop in Torrijos, Marinduque.
This site is located at the mountainside boundary of barangays Bolo and Poctoy. Standing there on a clear day, one sees the breathtaking view of the Bondoc peninsula, Polo, Mongpong Islands and Salomague Island to the left, as well as the mangrove forests at the northeast side of Marinduque mainland. To the right along the coast, one sees nestled there the quiet town of Torrijos with the northern side of Mt. Malindig standing steeply in the background. Steep is the meaning of her name. The 180-degree panorama viewed from the ‘battle site’ may well be one of the most spectacular landscapes one could ever find in this island-province.
The Pulang Lupa sculptural mural was created by Apolinario Bulaong of Bulacan. He also did the Gregorio del Pilar bigger-than-life equestrian sculpture that guards the Battle of Tirad Pass historical site, and another mural on the heroism of del Pilar that now stands at the plaza of Bulacan, Bulacan where the national hero came from.
The Battle of Pulang Lupa mural was conceptualized by Bulaong with the help of researchers from the National Historical Institute. It is composed of sixty concrete blocks joined together conveying images of the bloody battle that appears to carry a political point of view, as art depicting historical events often does.
Divided into five sets of twelve frames, the first set shows men appearing to be engaged in stockpiling supplies with the use of a carabao-drawn cart as the beast of burden rests under a coconut tree. A sailboat is seen in the background. All these appear to suggest the men's occupation.
The second set of frames shows American soldiers walking right into an ambush with one barefoot Filipino soldier appearing to throw a rock into an enemy riding on horseback while his comrades aim their rifle towards the intruders.
The next frame shows the battle developing into a man-to-man combat with Filipino soldiers gaining the upper hand. The next set shows an American down on his knees with his right arm surrendering his rifle, as local soldiers are seen in the background raising their arms in glee. Half naked men are shown with hands tied up and huddled below a church tower in what looks like artistic license applied profusely.
The last set shows a pile of captured firearms with a Filipino soldier pointing to the items with his bolo. As the captives are led away an eagle spreads his wings to fly and the narrative of imagined images ends there.