A bowl is a vessel like a bangka canoe is a vessel

A bowl carries my love from my heart and my hands to your hands to your lips to your heart

Like a bangka carries our culture from our homeland to the diaspora and around again

I carve our ancient script baybayin onto the bowl to hold blessings all day and night buong araw at gabi

We carve our songs onto the bangka to carry our prayers through the waters

"A stone in the water, a woman in a canoe, a canoe in the water"

Our Tongva-Acjachemen sister sings us a canoe song she wrote in her Mother Language for the sacred Canoe Journey

The song reminds me of the game “tao, bangka, bagyo” that we like to play together

We weave our stories and prayers through our songs, our games, our canoes,

Babaylan indigenous healer, bangka canoe, bagyo storm,

Our heart, Our culture, Our love,

In honor of the Babae, the Divine Feminine, the Sacred Vessel,

We weave, we carve, we sail,


Grace Villarin Dueñas

Photo notes (top to bottom):  First two photos were taken on Sun, May 12th Mother’s Day; 1.  Maquette of a bigiw which was originally carved by Alexis Canillo (Pomo/Bisayan), and now entrusted to me by Bangka Journey.  Shown here with the tools to measure the proportions before beginning to water and carve out the red cedar.  Since May, I’ve been watering the maquette and covering it in the same way that we’ve been taking care of the bangka;  2. Leng Leng carving a paddle next to the covered bankga, while L. Frank Manriquez (Tongva/Acjachemem) shares a song she wrote for the plank canoe that they are making in the California Canoe tradition; 3. BA, hand-thrown bowl with the assistance of my Teacher Larry Henderson.


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