200-year old Basi Revolt paintings take centerstage in Victory Liner’s award-winning cultural series

In 1807, a number of Ilocano townsfolk marched towards the provincial capital of Vigan to protest against a 20-plus-year-old Spanish-imposed colonial ban on the private manufacture of basi wine. The group, led by Pedro Mateo and Saralogo Ambaristo, were met by a Spanish-led army to counter the challenge. Thus ensued a battle that lasted a day and ended in victory for the colonial forces.

This was the Basi Revolt of 1807.

And in 1821, a 14-series painting depicting the details of the said revolt was finished by one Esteban Villanueva y Pichay; he is said to be a landowner, businessman, a descendant of a notable mestizo family, and conversely, an artist.

On the historic artworks’ bicentennial anniversary this 2021, the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) and prominent local transport company Victory Liner, Inc. (VLI) come together to feature this culturally significant piece not just as a static exhibit, but as a dynamic and visually compelling documentary.

NMP Director-General Jeremy Barns and VLI President and General Manager Marivic Del Pilar led the signing of the agreement to produce this documentary last July 2nd, with the Deputy Director-General for Museums Ana Labrador, and award-winning documentary filmmaker Gabriel Malvar as witnesses.

Know Your North with the National Museum of the Philippines: [L-R] Deputy Director-General for Museums Ana Labrador, National Museum of the Philippines Director-General Jeremy Barns, Victory Liner Inc President and General Manager Marivic Del Pilar, and award-winning documentary filmmaker Gabriel Malvar signed the agreement that would feature the culturally-significant Basi Revolt paintings by Esteban Pichay Villanueva in a new Know Your North episode, right in time for the 14-part paintings’ bicentennial anniversary.

“Victory Liner is so proud to be part of this historic project. These days, victory over challenges and over hardship is what we must celebrate and aim for. The Basi Revolt was a significant event in the history of the North and we in Victory Liner, advocate the deeper understanding of events that have influenced the way we live today.” said Ms. Del Pilar.

The Basi Revolt Bicentennial

After a permanent loan agreement with the Ilocos Sur Cultural and Historical Foundation, the NMP has since enhanced the safeguarding of this national cultural treasure, investigating its origins, establishing a framework for its conservation, and curating the conditions necessary for its lasting preservation.

On its bicentennial on September 2021, the 14 paintings of the Basi Revolt, permanently housed at the Old Carcel Museum of the NMP Ilocos Regional Museum Complex, will be showcased in Victory Liner’s award-winning Know Your North docu-series, under the care of Gabriel Malvar and The Extra Mile Productions.

“I’d already conveyed my interest in featuring The Basi Revolt in Know Your North to [Dr Labrador] last year, and the Victory Liner team agreed that it was an excellent idea, too,” Malvar explained. Plans were finalized after the launch of the digital version of the Basi Revolt paintings monograph in September of 2020. On a related note, the launch of the printed version of “The Basi Revolt by Esteban Villanueva” monograph commenced in May 2021, with another monograph set for publication in September of this year. This monograph will focus on eminent Ilocanos’ reflections and perspectives, influenced by their own community origins. This was previewed in the NMP Ilocos Regional Museum Complex’s social media page last year.

The Know Your North feature will air on the first week of October 2021 on Victory Liner’s      YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Continuing on to ‘Know Your North’

In line with the National Museum’s mandate as an educational, scientific, and cultural institution, The Basi Revolt feature is another win for advocating the appreciation and preservation of Filipino culture. And with the pandemic limiting most peoples’ in-person experiences, the new Know Your North episode comes at the perfect time. Even without an in-museum tour,  the 200-year-old work of art can still be experienced and appreciated by a wider audience.

“We hope they will like our docu-piece and find in themselves a deeper understanding and appreciation of our culture and history. If it touches their hearts, then we are ‘victorious.’” Ms. Del Pilar added.

Victory Liner’s award-winning “Know Your North” series began in 2017, bringing to life the company’s advocacy to document Northern Luzon’s wealth of cultures and traditions, as well as to foster cultural awareness. More than just buses traversing extensive routes, Know Your North is VLI’s extension of transporting people to destinations where they can experience the culture, meet the locals, and truly gain a deeper knowledge of the places they set foot.

Available on YouTube and Facebook, the VLI “Know Your North” videos serve to inspire a deeper appreciation for Philippine heritage so that Filipinos, in turn, are moved into action towards environmental protection and heritage preservation.

For more information, please contact Ms. Rosette Crelencia at 0932 153 8491 or email [email protected].