Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe that I do not want it.
Now I understand 
why the old poets of China went so far
and high 
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
"The Old Poets of China" by Mary Oliver

Photo: The staff and students of the UP Asian Center, as well as the alumnae of TriCollege PhD Philippine Studies Program

The staff and students of the UP Asian Center, as well as the alumnae of TriCollege PhD Philippine Studies Program presented their research at "Bridging Worlds: Illumining the Archive: An International Conference in Honor of Prof. Resil B. Mojares." It was held from 30–31 July 2018 at Novotel Manila, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City.


  • Mutya ng Pasig: The Mermaid as Obscured “Naga”-Princess (Serpent-Goddess) by Grace Odal-Devora

The study explores the image of Mutya ng Pasig, the “river-guardian or the Water Goddess of the Pasig River, and the surrounding water region of the lake of Bay and [the] Manila Bay.” In her presentation, Dr. Odal-Devora discusses the mutya as a “mermaid” to “reinvent the Filipino sense of self as as nation.” She also examines Mutya in the “context of Inang Tubig (Inang Bayi)…..,the female leader…..associated with water as Mother-of-the-Clan or Spirit-of-the-Place,” which in turn has parallels in Southeast Asian themes of the Water Mother.

  • The Brains of the (Trans)Nation: Overseas Filipino Academics and Philippine Historiography in the Late 20th and Early 21st Century by Janus Nolasco

In this presentation, Mr. Nolasco discussed the relationship between Philippine Studies and Filipino Studies, a field of inquiry practiced by Filipino-Americans. He recognizes differences between both fields, but points out common areas of interest that can facilitate dialogue and enrich Philippine Studies and Filipino-American scholarship.

  • Colonial Urban Planning and Foucauldian Social Control: The Case Study of the City Beautiful Plan (Arellano Plan) of Iloilo City by Elgin Salomon

This paper argues that Juan Arellano’s Plan of Iloilo City “ downplays the religious aspects of Spanish colonialism and made it more rational, utilitarian, and civic-oriented.” Mr. Salomon also shows how the Americans “eliminated the undesirable elements of urban life” through “introduction of public health” and rehabilitation of “prisoners and the destitute” while “shaping the ideals and bodies of colonized individuals to form productive and civilized citizens of a colonial society.”

  • A Histoire des Mentalites of the Philippines’ Footwear Capital by Concepcion Lagos

The research argues that “Marikina City and its footwear have retained its reputation…in great measure on the survival of the city’s sapatero, on which the city’s identity and its footwear should be anchored.”  Dr. Lagos tries to “explore the dispersion and cohesion in Marikina’s footwear-making community by illustrating the splintering and binding….of different forces and elements in this local industry.”

  • Writing the “Queer” Archive: Bridging Mojares’ Scholarship and Philippine Gay Studies by Gio Caliguia

This study argues that “Mojares’ silence about the queer is a microscopic reflection of the marginal status of queer scholarship in Philippine studies.” Engaging with Filipino and Filipino-American scholarship, Mr. Caliguia also exhibits the “queer archive as a fractured mirror reflecting the fragmented politics of a Philippine history of ideas.”


  • Grace Odal-Devora is Professor at the University of the Philippines–Manila. She obtained her PhD in Philippine Studies at the University of the Philippines Diliman.
  • Janus Nolasco is a University Researcher at the UP Asian Center. He majored in West Asian Studies for his MA degree.
  • Elgin Salomon is a graduate student of the UP Asian Center, majoring in Philippine Studies.
  • Concepcion Lagos is a faculty member at the University of Asia and the Pacific. She holds a PhD in Philippine Studies from UP Diliman.
  • Gio Caliguia is a graduate student, specializing in Philippine Studies.


Resil Mojares is Professor Emeritus at the University of San Carlos in Cebu, Philippines. He is a noted writer and scholar, known for his research in the "Philippine history, society, culture, literature, politics,” including Brains of the Nation and Waiting for Mariang Makiling.  


The conference celebrates the life, works and scholarship of Prof. Mojares through the analysis of his work produced during his career “spanning five decades.” It was organized by the Secretariat of Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints, of the School of Social Sciences, Ateneo de Manila University, and Southeast Asian Studies of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University. Learn more about the conference and view the program.

The Asian Center offers M.A. degrees in Asian Studies with four fields of specialization: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, and West Asia. The Center also has an M.A. program in Philippine Studies that allows students to major in Philippine society and culture, Philippine foreign relations, or Philippine development studies. The Center offers a Ph.D.  program in Philippine Studies in conjunction with the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy. For an overview of these graduate programs, click here. The Asian Center also publishes Asian Studies: Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia, the latest issue of which can be downloaded at the journal's website. For other news and upcoming events at the Asian Center, click here.