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Project Saysay Inspired by a Spanish Project—Founder

“A well designed and researched classroom material such as ProjectSaysay poster was actually inspired by the aesthetically pleasing and amazingly curated quotes and passages millions of Filipinos had read on the metallic cornices of LRT 1. Those were called Berso sa Metro posters, actually a brainchild of no less than Instituto Cervantes de Manila of the Spanish Embassy.”

ProjectSaysay Founder and Executive Director Ian Christopher Alfonso related this in his speech during the launching of the portraits and unveiling of the 25 new ProjectSaysay poster designs at the Leandro V. Locsin Auditorium of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Intramuros, Manila last October 23.

It was for that reason that ProjectSaysay Board of Directors decided to invite Instituto Cervantes de Manila Director Dr. Carlos Madrid as the event’s guest of honor.

“Because of that, we in ProjectSaysay thought of inviting the Instituto as our humble recognition to its impact to us Filipinos. Berso sa Metro is now gone, but its spirit—I must say—lives on in ProjectSaysay. And I hope in the future, ProjectSaysay and Instituto can collaborate to produce posters,” Alfonso added.

In his address, Madrid said in jest that “since I’m Spanish, it looks like I’m a contravida (antagonist) here.” Madrid acknowledged the spirit the heroes, whom ProjectSaysay honors, had in them to obtain what the Spaniards could not give such as reforms and equality. “Spanish liberals even fought for liberty and reforms,” Madrid noted.

Madrid also emphasized the relevance of the Spanish language in the event, as the featured historical figures were products of colonial education with Spanish as the medium of instruction. “For a Spanish like me, I really appreciate the original Spanish writings of the Filipino heroes.” He noted that the way of thinking of the likes of Apolinario Mabini and Jose Rizal were way beyond their neighboring Southeast Asian brethren.

ProjectSaysay is one of the institutions popularizing the claim that the Philippines was the first democracy and republic in Asia. The claim is incorporated in the bionote-QR code card for Emilio Aguinaldo, one of the featured historical figures in the posters.

ProjectSaysay Inc. is a registered non-government organization with a mission to spread the ideals and values of great Filipinos through dissemination of relevant, useful, and inspiring information sourced from Philippine history in three ways: [1] Distribute quality posters to Philippine schools for free, here and abroad, featuring the words of wisdom of great Filipinos; [2] generate sensible and accurate online materials that are shareable and attune to the needs of time; and [3] create platforms to express creativity and academic exchanges related to history and culture. Since its establishment in 2013, ProjectSaysay has distributed 4,363 12”x18” matte-laminated sticker on 3mm sintra poster prints to 2,055 classrooms and libraries of 182 schools, institutions and offices, here and abroad.

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