While searching for a digital story to critique for this week’s assignment I, fortunately, stumbled upon the prize-winning story “My Iligan” produced by Arkay Timonera of the Philippines. Timonera was awarded first prize in the 2009 My Iligan digital storytelling contest held in Mindanao, Philippines. From the YouTube description, “Entries are autobiographical pieces that tell the story of connection to a place, particularly Iligan City.” The contest is open to all high-school and college students in the area and is intended “… to Amplify the voice of the Mindanaon in the internet.”
This story resonated with me as I spent a good bit of time working with Filipino communications technicians in Japan, and Korea. I also had the “privilege” of visiting the Philippines on numerous occasions in the 1990s, for both work and leisure. My first visit there was in the early 90s when my son and I spent a few days at a tranquil beach resort, where we experienced the most beautiful beaches I have ever encountered. The two of us walked through lovely villages where people lived in elevated grass houses and greeted us with warm smiles and heartfelt hospitality.
And for the critique, well, I understand why this story was awarded first prize, as it works. In his three-minute autobiographical digital story, Timonera shares much about his Iligan as well as his philosophy, including a very wise quote from Chaucer. He adheres to the theme of the contest and his execution is sound. Timonera’s digital story compares and contrasts his new life in the slower paced, and more modest Iligan, with his earlier life in the metropolis of Manilla. The quality of the narrative is exceptional and demonstrates that Timonera invested time in the writing process. The images nicely support the narrative and are often colorful, creative, and one feels they offer a sincere perspective of his Iligan.
The pacing is quite good in this short piece and yet Timonera manages to share a great deal about his new life in Iligan with the audience. When one factors in that this digital story was produced over seven years ago, then one must argue that the digital craftsmanship is quite good. Closed captions are embedded in the video, and due to the pacing, one has adequate time to read them, although they could have displayed in a different color to better contrast the imagery. Timonera’s “My Iligan” definitely elected an emotional response from me and brought back some very pleasant memories of my time in the Philippines.