Shooting Colors in the Philippines

February 2015 @ MoC

February 4, 2015 @ PhilippineTextileResearchInstitute

We spent few weeks in Manila this winter, immersing in the Filipino culture, shooting colors and hunting words for our ColorCorpus research. It was good fun and we’ll be back to visit the countryside at some point later. Enjoy!


The Philippine Textile Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (PTRI-DOST) has recently released its new publication, Bahaghari: Colors of the Philippines. The 140-page book contains general information on natural dyes and their plant sources and clear, crisp photos of PTRI-developed naturally dyed tropical fabrics in formal ensemble with a twist of elegance worn by participants and delegates to the 8th ASEAN Science and Technology Week (ASTW) in July 2008, Miss Earth 2007 candidates, and some ramp models. Besides the ASTW, the naturally dyed barongs and dresses jazzed up the Bahaghari Fashion Show at the ASTW dinner held at Hotel Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Manila and gave zest to the pictorial for the book.

Bahaghari: Colors of the Philippines attaches social connotations with each featured color from natural dyes and illustrates the facets of the Filipino culture. PTRI researchers Julius L. Leaño Jr. and Jenice P. Malabanan co-wrote the book.


Date : April 25
Venue : Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro
According to an old story, the early settlers of Pinamalayan came from Marinduque. While on their way to Mindoro using their boats, they encountered turbulent weather and lost their direction. They prayed to God Almighty for deliverance and guidance so the weather cleared and a rainbow appeared on the horizon. The crew shouted ipinamalay meaning “it was made known”. They followed the direction of the rainbow and landed at what is now Barangay Lumangbayan and established the first settlement which they named Pinamalayan. The rainbow became the historical landmark of the town. The yearly Bahaghari Festival is a colorful commemoration of the importance of the rainbow in the history of the town of Pinamalayan. The celebration includes a street dancing competition, cultural presentations, religious and cultural activities, products and trade fair. Like the rainbow which rises to give color in the sky after the torrent of rain, the Bahaghari Festival is a reflection of the continuing effort of the people of Pinalamayan that there is truly paradise at the end of the rainbow.

Contact : Office of the Mayor, Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro
Telephone No. (043) 284-3146 / 443-1486

Bluer than blue: the revival of Philippine indigo @ Fibre2Fashionindigo dyed pina-seda barong

Philippine indigo (Indigofera tinctoria) is one of the oldest dyes in civilization and one of the most widely used natural dyes in the whole world due to its excellent colorfastness properties. In the Philippines, indigo was once extensively used in the weaving industry including the abel of llocos and the Abrenian fabrics.

The Philippine indigo has been part of the Galleon and Chinese trade in northern Philippines, centuries ago; however, the successful production of cheaper synthetic indigo eased it out of the market and caused its rapid decline not only in the Philippines but also all over the world.

In the Philippines, the former First Lady Amelia “Ming” Ramos initiated the effort to revive indigo dyeing. She became the Patroness of natural dyes and spearheaded the Katutubong Kulay Project of the Katutubong Filipino Foundation in the early 1990’s. The transfer and commercialization of the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) developed technology on indigo in Abra revived and upgraded the age long tradition of using tayum, the local name of indigo in Abra. In fact, a town in Abra was aptly named Tayum, reportedly because of the abundance of naturally growing indigo in the place. Tayum is where Abra’s Natural Dye Center is located.

Read more at Fibre2Fashion

Ang Alamat ng Bahaghari (The Legend of the Rainbow) @ Behance




March 1, 2015 @ Moc

Just few notes for these interesting connections …

In Armenian: կարմիր (karmir) = red. This is an Iranian borrowing. krmʾyr, “red”, Sanskrit किर्मीर (kirmīra, “a variegated color”) and Hebrew כרמיל (karmīl, “crimson, carmine”). Ultimately from the word for “worm”: compare Persian کرم (kerm), Sanskrit कृमि (kṛ́mi).
In Greek: (ο) καρμίρης [karmíris] (masculine); (η) καρμίρα [karmíra] & καρμίρισσα [karmírisa] (feminine):colloquial for a poor, stingy, miserable and mean person (ie. always feeling “in the red” ! lol )

No one could see the color blue until modern times (??)

March 2, 2015 @ BusinessInsiderUK & MoC
A friend sent this article from Business Insider.
We read some of these stories which are being circulated in the web, and as native Greek speakers, we’d like to ask and comment the following cause we find these stories misleading and confusing:
One perhaps should inform these people that the term “κυανός” /kianos/ i.e. “cyan” (you know CYAN as in CMYK??) is an Ancient Greek word, originally meaning “dark blue” (in Modern Greek is “light blue”).

Ancient Greeks also used the term “γλαυκός” /γlafkós/ meaning pale blue, mainly sky or sea blue, the color “γlafkó”.

It’s true, we haven’t re-read the Odyssey since we were in high-school (we can go through it any time though if need be), and we haven’t meticulously counted all the color terms in it, but still, the fact that Homer, a poet, used the description mentioned in the article (“sea as dark wine”) in Odyssey, doesn’t really mean that people back then couldn’t perceive the blue color; and Homer was blind anyway. But Homer was a poet, and poets, you know, are free to describe things anyway they wish, that’s what poets are for! Rationalism kills poetry and art and it’s such a poor approach. If one counted on fauvist painters to tell them about the natural world, what would one say then about their black skies, blue suns, purple tree trunks etc?

Also, just because a 1858’s UK scholar counted 200 blacks and 150 whites in Odyssey it doesn’t mean Ancient Greeks “lived in murky and muddy world, devoid of color, mostly black and white and metallic, with occasional flashes of red or yellow”, and it certainly doesn’t make Gladstone an authority to say ancient Greeks lacked color terms for blue.

Last, one should add that the term “sky blue” is one of the most fundamental in many (ancient) languages, for the SKY was (and is) so important to so many (the ancient/tribal) people!

Now, if you go through a (modern) dictionary or vocabulary or list word of some moribund language or dialect (or any other widely spoken language whatsoever) prepared, relatively recently, by some linguist in some remote place (or not), in all chances you won’t find terms like “purple”, “pink”, “orange” etc. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the language/idiom/dialect doesn’t include a term for these meanings, but most probably that the linguist conducting the research didn’t care to include these terms in the dictionary/vocabulary/list word, making future researchers scratch their heads about why these terms are not listed and if people were/are blind to these colors…

We copy/past the following from the Dictionary of Standard Modern Greek

κυανός -ή -ό [kianós] : (λόγ.) γαλάζιος. || (ως ουσ.) το κυανό, το κυανό χρώμα.
kianos-i-o: (adj, masc/fem/neut) galazios-a-o (i.e. bright blue) (adj. cyan)|| (as noun) kiano (neutral): the cyan color
[λόγ. < αρχ. κυαν(οῦς) `σκούρος μπλε΄ μεταπλ. -ός κατά τα άλλα επίθ. για προσαρμ. στη δημοτ. (πρβ. και μσν. κυανός)]
(ancient: kianous : “dark blue”; later : kianos)

γλαυκός -ή -ό [γlafkós] : ανοιχτός γαλάζιος, απόχρωση κυρίως του ουρανού ή της θάλασσας. || (ως ουσ.) το γλαυκό, το γλαυκό χρώμα.
[λόγ. < αρχ. γλαυκός]
glaukos-i-o (γlafkós) (adj. masc/fem/neut): bright “galazio”, mainly the color of the sky or the sea || (as noun) γlafkó:  the color γlafkó
[ancient: γlafkós]

Shooting Colors in Indonesia

January 23, 2015 @ MoC

We spent few weeks in Jakarta this January, shooting colors and hunting Indonesian words for our ColorCorpus. It was an interesting experience. Jakarta in itself is not a colorful place (one of the main reasons might be that it is currently under construction). However, and in contrast to the dull surroundings, Jakarta men and especially women are quite colorful. And for those who insist there are always some hidden treasures here and there. On the other hand, this is the birthplace of batik, so when we visited the Textile museum, we couldn’t miss joining the batik workshop taking place that day, it was mostly rewarding ! We didn’t have time to further explore the country and the countryside and the many islands, maybe in the future.

And oh, there is Batik Air too !


Darah Putih

January 2, 2015 @ MoC

“Darah putih” (lit. “white blood”). A Malay of noble ancestry, his/her blood is white, not blue. This idiom may be linked to the tragic legendary Princess Mahsuri of Langkawi Island. Accused of adultery by her jealous mother-in-law, Mahsuri was executed by a dagger. It is said that white blood flowed out as a proof of her innocence. Sultan Alaudin Riayat Shah 1 who ruled Malacca was said to be related to Mahsuri. After his death, he came to be known as Marhum Berdarah Putih.

[MALAY LANGUAGE @ MoC ColorCorpus]

Shooting Colors in Malaysia

December 25, 2014 @ MoC

Hi ! We are here in Kuala Lumpur for few weeks (Dec 2014-January 2015), shooting colors and hunting Malay words for our ColorCorpus project. The Textile Museum in Merdeka square is awesome, must visit, the art galleries and the museums are great, must visit as well. KL is pretty colorful and definitely worth exploring; an easy-going and friendly city it is. We had good fun all our days here.