Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The Semiotics of Baguio's Political Posters

I decided to walk from the house to work, a little more than a kilometer long, to look at the political posters along the way.

Now there are 66 official candidates in Baguio, including 50 councilors. Only a few posted in New Lucban and T. Alonzo Sts. I only saw a few in Magsaysay Ave up to Otek St. and most I saw at the common poster area in T. Alonzo.

I did not help in any of the posters and I am doing this out of style and layout so please no "letter to the editor" from a former editor please.

Before I start my tsugi, let us bring into our minds the sociolinguistic profile of Baguio. This is what I got: Almost half (44.5 percent) of the household population in Baguio City classified themselves as Ilocano. About 20.4 percent considered themselves as Tagalog, and 11 percent as Kankanai/Kankaney/Kankanaey. Other ethnic groups included Pangasinan/Pangalatok (4.8 percent), and Ibaloi (3.9 percent).

So the safest language to use in your poster seems to be Ilocano. I only saw two Ilocano posters though. Many are in Filipino and English.

Many of the posters use the standard layout: The usual huge face on the left, the position and the party on the right and the motto below.

Bilog did not encircle his face although his close-cropped hair almost resembled a circle. Olowan put his half body on his poster instead of his face, his "Wan Olo" only, which he used to do then. Maybe because the two are veterans and no need any mnemonics anymore.

Many of the Timpuyog candidates carried their whole slate on their posters which made them unselfish probably but they lost out on selling themselves.

The two top honchos of Timpuyog raised both their right hands, with that of Vergara spread out so that the Burnham palm readers can read his political future easily.

He used the motto " Wala Nang Iba" which means he is the only one of his kind, folks. It is also a tacit put-down on the Independent Baguio Alliance or the IBA, which is a loose alliance of Baguio politicians as well. Is that still around?

Domogan, I think, recycled his "TT" tag or the "tried and tested" which is just as well because he is indeed running again. But a caveat there as voters may love to recycle their trash but hate recycling political tra.. whatever.

Because look at that! His rival used the motto: Sukatan ti Zigzag a Panagturay. This, of course, refers to the now famous/infamous speech of PNoy at Burnham where he criticized the "zigzag governance" of the two incumbents.

Aliping was less confrontational, putting only ".1" beside his face. Those who are Number 1 alphabetically should exploit their being Number 1 but sadly, no one in Baguio did. that ".1" in Aliping of course refers to the circle you have to shade but if you are not wary, you might get the wrong signal.

Bobby Ortega of the Ortega Clan of La Union is back to Baguio with his half-body and the number 1 on his right hand (but he is not Number 1 in the balota. Hmmm). His motto is "For Peace AND Order" with the "AND" a forceful memento of his Bungo days. I was thinking why didn't he use instead an Xray of his face to show his bungo?

The two better posters layout-wise that I saw so far were that of Art Alladiw and Ron Perez. Alladiw had his side view and his qualifications ALL CAPS. Ron used the green layers nicely.

Gaerlan had his round face and the motto "Ganap na Ginhawa para a Lahat." What a comforting thought but that's not what comes to me when i see Gaerlan. Maybe it's the use of alliteration (the G sound) that he was gunning for.

Phillian was the most flowery of them all with flowers all over her poster and a not-so-focused picture. "Basta Weygan-Allan Mapagtelkan" is a better motto than his other poster with "Serving Baguio." And that other poster, Manang ha? Ang haba ng hair mo.

Tabanda used the WIFE as acronym for her motto. But then being a wife is not what you would think of Lulu as well.

I like Wasing's e-Asing-mo although I don't really know what he meant. His other BIDA stablemate, Perfecto Itliong Jr, should avoid the stencil or the dot-shading because his face will really resemble a full moon if he does that.

Derek's motto "Matatag na Pundasyon Para sa Susunod na Henerasyon" does rhyme but it's too long. I like the looking-at-the-clouds-where-his-grandparents-were-and-the-UB-in-between drama though.

Mandapat has a winner with the "Ibalik at Iboto ang Karapat-dapat. Mandapat" because it is a mnemonic and it rhymes.

Datuin's Sa Turismo Tayo ay Panalo" would have been better if he was not facing the camera full front. Instead he should have posed like the Baguio Lion to remind the voters that he was a Lion.

Roam Manuel's checkered posters freaked me out. They were coupon bond sized because they were Xeroxed and really hand-made. This congressional candidate then scribbled weird words which reminds me of artist Mark Tandoyog's work. Check them out.

Maybe the next week's I pass through other streets and see the other posters. But as of now, it was worth looking at these exhibits.


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