Using film in pedagogy

A documentary film on the importance of mangrove in the ecosystem was recently screened at the UP Diliman (UPD) Institute of Biology Auditorium.

Bakawan is a 45-minute documentary that tackles the significance of mangroves to the coastal ecosystem, the reason for the decline of mangrove forest in the Philippines, the persisting threats to mangroves, and the rehabilitation efforts being carried out.

Shot on the island of Alabat, Quezon, Bakawan was produced and co-written by Nick Deocampo, an associate professor at the Film Institute of the UPD College of Mass Communication, and directed and narrated by Lemnuel V. Aragones, PhD, former director of the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology (IESM) of the UPD College of Science.

Deocampo. Photo by Jerald DJ. Caranza, UPDIO

Deocampo described Bakawan as an example of a third film front. He believes that the audio-visual industry can really take root in the academic community.

“By watching Bakawan today and many of the other films that we could be producing, we are now reconciling ourselves to the new media that will allow us to really have a sign-based pedagogy. We will [now] be looking at motion-pictures, we will be looking at images as a source of our knowledge,” Deocampo said.

A scene from Bakawan. Photo by Jerald DJ. Caranza, UPDIO

Meanwhile, Aragones said Alabat used to have serious problems with its coastal areas, but now has a good coastal ecosystem.

It is special to him since he frequently visited the island when he was an undergraduate student.

“My initial prognosis at that time was kawawa na itong isla na ito, because when we were snorkeling and scuba diving in the eastern side of the island, maraming issue sa pagpapaputok noon. However, when I came back in 1998 after my PhD, I saw that there was a semblance of recovery. This (semblance of recovery) became a very important impetus for me to package in the mindset of a scientist; to showcase the environmental issues [in] this educational material,” Aragones said.

Aragones. Photo by Jerald DJ. Caranza, UPDIO

Bakawan is one of 10 films and the only science-oriented film under the research project Cinema for Education: Rationalizing the Philippine Audio-visual Industry to Promote Inclusive Education Through Film Literacy (Cinema for Education).

According to the event program, Cinema for Education is “a research project conducted on the subject of introducing a new philosophy of education and a new way of organizing the country’s audio-visual industry. The project includes a study on cinema and other forms of motion pictures as it investigates how the educational cinematic medium can serve the purpose of education.” It is funded by the Emerging Interdisciplinary Research Program of the UP Office the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

In her message, UP Vice President for Academic Affairs Ma. Cynthia Rose B. Bautista said, “As an initiative intended to create a new educational philosophy and a new system of managing the nation’s audiovisual sector, the research project contributes to addressing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4: Equality Education, as it investigates how the cinematic medium may support inclusive education in the Philippines.”

Bautista’s message was read by UP Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs (Research) Carla B. Dimalanta. Bakawan screening, which premiered on March 27, is part of the 20th anniversary celebration of the IESM.