A local indie musician uploaded a Facebook livestream where he stared at a photo of Manila Bay’s “white sand beach” as a form of silent protest against the government project.
In the video shared on September 29, Filipino artist Chall merely sat and stared at a photo of the beach mounted against a blank wall. The video ran for more than five hours.
The caption and title of the video read: “Staring at white sand until my mental health is okay.”
Staring at white sand until my mental health is okay
Posted by Cloud on Tuesday, September 29, 2020
In an interview with Interaksyon, Chall explained that it was his reaction to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque’s recent remark to defend the controversial project.
He also shared that the video was actually on loop, therefore he did not literally stayed in that position for hours.
“The whole idea of the live stream is to show some sort of silent protest to the statement of Harry Roque. Although it is looped, I hope I sent a message clear that he should be held accountable for such an irresponsible statement,” he said.
Chall was referring to Roque’s response when asked about the criticisms against the beautification of the stretch of the bay walk, claiming that the finished site would boost the public’s mental health.
“Kasi alam mo sa gitna ng pandemya. Kelangan din alagaan yung mental health. I think yung pagpapasyal sa mga lugar tulad ng Manila Bay na may white beach, hindi mo maka-quantify ang epekto niyan pagdating po sa mental health,” Roque said.
Chall also shared that he also recreated a popular meme of Roque where he appeared to space out in a virtual interview.
“It’s also like a recreation of that one time where Harry Roque just zones out in a call,” he said.
This was in reference to Roque’s televised interview with CNN Philippines back in June, which eventually inspired the creation of various memes and other witty posts.
Harry Roque caught realizing he sold his soul to this administration pic.twitter.com/mJ8UkMYdJN
— Anj (@anjpessumal) June 23, 2020
Chall’s satirical stunt circulated on Facebook with more than 779,000 views as of writing. It eventually reached Twitterverse where it likewise gained traction.
There's this guy doing a Facebook Live just staring at the Manila Bay Sands for almost 4 hours already. 😭 pic.twitter.com/PAmBmoGfaJ
— chino why aren't u studying 🥑 (@martianchris) September 29, 2020
Some Filipinos in the comment’s section on Facebook even joined in to share their funny spins on their supposed sentiments about the artificial beach.
Others were more thoughtful in terms of taking care of their mental health.
Some Twitter users, meanwhile, quipped and wondered if Chall’s mental health did improve.
“Okay but did he get better though? I need answers to see if I should do this as well haist,” one user said.
The new destination filled with dolomite rocks from Cebu along Roxas Boulevard was part of the plan to revive the 2017 Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
However, government critics and other concerned Filipinos criticized the initiative for alleged misplaced priorities and reallocation of budget given that it was worth a hefty P349 million.
It was also linked to a recent fish kill incident near the Baseco compound where Filipino residents highly depend on fishing as their source of income.
Last week, the opening of the Manila Bay “white sand beach” made online buzz anew after online users uploaded their throwback beach photos amid the crowding at the controversial tourist site.
Some celebrities, online personalities and netizens juxtaposed their beach photos with the photo of onlookers with cameras at a footbridge under the hashtag #ManilaBayChallenge and #Dolomitechallenge.