Roger Mond | Kirk Tabanera

February 1, 2022




“Perception is real and the truth is not.” In recent memory, this has been uttered by none other than former first lady Imelda Marcos, who sees herself as a star the masses could look upon to see ‘real’ beauty. In Breakfast Club, Roger Mond and Kirk Tabanera show how truth can be twisted and transformed into digestible delusions and edible lies.

Truth could be a sharp sword that cuts through obscurity depending on who wields it; however, Kirk Tabanera emphasizes how one could quite literally forge their own truth, seen as such in “Queen Bee”, where an individual with perfectly coiffed hair pulls out a sword from her mouth as if replicating a magic trick. From the exaggerated nature of ‘chismis’, table talk partaken by Filipinos through media such as celebrity talk shows and their social circles, to lies that are reinforced by political power. With the latter, the rise and spread of alternative facts on social media serves to divert public attention from the corrupt actions of people in positions of power. “In Disguise” depicts a chameleon camouflaging against a backdrop of military fatigues, a character always aligning itself to the commander-in-chief.

Drawing from the crushing power of societal pressure that middle-class citizens and aspiring lower classes succumb to stay afloat with the promise of better conditions, Roger Mond depicts characters attempting to view themselves playing lead roles in their own cinematic lives. Romanticizing one’s life is a response to hustle culture, and these gentle lies see us through another day. The portraits “Dagwood” and “Blondie” parody the couple from the comic strip Blondie, showcasing a localized take where Dagwood Bumstead is portrayed as a construction worker, sunburnt from working outdoors to make ends meet, while Blondie splurges their earnings on her beautification to appear well-off.

In circulating the origin stories and mythologies of officials, we believe their stories more than the veracity of ours, which is rooted in our reality. Decades of meddling with the truth and losing public trust have brought us to this point of living from paycheque to paycheque. The freedom permitted to the ruling class by being able to establish what is true has maintained the status quo we have come to realize as unequal and self-serving. In our various states of acceptance of it, we wake up and treat it as the bitter coffee we drink to start another day.