With the purpose of retelling the rich heritage and identity of Bicolanos to a wider digital space, Hazel Iris Yao Escalante, a native of Gubat, Sorsogon, took her writing skills to the next level as she wrote a literary piece of the Legend of Daragang Magayon accompanied by an AI-generated digital art of the said theme. The artwork gained various reactions from netizens, drawing both praise and criticism.
However, for Hazel, she continues to express immense respect to all artists and said that her sole focus was highlighting the literature and culture of Bicolanos, not to malign or invade the creative community through the use of AI.
“In my field of expertise, everyone can now be a layout artist, a writer, a producer, in just one click but what I do instead of mocking other’s genuine initiative is I adapt to change. I use AI to my advantage and it’s been a huge help for me with my career in all honesty,” Escalante said.
The 25-year-old Digital Marketing Director graduated in the University of the Philippines Cebu where she took up Mass Communications. Her education allowed her to be well-rounded in the current events in the country.
“Mt. Mayon has been on the headlines recently and the idea to create a content about it just struck me randomly,” Hazel said. With the initial thought of sharing some insights about Bicol’s heritage through her writing, she later then decided to use visuals with the help of AI image generating tools to attract higher readership. But since the generating tools have limitations, she had to make improvements to polish the materials. Still, she reiterated that she does not claim any credits from any of the artworks.
The rising popularity of AI in the creative field has received controversy as artists and writers saw it alarming how AI can “steal” their voices and works so easily. The use of AI art tools have been an easy thrust into the spotlight and so are the concerns about ownership and creativity.
“AI’s number one flaw is that it couldn’t generate human emotions and that’s the integral role we play. A machine is nothing without a touch of a human heart,” Escalante added.
Despite the criticisms she received, Hazel encourages the public to be respectful of other’s opinions and embrace one’s culture and identity.
The digital content creator and marketer also reminded the youth to never be silenced and always use one’s platform to amplify more voices.
“We are the empowered generation and we owe this platform to our people, to our roots, and to our heritage. Let’s adapt and grow with time. Connect with the world. speak our hearts out, hear society’s concerns, take initiatives genuinely and lastly, respect each other’s differences,” she expressed. I Lou Marie Cuarto
Photos: Hazel Iris Yao Escalante