Something About Wika ni J.I.E. Teodoro

10 Jul

Something About Wika
(Para sa taong may complaint laban sa aking ‘Filipino English’
at para na rin sa pagdiriwang ng Buwan ng Wika ngayong 2013)

Abaw, pasensiya gid, maraming patawad,
as in a million paumanhins!
Di pa kasi ako nakasinghot ng Stateside na hangin sa personal.
You know, pang-Filipinas lang kasi ang alindog ko.
Napakalaking ilusyon ko lamang ang aking love affair
kina Leonardo DiCaprio at Matt Damon.
Sina Piolo Pascual at Richel Dorotan lang kasi
ang pumatol sa nagmamantika kong byuti.
Kaya pagtiyagaan mo na ang ‘Filipino English’ ko,
elegante naman kahit papaano, you know.

Ano na ang mangyayari sa writing career ko?
I’m sure kahit Tagalog-based Filipino ko ay pupunahin mo.
You know, tunog-Bisaya dahil sirena naman talaga ako
ng Kabisayaan. Visayan-laced Filipino ang tawag dito
ng aking Tito Leo na, you know, bukod sa pagiging
Palanca Hall of Famer at Metrobank Outstanding Teacher
ay isang henyo sa pagsusulat ng maikling kuwento
mapa-Ingles man, Filipino, Hiligaynon, o Sebwano.

Ngunit naisip ko lang, you know, on second thought,
di ba dapat mas nakapagtataka, as in kinda weird talaga,
kung feeling mo nag-a-American English ka
gayung hindi ka naman ipinanganak o lumaki sa Amerika
at nag-workshop lang naman ng ilang buwan sa Iowa?

Ingon nga ni Inday Becky, makata ng Pasig River
na nayanggaw ng isang makatang taga-Pilar, Capiz,
ang tao at wika ay parang isda at tubig.
Mayroon pa siyang kinuwentong alamat
tungkol sa isang isdang nawili sa paglalangoy sa hangin
hanggang sa nakalimutang isda pala siya.
Nakakalerki di vah? Isda, ikaw ba ‘yan?
Sure ka hindi ikaw ang tinutukoy ni Pepe ng Calamba?

May nasulat si Daddy Isagani, ang kritikong the other other,
tungkol kay N.V.M. Gonzales na nagsusulat umano
sa Rombloanon gamit ang mga salitang Ingles.
Gayundin si Nick Joaquin writing in Spanish using English words.
Pati si Bienvenido N. Santos na mega-write in Kapampangan
at may I use din ng English words. Parang gusto ko na ring
ihanay ang aking sarili sa mga major, major writer na ititch.
Husgahan mo ba naman agad ang Ingles ko?
Hindi ba puwedeng I am writing in Kinaray-a o Hiligaynon
using English words muna, hane?
Akala ko pa naman sa U.P. Diliman ka nag-aral.
Di mo ba nakasalubong didto sa lilim ng namumulaklak
na mga arbol de fuego ang santong si Abad
na ang palaging iniisplok ay writing from English?
Alangan naman di ninyo pinag-aralan
ang post-colonial chennilyn na the englishes?
Yung ismol e at flural, you know.

Okie, sige na nga. Para sa World Peace
at sa pagpigil ng paglala ng Global Warming,
two out of four sa pinandidirihan mong core values ng MC,
ang school na nagpapalamon sa ‘yo kung kaya di natutuyo
ang mahaba at madungis mong buhok, you know,
at para na rin sa kapakanan ng mga kaluluwa sa purgatoryo,
you know, patatawarin na lamang kita, impakta ka.
Maraming good luck talaga sa ‘yo, ‘Igan. Yes, sincere ‘yan.
Tingnan na lamang natin kung hanggang saan ka dadalhin
ng payreted mong American English.

Oh, I’m so high blood with you, you know!

-J. I. E. TEODORO
8 Hulyo 2013 Lunes
6:30 n.g. Lungsod Pasig

The LO-A

7 Jul

THE LO-A

Lo-a, a folk tradition, mirrors the Ilonggo’s folks’ creative or poetic intuition. It encapsulates in a single form the workings of the creative mind of the Ilonggo folks or the common tao – the ordinary souls that one may meet in his daily existence; housewives, farmers, “istambays”, labourers, teachers, even students. Ordinary as they are, their lo-a is a proof of an extraordinary mind whose creativity flows spontaneously from the soul.
Sensitivity of the Ilonggo folks’ external senses to the sounds and sighs of their immediate dsurroundings, resulted to the lo-as orchestral and musical versification. It appears that sounds appeal instantaneously to the Ilonggo mind maneuvers the connection of words to words and of sounds to sounds, almost always logically, effecting meaning or pure rhythmic and melodious utterances.
The richness of the Ilonggo language also lends to the musicality of the lo-a. The concrete sense experience or images found in lo-a stand witness to the Ilonggo language’s power to evoke direct visual, auditory and tactile sense experiences or pure internal sensations. Words in the Ilonggo language, when uttered, create mental pictures of things or situations. It is said that situations, objects or circumstances are as they are spoken. Such characteristic of the language has not escaped the folk mind; thus, with cleverness and tint of genius the folk mind explores the possibility of the language by playing on words and combining sounds and images.
Example:
Rosas, rosas nga kamantigue
Soltero nga waay nobya, agi.

Bulak, bulak sang tangkong
Dalaga nga wala sang nobyo, bingkong.

Tapakan ko central, gupi
Guwa kalamay, puti.

Didto sa Bohol
May isa ka lalaki nga manol
Panawag sa kasilyas, City Hall.

Lo-a, however, is more than just words and sounds. The assemblage of words and sounds, arranged into logical directions and connections, make lo-a act and will something.

Example:

Nonoy hinugay paglabay-labay
Sa atubang sang amon nga balay
Basi malagari ka ni Tatay
Mawasi gid ang imo nga tinday.
May ara lugar ako nga ginhalinan
Sa parte Aurora, nayon sa sidlangan
Madamo nga bulak ang akon gin-agyan
Solo gid ikaw Inday ang naluyagan.

The words and sounds do not only please the ears, but they also challenge the thought processes. Lo-a speaks, relating that which have been perceived by the mind through the senses. Hence, ideas, cloaked in denotations and connotations, may be unearthed.

Example:

Tintin ka na uwak
Latay sa margoso
Margoso nga mapait
Para sa soltero nga maanghit.

Mataas nga lamesa ang akon ginlakbay
Kutsara kag tinidor ang akon kaaway
Wala ko pagbaliha ang akon kabudlay
Tubtob lamang makita larawan mo Inday.

Lo-a, also, reveals the llonggo’s closeness to nature and to the things around them. This is clearly evident in the surfeit of images or sense experiences used in lo-a. The Ilonggo mind’s knack for catching sights and sounds from his immediate world embellishes lo-a with an abundance of picturesque words and utterances. Perception and translation into image-evoking words, however, undergoes a process. The folk mind, through the external senses, perceives things or the reality around him and through his imagination and intellect, transmits the image to the soul. The image, as interpreted by the soul, is transmitted back through the intellect and imagination into a concrete meaningful form – folk poetry or lo-a.

With its meaningful form, lo-a signifies something. It is a sign, complete with tangible form, a form with sense and a form and sense with meaning. The meaning found in lo-a may be clothed in metaphorical language. It may also be disguised in symbolic representations. Hence, lo-a may be interpreted in its textual context alone. Nevertheless, as a sign, lo-a with its textual evidence, may be interpreted in tis soico-cultural context.

Example:

Kon si papel man ang lumupad-lupad
Kag humapon diri sa akon palad
Kusniton ko lang kag ipilak
Dili gid makatintar kay bulak.
Didto sa amon sa Ajuy
May nadula nga balinghoy
Duda gid ako sa imo Nonoy
Ara sa imo gataboy-taboy.

Sa idalom sang taytay
May army nga napatay
Bulag-bulag ang lawas
P’ro gatindog ang armas.

Palayo, palayo
Ang buho nga mabaho
Palapit, palapit
Ang buho nga manumit.

Lo-a then is an artistic or creative expression of the Ilonggo folks, such expression of which finds realization in a particular cultural practice by a group of people – the Ilonggos.
Reference:
Rabuco, Amorita C. Folk Poetry: The Lo-a. Iloilo City: USA Publishing House, 2003.

May Bagyo Ma’t May Rilim (Author Unknown)

12 Jan

May Bagyo Ma’t Rilim

May bagyo ma’t, may rilim
Ang ola’y, titiguisin,
Aco’y, magpipilit din:
Acquing paglalacbayin
Toloyin cong hanapin
Dios na ama namin.

Cun di man magupiling
Tocsong mabaomabaoin,
Aco’y, mangangahas din:
Itong libro’y, basahin,
At dito co hahangoin
Acquing sasandatahin.

Cun dati mang nabulag
Aco’y, pasasalamat,
Na ito ang liunag
Dios ang nagpahayag
Sa Padreng bagsiulat
Nitong mabuting sulat.

Naguiua ma’t, nabagbag
Daloyong matataas,
Aco’y magsusumicad
Babagohin ang lacas;
Dito rin hahaguilap
Timbulang icaligtas.

Cun lompo ma’t, cun pilay
Anong di icahacbang
Naito ang aacay
Magtuturo nang daan:
Toncod ay inilaan
Sucat pagcatibayan.

 

THE ARTISTIC DETERMINANTS IN THE HILIGAYNON MYTHOLOGICAL STORIES AND FOLKTALES

12 Dec

Narrative verbal tradition forms part of a people’s expression as they respond to the daily rigors of existence. As such, it is said to be one of the great genres of folklore. Like the verbal poetic genre, it, too testifies to the vivid and fertile imagination of a people. It reveals, as well, the creative power of the folks or a what the historian labelled, of the primitive mind.
Universality of Motifs
• A motif, generally, means a distinct elements of a design. It refers to “a simple element which serves as a basis for expanded narrative, or less strictly speaking, a conventional situation, device, interest, or incident employed in folklore.”
• Motif may include actions, dramatis personae, objects and animals in a literary piece.
MATERIAL OBJECTS AND ANIMALS
• Hiligaynon narrative tradition abounds with magical objects, that is, material things that are embued with extraordinary or supernatural attributes.
o Ex: “Nga-a Nag-asin ang Lawod”
• Allusion to biblical magical objects is discernible in one of the Juan Pusong folktales
• Aside from magical objects, magical animals, likewise, enrich Hiligaynon folk tradition. Even without magical capabilities, some animals are held constantly as subjects of mythology.
o Ex: the monkey and the turtle, the rabbit and the turtle, and the dog and   the cat.

CHARACTERS AND SUPERNATURAL BEINGS

• Foremost among the character motifs is the “cruel stepmother” in the folktale Cinderella, an international tale type.
• Heroic characters with extraordinary abilities inhabit naturally the world of myths, legends, and folktales.
o Another kind of hero in folktales is called the human trickster hero. Though not popular for any heroic exploits, he gains notoriety for despicable traits – stupidity, foolishness and/or laziness.
• Supernatural being motifs are recognizable as character motifs in mythology. They are perennial dwellers of the mythical world.
SITUATIONS
• Motifs of extraordinary situations are found in mythological stories and folktales, contributing to their own peculiarity as a literary genre. These are the elements that capture people’s fantasy and imagination. Their credibility may be doubtful, yet, suspension of disbelief adds beauty to the narration.
• Transformation is the most common. It may occur from humans to animals, from animals to humans and from inanimate matter to animal creatures.
• Misfortune to fortune motif. Usually, the situation deals with “rugs to riches” circumstances that befall the hero or the heroine.
• Difficult tasks and contests may constitute the main motif in some folktales. Most often, suitors are vying for the hand of the princess upon the instigation of the king.
• Scriptural semblances are seen in some situation motifs in Hiligaynon folk narratives. The situation evokes images of similar happenings to biblical tales.
o The sunken city motif is another motif of situation with biblical overtones.
o The great flood motif
• Taboos and curses
• Struggles between opposing forces. These struggles between hostile forces is sometimes called quarrel motif where fightings, usually, are gigantic in proportion, particularly, in creation myths.
Generality of Setting
• Setting
• Time
• Place
• Tone
Conventionality of Plot Structure
• Orientation/initial Situation
• Preparatory section
• Complication section
• Resolution
• Signal Indicating End of Narrative

Reference:
Rabuco, Amorita C. Hiligaynon Mythological Stories and Folktales. Iloilo   City: University of san Agustin Publishing House, 2006.

Tension to Attention: Tradition Vs. Modernity in Rene Estela Amper’s “Letter to Pedro, U.S. Citizen, Also Called Pete”

5 Dec

By examining the tension embedded within its lines, “Letter to Pedro, U.S. Citizen, Also Called Pete” by Rene Estela Amper sends us into the tug war between tradition and modernity. As the persona reveals to his addressee,

Pete, old friend,
There isn’t really much change
In our hometown since you left.

he actually heralds the changes in their hometown. The label “Pete” used by the persona in contrast with the phrase “old friend” represents the ironies that follow. Reading closely the stanzas, one can cull out the different images that symbolically intersperse with one another as the clash between the old and the new becomes apparent in every line. For instance, the image of Simeona, the cat and the recollection of the persona about her burial and the image of the bulldozer ramming down the road convey the pervasiveness of modernity and progress to the idyllic ways of the barrio people, especially the children.

In the third stanza, the image defies gender role, which is actually a manifestation of modernism, wherein, women assert their rights in the patriarchal society. This idea is symbolized by the lines

A steel bridge named after the congressman’s wife
now spans the gray river where Tasyo, the old
goat, had split the skin of our young lizards
to make us a man many years ago.

The steel bridge with the congressman’s wife may be compared to the women as empowered (signified by the steel bridge) individuals and splitting “the skin of our young lizards” to the pain young boys have to undergo in order to become men.

Furthermore, modernity proves to have its downside also. It can hamper one’s freedom. Modernity doesn’t ensure us the liberty to enjoy what we want to do. It becomes a “barbed wire fence” that drives the birds away. Indeed, technology snatches us away from the simple pleasures of life like “shooting the birds with slingshot or spending the summer afternoons we loved so much doing.” Now, most of us would spend most of the time in front of the television or surfing the internet.

The poem’s tension lies in the contrasting images and the motifs embedded in the lines. The persona presents the “then” and the “now” respectively, implying a direction or arrow which steers from tradition to modernity. It leads the readers to pay attention to an important issue of globalization. Here, the persona favors change. The irony in the first stanza creates an impact only when the readers realize that what he is cataloguing in the proceeding stanzas is actually the changes that take place in his hometown. The poem commences with the persona extending his regards to Pete’s American wife and tells him how his cock-eyed Uncle Islaw “now calls himself Stanley/after he began wearing the clothes you sent him last Christmas.” Is there really much change? By giving attention to the metaphors, we find fault in the persona.

The fact is, there IS really much change in their hometown since Pedro left. And the greatest change is actually how the persona aspires to become a U.S Citizen, how Islaw considers himself “American” and Tasyo, the old goat, prides himself of having Pedro as a U.S. citizen by sending the latter’s “lizard his warmest congratulations.” The hometown represents tradition. Modernity, the United States of America.

Aside

Philippine Pre-Colonial Literature: Its Traditionality and Memorableness

14 Nov

E. Arsenio Manuel, in his book Filipino Myths and Folktales: Treasury of Stories, divides the pre-colonial literature or the oral tradition into three, namely: the Mythological Age, the Heroic Age, and Folk Tales from all ages. Notably, Manuel used two criteria in choosing the stories categorized under each period—the traditionality of the piece and its memorableness (6).

Traditionality means that the stories come from a distant past… for they are known throughout the length and breadth of the archipelago among the different ethnic groups (Manuel, 6).

On the other hand, Manuel gauged the memorableness of the stories through readability, which “create in the reader a compelling urge to read it repeatedly if he had the leisure (Manuel, 7).” Also, these stories must be told in its original, unadorned, and straightforward manner.
Historically, the first period of Philippine literary history is the longest. Since the discovery of the “Tabon Man” in a cave in Palawan in 1962, history allowed us to speak now of a period that goes as far back in time as 50,000 years ago (Lumbera and Lumbera, 1).

What are the eminent literary genres that emerge during the Pre-colonial Period? How did these pieces of literature reflect the Filipino society during those times?

Going back to Manuel’s three periods of literary tradition, the stories could be traced back starting from the Mythological Age, wherein our ancestors came up with tales about the creation of the world and man; the whys and wherefores of natural phenomena; the creation and ordering of human life; the origin of topographical features; deities and spirits; good and evil. Myths were passed on from generation to generation and from one society to another as people moved from one environment to another. Outsiders can pick up a myth and learn to believe in it (Manuel, 8). Furthermore, Manuel believed that,

…this vast age that preceded the invention of settled agriculture and towns and cities can itself be called mythical. People took these sacred accounts on faith and saw imprints of the gods in the world around them (9).

These beliefs seemed apparent in the creation story of the Manuvu, “The Good Godand the Bad God,” the Tinggian myth “Aponibolinayen and the Sun,” and the legends “The Origin of Rice” by the Bontoc/Kankanai tribe and “How the Sky Became High” by the Tinggian,which was also similar and was being told all over the Philippines.

During the dawn of the Heroic Age, the change in character and nature of the stories evolved. While supreme beings and deities rule in every part of the story, ordinary mortals and local heroes became chief actors along with the shift in the locale, from the skyworld to the earthworld. This is well explained through the juxtaposed evolution of the society wherein new skills, such as blacksmithing and weaving, developed. As Lumbera explained in his book Philippine Literature: A History and Anthology,

As literary works created in the setting of a society where the resources for economic subsistence—land, water and forest—where communally owned, the oral literature of the precolonial Filipinos bore the marks of the community. The subject matter was invariably the common experience of the people constituting a village—food gathering, creatures and objects of nature, work in the home, field, forest or sea, caring for children (2).

In this period, epics became the emergent genre. Epics are long narrative verses relating the feats of ancestral heroes against great odds. These are being chanted at important events in the life of a community in order to inspire the people and to remind them of their ideals and values. Examples of these epics are Lam-ang from Ilocos, Tuwaang, a pagan epic of the Manuvus, the Panayanon epic Hinilawod, and the Maranaw epic Bantugan.

Lastly, folktales are prose narratives of incidents that do not belong to a specific place or time. It could be located just as much in the present as in the past or future. It is taken as fiction by its hearers and enjoyed as such. Characters can be either humans, animals or even plants (Basconn and Boggs as cited by Manuel, 146). Examples of folktales are “Bata Mama and Bata Bahi (Bukidnon)”, “Pilandok and Bombola(Maranao),” “The Adventures of the Monkey and the Tortoise,” and “Big Belly and the Bully of the Forest (Manuvu).”
According to Dr. Amorita C. Rabuco, the folktale (as well as other narrative verbal tradition) is a form of expression employed by the people as a respond to their daily rigors of existence. Also, it reflects the rich and vivid imagination of the early Filipinos. Thus,

The creative force of a group of people gives birth to a literary art type, specifically, myths, legends and folktales. Constituting part of the vast spectrum of oral literature, these folk narratives possess a form distinct to their nature (Rabuco, 11).

The rich verbal tradition of the early Filipino somehow refutes the belief that the people were ignorant and barbaric before the Spaniards arrived in our country. As evident in the epics, the myths, the folktales, the riddles, the proverbs, and the songs, Filipinos had a culture that linked them to other Asian countries and cultures. It also proved that literature served as a filtering device for the Western culture that the colonizers brought over from Europe (Lumbera, 6).

WORKS CITED
Cruz, Isidoro M. Cultural Fictions: Narratives on Philippine Popular Culture, Politics, and Culture. University of San Agustin, Iloilo City: Libro Agustino, 2004.

Delos Santos, Alex C. The Rise of Kinaray-a: History and Anthology of Contemporary Literature. University of San Agustin, Iloilo City: Libro Agustino, 2003.

Lumbera, Bienvenido and Lumbera, Cynthia. Philippine Literature: A History and Anthology. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2005.

Manuel, E. Arsenio. Filipino Myths and Folktales Treasury Stories. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2007.

Rabuco, Amorita C. Hiligaynon Mythological Stories and Folktales: Analysis and Translation. Iloilo City: Libro Agustino, University of San Agustin, 2006.

Western Visayan Pre-Colonial Literature: A Tapestry of Spoken Stories

14 Nov

The beginnings of Western Visayan literature took its roots from its epics and folklores. Along with that, Western Visayan literary tradition was already flourishing even before the Spaniards arrived in the Philippines. According to Alex C. Delos Santos in his book The Rise of Kinaray-a History and Anthology of Contemporary Literature in Antique,

The siday, the banggianay (debate), the hurobaton (proverbs), paktakun (riddles),amba (songs) and the sugidanun (stories) are literary forms found in oral lore. The great asoy or epics shared by all of Panay are in archaic Kinaray-a (12).

In the aforementioned ancient literary types, recent scholarship and artistic endeavors began to take interest on the Panayanon epic, Hinilawod, which is being chanted in archaic Kinaray-a. F. Landa Jocano has documented this epic poetry and has been translated in English, especially “Labaw Donggon” which appeared in the Anthology of Asean Literatures: Epics of the Philippines (1984).

The Hinilawod as an epic is an essential culture-bearer chanted by the babaylan, a priestess from the Suludnon community. It also serves as a cultural artifact to the historical imagining of how the Sulod of old made sense of themselves and their relationship with one another and the world (Cruz, 63). Below is the narrative of Tarangban, one of the episodes from the epic Hinilawod.

Buyong Humadapnon embarks on a journey to search for the woman in her dreams, Nagmalitong Yawa. Disobeying his parents, Burulakaw and Ginbitinan, Humadapnon, together with his brother Dumalapdap, venture into the Tarangban, a cave inhabited by thousand binukot. Once in the cave, Humadapnon pleases himself with the binukot, who are actually diwata, including the prized Lubay Hanginon. Afterwards, Humadapnon tells her of his intention to continue his travel, to return only after finding Nagmalitong Yawa. When Humadapnon refuses to stay, Lubay Hanginon becomes furious. Humadapnon places a sleeping spell upon Lubay which makes her faint. However, when Humadapnon attempts to escape, Sinangkati Bulawan, Lubay’s sister, shuts the cave entrance and holds Humadapnon a prisoner.

Dumalapdap informs Father Burulakaw and Mother Ginbitinan of Humadapnon’s captivity in Tarangban. Their parents are carried by the whirlwind to the island, but their attempts to liberate the datu failed. On the other hand, Dumalapdap requests Hangin to send Nagmalitong Yawa to free Humadapnon. Disguised as a man Buyong Sunmasakay, Nagmalitong Yawa massacres the crowd of binukot, including Sinangkating Bulawan. As Humadapnon rushes to save Lubay Hanginon who unfortunately has been slain by Sunmasakay. Humadapnon, who has become diwatanhon, is shaken out of enchantment through Sunmasakay’s invocation to spirit friends. Sunmasakay brings the datu back to his normal self and reassumes the person of Nagmalitong Yawa.

Beyond its rich narrative and visual imageries, the epic, as well as the other forms of folk literature in Western Visayas, resonate the region’s culture and tradition. As Dr. Amorita C. Rabuco opines in her book Hiligaynon Mythological Stories and Folktales,

Narrative verbal tradition forms part of a people’s expression as they respond to the daily rigors of existence. As such, it is said to be one of the greatest genres of folklore. Like the verbal poetic genre, it, too, testifies to the vivid and fertile imagination of a people. It reveals, as well, the creative power of the folks or as what the historian labeled, of the primitive mind (11).

Indeed, the West Visayan pre-colonial literature weaves a tapestry of stories that unfolds throughout time, and “shapes the narrative material and carries the whole story to completion (Rabuco,11).”
WORKS CITED
Cruz, Isidoro M. Cultural Fictions: Narratives on Philippine Popular Culture, Politics, and Culture. University of San Agustin, Iloilo City: Libro Agustino, 2004.

Delos Santos, Alex C. The Rise of Kinaray-a: History and Anthology of Contemporary Literature. University of San Agustin, Iloilo City: Libro Agustino, 2003.
Lumbera, Bienvenido and Lumbera, Cynthia. Philippine Literature: A History and Anthology. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2005.
Manuel, E. Arsenio. Filipino Myths and Folktales Treasury Stories. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc., 2007.
Rabuco, Amorita C. Hiligaynon Mythological Stories and Folktales: Analysis and Translation. Iloilo City: Libro Agustino, University of San Agustin, 2006.