Listen to the culture experts (1)

Listen to the culture experts (1)

We take time out from looking at the bulletin boards on the latest coronavirus 2019 and the caravans and whatever else two months before the official start of the political campaign in the Philippines where politics stands side by side with cockfighting as a favorite pastime.

We are rather privileged to have obtained some impressionistic concepts from papers to be presented and discussed by nearly 100 academics and participants from – unless we are mistaken – five time zones during the three-day annual 16th Nakem Conferences starting December 9.

The virtual conference, by Zoom, is hosted by Benguet State University in La Trinidad, and was organized by Nakem International, Nakem Conferences Philippines and the University of Hawaii Ilokano Program.

Nakem, by the way, is the acronym for National Alliance for Knowledge, Empowerment and Meaning.

The acronym alone raises layers of topics that have on the main been by choice largely ignored, pretty much wrongly, by those in what some call the main stream of culture and language, not helped any by the blinders that have been unnecessarily, if pugnaciously, used by them for scores on end.

But here is Nakem, going into the different layers and trying – and they have been successful, if we may posthaste add – to bring attention to the problems that coinfront the different cultures largely in this country of 110 million people who have necessarily different languages and culture as strong testimonial to their indigenous wealth.

Themed “Indigenous Communities and Languages, and Engaged Inclusion for Civics and Citizenship,” there is hope among many, including us, who value our culture which properly identifies us as we stand together with other cultures from the different parts of the archipelago.

We hope we will be able to listen intently, our very tight schedule despite, to the messages of the Nakem Presidents: Dr. Aurelio S. Agcaoili, Nakem International; Dr. Alegria T. Visaya, Nakem Phillippines; Dr. Alvin B. Gaerlan, Nakem California; Ms. Imelda D. Toledo, Nakem Canada; and Mr. Rey Agra, Nakem Without Borders.

During the formal opening ceremonies, five poets will be launching their respective books, properly a glimpse of themselves as children of the north and a glimpse at the lives they live on and off the academe, their culture woven in their poetry.

The five are Dr. Aurelio Agcaoili of the University of Hawaii; Prof. Honor Blanco Cabie, night editor of the Manila Standard; Dr. Orlino and Mrs. Estrella Baldonado; and Dr. Alvin B. Gaerlan.

Agcaoili, trilingual poet and lexicographer, will have his seven books in English and Ilokano: Paraoir Poems; Covidizado Dagiti Aldawtayo/Our Days are Covidized; Elsewhere/Iti Sabali a Disso; Pardanon/Consummated/ Konsumado; Bayengyeng; Ayamuom; Pagsasao (edited with introduction); Adda Sara ti Dadaulo Ken Dadduma Pay a Sariugma/The Leader Has Horns and Other Tales.

The others are: Dr. Orlino & Mrs. Estrella Baldonado, Angalo Ken Aran; and Dr. Alvin B. Gaerlan, The Almighty Moves Mountains; Dungdung-aw/Lamentations.

Published by Hoaeae Publications in Marikina City, Cabie’s Dandaniw (Poems) slim volume, with Introduction by Agcaoili, contains nearly 70 sonnets of Shakespearean, Petrarchan and Spenserian – from his nearly 65,000 sonnets written since the mid 1960s – and 20 others in cinquain, haiku, tanka, palindrome and villanelle.

We understand there has been an all-inclusive discussion by members of the panel on the problems confronting the indigenous culture and an in-depth look “into the assumptions of the conception and conceptualization of indigeneity and the indigenous in the context of the ontological issue of existence and lived-experiences in the world. “

Agcaoili says the panel argues that today’s appropriation of the indigenous “has been largely a function of accommodation and token understanding of what and how it is to live in freedom and in diversity.

“It argues further that when the issue of the indigenous is removed from the political issue of hegemony, this only serves to perpetuate the same institutionalized expressions of domination authored by the state and its various apparatuses.

“The panel demonstrates that we cannot live full lives if the practice of the indigeneity as sanctioned by the state divides people into two classes, that of (a) the indigenous people, and the non-indigenous people.

“Towards the end, this practice is an extension of the divide-et-tempera tactics of the

regimes of colonizers, conquerors, autocrats, despots, dictators, and emperors.”

Agcaoili’s account provides a good exordium for the three-day event.

The discussants and the participants are blest.

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