We follow Neil Tristan N. Baga and Ruby Catherine G. Banez as they chew over “Through the Looking Glass: The Ilokano in Arguilla’s Eyes” during the annual 16th Nakem Conference, hosted virtually by the Benguet State University with nearly 100 participants from five different time zones.
The paper aimed to discover the Ilocano character as described by the Ilokano writer, Manuel Arguilla, a native of Bauang, La Union, with the qualitative approach employed, with content analysis of nine of the acclaimed writer’s short stories: Midsummer, Ato, Heat, A Son is Born, The Strongest Man, How My Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife, Elias, Felisa, and Misa de Gallo.
Implicitly and explicitly, Arguilla characterizes the Ilokano to be imbued with Kinadayaw, Kinamanagparabur, Kinanumo, Kinasa-et, Talek iti Dios, Pannakilangenlangen, and Kinamanagayat.
The paper recommends the following: (1) masterpieces of other Ilokano writers be studied to discover other Ilokano values, and how these have changed over time; (2) a study on how saturating the curriculum with regional literary pieces from all over the country, emphasizing on the literature of the region where the school is situated be undertaken to uphold and celebrate the country’s rich and diverse literatures.
Baga and Banez are agreed the La Union government and DepEd–La Union should recommend to the DepEd Textbook Committee inclusion of Arguilla’s masterpieces in Philippine Literature textbooks.
They add in their paper that DepEd and CHED-La Union should compel the study of Arguilla’s masterpieces to appreciate the province and its people, and be proud of Arguilla’s excellence, and reverence to his Ilokano identity.
Orlino C. Baldonado and Estrella Baldonado of the ECE Media in Knoxville, Tennessee, also presented a paper titled “Pabuya Cultura” aimed at what they call reintroducing “performance and drama in an integrated form into the literary life of the Ilokanos.”
Pabuya is more inclusive and includes the Zarzuela (sometimes spelled Sarzuela). Zarzuela is too limited and associated with the colonial cultural mentality of the Ilokanos.
Forms included in Pabuya Cultura are Zarzuela and drama, declamations, monologues and daniw, komedia and moro-moro, religious festivals, folk dancing, and singing.
According to them, “We use Pabuya Cultura as a rallying term to reinvigorate our dramatic and
performing arts culture. Now, there are fewer performances and lesser audiences, although some towns still include the festivals and folk dancing in their fiestas.
“We need to do something now because social media is diverting the interests of our people. Pabuya Cultura will cater to the interests of everyone especially our youth, making it easier to build up the body of knowledge to preserve our culture. We propose to establish an Ilocano Pabuya Cultura Center to promote performances and gather the scripts and records of plays, videos, poems, oral recordings, and books.”
The Nakem presentation included ideas for funding and design of the Pabuya Cultura Center, and how to make it sustainable so it will continue to grow to improve the culture and education of the Ilokanos.
Another paper prsented during the three day conference which ended last weekend was “Sambal on My Mind: The Language, Culture, and the Prospects of my People for the Next 100 Years” by Samuel Balintay, Jr. of Zambales.
His paper presents the case of the Sambal peoples and their languages, and raises the point “It is not that there is only Sambal as popularly understood; it is the case that there is diversity in their language even if they are all bound up by the same ecology that has, for centuries, nurtured them, nourished their bodies and minds, and kept them alive despite the odds of living with the earth and mountains and forests.”
Let’s read him: “I argue as a Sambal that if the state will not adopt a proactive policy on the nurturing and thriving of the way of life of the Sambal peoples, their languages and cultures will be lost, and the
knowledge from these forms of life that have molded them as peoples will go extinct.
“The extinction of the Sambal peoples will only mean the impoverishment of the entire country. For the Sambal peoples to continue to exist for the next 100 years, the Philippine state and its agencies must provide institutionalized protection to their languages, cultures, and ways of life.”
Good and clear pages.