Incommunicado

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 INCOMMUNICADO, 1979

 

Iti final a pammadso nga agsarak iti kararua ni Bannuar ken ti amana, ni Padre Ili. Agpadada a sumuko iti balikas, ti anak iti bartolina, ti ama iti pannakaisina ti ulona iti bagina tapno salaan dagiti nangkautibo iti lengguahe ti wayawaya. Mapukawda ti engkanto ken poder dagiti sao kadagiti bibigda—ti ama ken ti anak–agingga nga agbanag ti panagungar ti bagi manipud iti tapok ti ngatangata.

                                                       

                                                            Manipud iti estoria ti Dangadang. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iti maysa a rabii a naimut ti littugaw kadagiti bakras ti Bantay Didaya a nagsarakanta manen kalpasan ti adu bulan a dagiti laeng maar-arakattot a balikas kadagiti bungon ti Marlboro a nalabaga a paggaayatmo nga ammalan no kasta nga engkantaduennaka ti poetika ti rebolusion ket apirasem, iti lulonam kas iti pispismo, dagiti pakabuklan ti wayawaya iti aginaldaw a biag ti ili, daytoy ti kinunam kaniak, tatang: “Maulit-ulit nga awan labas ti pakasaritaan a di mangikankano iti kaaduan.”

            Iti adalem ti kinasipnget iti dayta a rabii a ti riaw laeng dagiti mangrabrabii a billit ti kaduata, inladawak dagiti tawen a dita nagkita, siak iti panagbirbirokko kadagiti umno a saludsod, sika iti panagbirbirokmo kadagiti makasair a sungbat kadagiti an-anek-eken ti ili.

            Nagubingak iti panaglanganmo iti inaldaw-aldaw ket ni laeng nanang ti adda kadagiti kanito nga agpangpangaduaak.

Ket ita, iti dayta a rabii, binallaagannak: “Ti korona nga itangtanggaya dagiti bayoneta kas kadagiti napipigsa nga igam itatta, saan nga agbayag daytoy ta ti daga a mangsapsappuyot iti daytoy a korona ket alisto laeng nga agrugnay.”

Nangngegko ti kinunam, ket inkabesak ti kada aweng ti sirib a naggapu kenka.

Saan a para kaniak dagitoy, ammok.

Ket iti adalem a sipnget, miniram ti panagreggaay ti daga a mangsapsappuyot kadagiti bayoneta nakaiparabawan ti korona.

            Mangrugiak idin nga agsaludsod kadagiti nakain-inaka a bambanag.

            Mangrugi metten nga agdanag ni nanang, agdanag para kaniak.  Iti maysa nga aldaw, kinunana nga awan iti panunotna, “Bannuar, Bannuar, diakon kayat ti agikali kadagiti libro, kadagiti balikas, kadagiti makadunggiar a testamento dagiti amin nga inhustisia itatta.”

            Kinitak laeng ni nanang, minalangaak.

            Yaw-awatna idi ti tasa ti kape a tinimplana para kaniak.

            Addaak idin iti seminario, ket saan a mailimed kadakami dagiti pasamak.

            Maysa a padi ti pinugotanda iti ulo idiay Bakun. Inubonda ti agdardara pay laeng nga ulona iti maysa a natiradan a kayo sada sinalsalaan, kas ritual ti balligi ti kinaranggas ken kinadamsak. Intanemda ti bagina iti narabaw a tanem kalpasan ti panangipabpabuyada iti munisipio.

            Maysa a madre ti niramesda nga immuna sada inkali iti narabaw a tanem iti maysa a kabakiran a mangtantannawag kadagiti kataltalonan iti laud.

            Maysa pay a seminarista ti inkipasda, dinukotda manipud iti maysa a paggigimongan. Inyadayoda iti ka-Manilaan ket iti nalawa a kabambantayan iti daya, sadiayda nga inkali a sibibiag.

            Maysa pay a padi ti sinibbarut dagiti ahente ti rehimen. Nagpukaw a kasla asuk ket agingga ita, di pay nabirokan.

            Nakabutbuteng dagidi a panawen.

Adda mata dagiti diding.

Adda lapayag dagiti balay dagiti kaarruba.

Adda bibig dagiti impato a gagayyem.

Ken adda di matawaran a poder dagiti kalsada.

Iti man warnakan wenno iti pagadalan wenno iti telebision, adda sippayot kadagiti sao a maisawang. Maysa nga artista ti nangabalbalay iti sagrado a sao ti Baro a Gimong ket idinto a kunaenna a ti masapul iti panagdur-as ket disiplina, imbagana a bisikleta. Iti karsel a nagapon, nagdalus kadagiti naaangseg nga inidoro dagiti soldado a no uminom dagitoy ket kalsa sarangusong.

Naturay ti armada dagiti anniniwan a no agiwaras iti kinaranggas ket kas kadagiti dudon a dimmarup kadagiti nalawa a kapagayan idiay Nueva Ecija, a kalpasan ti idadarupda ket nabati laengen dagiti rurog dagiti nakabugbugi

a pagay ken dagiti saning-i dagiti agtagibalay.  

            Iti naminsan nga isasar-ongmi ken nanang idiay Laoag, daytoy ti nasaksiak: Nagdara dagiti puraw a pader ti kapitolio a kunam la no kinautibo dagiti agip-igup iti dara sada intupra kadagiti semento tapno iti itutupar ti ubing nga init ket maikassaba ti sabali nga ebanghelio.

            Imperialista! Imperialista! kuna ti pader.

          Ibagsak ang tuta ng Kano! kuna pay ti abayna.

          Presidente, tuta, tuta! kuna pay ti sabali.

            Komunismo ti agari!

            Agkabannuag, mapankayo iti away!

            Berdugo ti ari, berdugo, berdugo!

          Makitam dagiti agkarkaranting nga ima kadagiti pader, dagiti arutang a naaramat a pangpinturada iti nakalburuan a pader. Ngem nabuddak ti kolor ti rebolusion, kas iti dara nga agsayasay kadagiti duogan a semento a nanglikmot iti duogan met laeng a kapitolio.

            Ditoy, ditoy met laengen a kapitolio ti nakasaksiak ti umuna a kinasuitik ti Baro a Gimong.

            Addaak idin iti Kabataang Barangay.

            Nalpasen ti minimini ti baro a konstitusion ket maidiayan daytoy iti maysa a referendum.

            Di pay nalpas ti butos, siento porsienton ti resulta iti Ilokos!

            Adu a salamangka dagiti lapis ken dagiti buteng ti babai a lider. Karatista, no agkibaltangka iti isungbatmo iti diayana a panangallilaw iti ili iti nagan ti baro a konstitusion ken adu a killo a paglintegan, agsalakanka laengen iti ospital dagiti nablo. Wenno iti ospital dagiti agmauyong.

Disiotsok idin, timmapugakon iti kolehio, ket uray no sikikidemak ket memoriadokon dagiti checkpoint dagiti militar a kanayon a nakasirip no ababa ti buokmo segun iti ‘clean cut look’ ti Baro a Gimong.

Panawen idin dagiti saragisag a pagan-anay, ket ni Daria Ramirez, iti pagsinean a Life iti asideg ti tiendaan ti Laoag, sadiay, sadiay idi nga agkarkarag ni Daria Ramirez, ti umuna a babai nga innak inayat ngem dinak met inay-ayat, ti umuna a babai a gargari ti pusok iti panawen ti gerra, ti babai nga agkarkararag a kasla siak ti ibagbagana iti kararagna, siak ti ur-urayenna, siak ti itudtudona, siak ti pangpangngeganna,  “Lord, Lord, give me a lover.”

Anian!

Ket iti agsarsaragisag a naingpis a wetlook ni Daria Ramirez, ket iti disiotso nga edadmo a kas kaniak, dimo mapagdasig ti reggetmo a makirinnapukrapok kadagiti aktibista dagiti arutang ken kadagiti agaktibista met laeng a rikna gapu iti mariing nga ayat kadagiti dakulap, sa kadagiti luppo, sa iti teltel, santo iti agbegbeggang a barukong.

Lord, Lord, give me a lover, kuna ti diosa a diwata a mutia a  Daria Ramirez ket malipatak nga insegida ti rebolusion iti nagan ti isu amin nga umili. Isu nga iti agsipnget, kas panagkumpable, kas panangdawat iti pammakawan, iti sakaanan ti nakabitin a Jesukristo, isuna a nailansa iti krus, iti naulimek a malem iti rebolusionario a simbaan dagiti Aglipayano iti abay ti rebolusionario a pader ti puraw a kapitolio iti Laoag, sadiay, sadiay nga inkarkararagko, “Lord, Lord, give me a lover.”

Saan nga immay kaniak ni Daria Ramirez. Nungka, saan, saan a pulos, uray no kadagiti rabii a malpas ti teach-in maipapan iti rebolusion ket umay kaniak ti ladawanna, umagibas isuna iti panunotko, agampayag kadagiti pader ket kas iti anghel dela guardia ket iwaragawagna ti madagdagullit a rebolusion iti pusok, Lord, Lord, Lord, give me a lover.

Ngem simmangpet ni Wayawaya kaniak.

Diak mamati idi a Wayawaya ti naganna. Kunak idi nga ang-angawennak ti naumbi a rupana, ti naamo nga isemna, ti managpabus-oy a kallid iti makannigid a pingpingna.

Ngem ta isuna, ni Wayawaya!

Kitaek ti class cardmo, kinunak.

Dika mamati a Wayawaya ti naganko?

Pinerrengko, ngem ti timekna a kasla agkankanta ti simmalikepkep iti bagik. Nariknak idin ti gutad ti engkanto ti umuna nga ayat a kunada, ti ayat a namagbalinsuek iti kinataok.

Atiddog a buok a nalanaan iti Johnson’s, dayta ti malagipko iti umuna a panagkitami ken Wayawaya, panagkita a di inggagara no di ket pinagtakkub dagiti pasamak. Gumilap dayta a buok iti ubing a bigat idiay Diliman nga immuna nagsarakanmi nupay dikami met nagsinsinnarak, kas nakunakon itay.

Addakami iti maysa a teach-in iti maysa kadagiti nakalemmeng nga opisina ti maysa met a kunsintidor a propesor,  maysa a napeklan a buyot ti rebolusion a mamagbalbaliw iti balabala ti gimong ket kontra-partido ti abusado a rehimen.

Addakami iti suli iti nailet nga opisina a nairanta a para laeng iti lima a tao ngem sangapulo ket tallokami amin.

“Nireydda ti nobisiado ti San Jose idiay Novaliches,” kuna ti maysa seminarista nga agig-iggem iti gitara. “Itay kano laeng bigat. Kumarkaro ti dida panangikankano iti simbaan.”

Kinitak ni Wayawaya ket sadiay a nariknak ti maysa a panagdanag.

Ita pay ket ammokon: diak ipalubos a mapukaw kaniak ni Wayawaya. Diak ipalubos a yadayoda kaniak, iti imatangko, iti sibayko, iti pusok.

            “Masapul ti panagsagana,” kinuna manen ti seminarista. “Adu kano pay dagiti isarunoda a seminario ken simbaan. Atiddog ti listaanda.”

            “Kitaek man ti ID-m,” indawatko ken Wayawaya, iti wagas a kasla arasaas. Nariknak ti panagbangag ti bosesko, ken ti panagari ti nerbios iti karabukobko. Kasla adda naigangal a bukel ti santol iti lilidduokak. Agbaybayo ti barukongko, a di masansan a mapaspasamak. Seminaristaak, Apo Dios a manangngaasi, kunak. Ngem apayaunayen ti umagibas dagitoy a rikna a diak man mapengdan. Kasla adda sariwawek a kobra ti naipupok iti sellangko ket agpaisalakan daytoy iti pus-ongko.

            “Dika mamati?” Adda di inggagara a gargari iti bosesna. Ket ti lung-ayna ket lung-ay ti sukaw iti maysa a danaw idiay Suba, ti sukaw nga ay-ayamen ti littugaw nga aggapu iti Sabangan santo agpaarayat kadagiti bambantay a kimmurdon iti daya. Idi pay ket kayatkon a tagikuaenen dayta a timek, idulinko iti lakasa ti pusok tapno iti bigat, kadagiti disoras ti pannakairidep, riingek dayta a boses, wenno riingennak, tapno kadagiti di mabugbugiaw a kanito ket pagsaritaanmi ti daniw ti rebolusion ken ti aweng ti panagwaywayas ti ili.

            Ken dagiti putot ti rebolusion nga inawenmi, dakami, siak nga agnagan iti Bannuar, isuna nga agnagan iti Wayawaya.

            “Nakakaskasdaaw. Diak pay nakakita iti kasta a nagan. Wenno nakangngeg. Malaksid iti arapaap,” kinunak. Immisemak, iti mababain nga isem, iti kasla isem ti ubing a naduktalan ti inangna  a nagisakibot daytoy iti dolse.

            “Come on, Bannuar. This is the twentieth century.”

            “Agpayso,” kinunak. Ngem diak nangngeg ti insungbatko. Pagammuan adda nanalpaak iti teltelko, sa ti agsasaganad a kugtar kadagiti takiagko, sa kadagiti luppok, sa ti pang-or ti putan ti kuarentaisingko iti ulok.

            “Matayakon, Wayawaya,” kinunak.

            Awanen ti ammok pay kalpasanna.     

            Iti Bartlino 28, sadiay ti nagsublian ti puotko.

            Malaksid iti dua dangan a kuadrado a tawa a pagilusotanda iti ania man a kayatda nga ilusot, sangagasut ket dua nga aldaw ti napalabas sakbay a nasirayak ti init.

            Diak ammo no kasano a nalasatak daytoy.

            Binilangko dagiti aldaw iti ramayko, sa iti ramay dagiti sakak.

            Idi maibus dagitoy, inramanko dagiti kukok, sa dagiti lapayagko, sa dagiti abut dagiti agongko. Amin, amin a pagilasinan no manon nga aldaw a diak nasirayan ti init.

            Iti kada aldaw ket ti awan patinggana a ritual ti pannakaaradas ti balikas manipud iti bibigko.

            Diak maisawang ti kinaasinnok: a siak ti bannuar, a siak ni Bannuar, a siak, iti kadagupan dagiti amin a panagsagaba, siak, siak, siak ti saksi iti kamaudiananna nga aldaw.

            Naganmo? nagubsang a saludsod ti soldado. Ubing a soldado a no agtagalog ket kasla latta agil-ilokano.

            Bannuar, isungbatko.

            Tangina nito at niloloko pa yata ako!

            Pangalan mo sabi? Nabangag ti bosesna. Adda suron nga umip-ipus iti timekna. Wenno dagensen iti panagmanso iti kapada nga agkabannuag, kapada nga agtagtagainep para iti ili.

            Bannuar.

            Diak salsaludsoden no ania ti pagbalinam iti sumuno nga aldaw, gago!

            Mariknak dagiti nabantot a gemgem nga agdisso iti rupak, iti pispisko, iti teltelko, iti barukongko.

            Manalpaak ti rupak ket mabariwengwengak.

            Tagikukuaennak ti bariwangwang, idiayak iti bariwangwang, idiayak nga aglansad, iti kaunggan ti nangisit nga abut, iti lansad dagiti amin a panagtutuok, iti sipnget dagiti amin a kasipngetan.           

            Maminsan pay a panalpaakennak ti soldado a no ar-arigen ket kakaek, manongek, ti soldado a di agaddayo dagiti tawenmi, ti soldado a no nagkurus koma dagiti dalanmi ket nalabit a kinainnay-ayamko iti kudisi wenno ullaw wenno gubgubat kadagiti rabii a naslag ti bulan wenno panagtaliw iti arrarawan kadagiti aldaw a kaar-arado dagiti kataltalonan. Alaenmi ti alat, ket kadagiti nabalinsuek a talon a dinalanan ti arado, birokenmi sadiay ti maisakmol nga arrarawan, yawidmi kadagiti balbalaymi tapno maikirog tapno iti sardam, iti ubing a sardam dagiti sarsarita dagiti ugma ken estoria dagiti ar-aria a pagbutbutngan, ket pagraranudanmi, maysa nga arrarawan iti kada sakmol a mangted iti sustansia iti mabisbisinan a bagi.

            Kayatko ti agsalakan, ti mangibaga a “Saan, saan kadi, manong!” ngem kasla tudo dagiti gemgemna iti pispisko ket mabtak dagiti bibigko ket agsayasay ti dara iti ngiwatko. Iti kasta, agbuteng dagiti balikas iti dilak, agsanudda amin, aglemmengda kadagiti kueba iti barukongko ket uray no agpaarayatak kadagiti agsaksaksi a diding, iti agsaksaksi a sipnget, uray no agkamangak iti appupo ti bartolina, uray no agpaisalakanak iti saklot dagiti nalamiis a datar, awan, awan sumngaw a balikas kadagiti bibigko. Mamedmedan ti dilak, ibartolina daytoy ti sabali a klase ti buteng.

            Tanginang tibak na ito. Di niya pinipili ang kinakalaban. Uray ti presidente, dina ketdin ikankano. Kasla saan ketdin nga Ilokano. ‘Bag koma no sabali a tao. Ti ubing a soldado daytoy, iti panangikanawa iti Ilokano a presidente.            

            Mangngegko dagitoy, ngem kadagiti lapayagko laeng, sadiayda a mangmangted iti kuriro, iti buong ti ulo. Agpulpuligos ti lubong, agwerwerret nga agud-uddog, wenno agud-uddog  nga agwerwerret. Ket aguddogak a maiwerret, wenno maiwerretak nga aguddog iti madagdagullit a pannusa dagiti soldado ti Baro a Gimong.

            Ita, diak makasao.

            Nagsanudek ti dilak, napanen iti kibungkibongko.

            Wenno addan iti kibungkibongko ti dilak.

            Kitaenta man ti laing daytoy a tibak, kuna ti kakaek a soldado.

            Nangngegko ti karasakas ti danum, sa ti timba a naikkan iti danum.

            Kitaenta man ti laingmo, adi a manangngaasi iti ili ngem di met manangngaasi iti bukodna a bagi, inlaawna iti boses a naturay, kasla boses nga aggapu iti kanion, iti ngudo ti paltog, wenno iti wangawangan ti tanem.

            Insayyona ti sangatimba a danum kaniak.

            Nagkintayegak iti lamiis iti dayta a kanito a di pay nakariing ti bigat.

            Diakon mabilang babaen kadagiti ramay dagiti ima ken sakak no mano nga aldawkon ditoy, iti daytoy nasipnget a bartolina a nangipupokanda iti kinaasinnok.

            Immukuok ti panaas kadagiti sugatko.

            Kinagatko ti bibigko, ket nariknak ti nagbassisawen a ngiwngiwko.

            Kastoy gayam ti matay, kunak iti bagik, kastoy gayam ti patpatayenda, ti in-inut a dusdusaenda tapno agpullo, tapno mapadso, tapno matukkol ti durina, tapno agkanta, tapno agibaga iti uray ania laengen ditan.

            Komunistaka?

            Saan.

            Ania’t grupom?

            Awan ammok.

            Balangkantiska.

            Awan ammok, apo.

            Kasta, kayatko dayta. Apo, kunam kaniak.

            Awan ammok, apo.

            Apay nga addaka iti teach-in iti Universidad?

            Kayatko a maammuan ti pudno.

            Ania a pudno ti kunkunam, gago? Maysa a gemgem ti nanglittaak iti pispisko.

            Manen, nagsanud ti dilak ket pinanawannak manen dagiti balikas.

            Addada kadagiti imak, kadagiti murdong dagiti ramayko, iti barukongko, iti pispisko, iti pusok, iti barukong, iti sellangko.

            Adda dagiti balikas kadagiti pader a nangikarsel iti sipnget tapno iti adu nga aldaw ket maipaidam kaniak ti lawag dagiti aldaw.

            Adda dagiti balikasko, tatang, kadagiti altar a pinanawak, isu met laeng nga altar a pinanawam.

            Adda kadagiti sulinek iti sakaanan ti matmatayen a dios, iti nakamassayagen a dios, iti dios a nangisit, iti dios a binubuot, iti dios a lumlumoten, iti man simbaan wenno iti bodega dagiti rebulto iti parokia a nagserserbiam sakbay nga insagmaknaka ti rebolusion nga ita, itatta a pannakamanso, ket isu met laeng ti nangisagmak kaniak.

            Alawek dagiti balikas iti angin, ngem iti bartolina, naimut dagiti angin, tatang, naimutda ket diak makaanges, adda dagiti batibat kadagiti barukongko ket pampandadaganda ti kulay-ongak, ket iti maysa manen nga arrabis, iti maysa manen a panagdisso ti putan ti paltog iti lasag, marba, tatang, marba dagiti amin a templo ti kinakired, sumuko ti lasag, ket agaruyot ti dara iti malkab a kudil, agsayasay manipud iti dunggiar, ket agayus iti semento.

            Mapukawko ti simbeng ti panunotko, tatang.

            Makitak ti krusmo, ti ulom a naitudok iti kayo, ti ulom a salsalaan dagiti soldado.

            Malpengak iti ariangga dagiti kabusor.

            Malmesak iti ikkis ket agariangga ti riknak, agragut nga agtalakiaw ket birokek ti bagik kadagiti katurturodan, kadagiti kabakbakiran, kadagiti kabambantayan, kadagiti kalsada a sadiay ket sabtennakami dagiti igam dagiti soldado, dagiti kumilaw a mata dagiti polis, dagiti manutsutil a bangbangir nga isem dagiti barbed wire.

            Saanak a matay, tatang, kunak, ket kantaek ti umuna a lualo iti disoras a bigat kalpasan ti napuyatan nga agpatnag: Miserere nobis, Miserere nobis.

            Danggayannak, tatang, ket agallangogan ti kantata, kas iti maudi a panagkitata.

            Dagiti turod ti tallaong, dagiti kayo ti tallaong, dagiti mangrabrabii ti tallaong. Agbuya dagiti beggang kadagiti sigariliota a masindian tapno mabugiaw dagiti lamok.

            Dios ti agngina kadagiti suratmo kaniak, tatang.

            Dispensarem ti diak pannakakita iti panagdakkelmo, Bannuar, anak, kunam iti suratmo, kadagiti suratmo.

            Nasakit ti nakemko kenka idi diak pay maawatan. Immulak dayta a sakit ti nakem iti panunot. Impudnok kenka daytay ta kasla maysa a bulkan nga agbettak.

            Ammok, ammok, kinunam kaniak.

            Isallabaymo ti imam, tatang, ket amin nga inim-impenko a sakit ti nakemko kenka ket timmalakiasda, simmurotda iti dakes nga angin ti mannamay, ket kadagiti pantok dagiti bantay a di pay naadak ti tao, sadiayda a nagturong tapno didanton agsubli iti barukongko.

            Ammok, paggaammok, barok, anakko, kinunam, tatang. Nagbanarbar ti timekmo ket ammok, ammok, adda nagayus a lua iti pingpingmo iti dayta a nasipnget a kalapaw a nagsarakanta.

            Manalpaak ti arrabis ti soldado kaniak. Dumteng manen kaniak ti baro a panagbariwengweng.

            Manalpaak ti gemgem ti soldado iti nadudogen a lasagko ket mangngegko ti timekmo sakbay ti maudi a pannusada kenka, tatang.

            Adu pay ti sagabaen ti ili, Bannuar, kunam iti timek a nalimbong, iti timek a tinenneb ti altar ken ti kabakiran iti altar.

            Wenno altar iti kabakiran.

            Adu pay, Bannuar, ket adu pay a sakit ti nakem ti maidaton iti wayawaya, iti nagan ti wayawaya, kinunam.

            Ket iti sangok ket ni Wayawaya iti makaabbukay nga isemna, ti buokna nga agsilengsileng iti kuridepdep a lampara iti kalapaw a nagkitaanta.

            Siak ni Wayawaya, kinunana, kas panangiyam-ammo iti bagina. Ngem kas pangsutsutil met kaniak gapu ta idi damomi nga agkita ket diak namati a Wayawaya ti naganna.

            Siak met ni Bannuar, kunak, ket agkulibagtong ti rugso iti pusok.

            Ibaludko ni Wayawaya kadagiti imak ket bay-ak a sairuennakami ti agpatnag.

            Kurientienyo ti buto ti langgong, kunaen ti soldado.

Isemannak ni Wayawaya.

Sayuanyo ti pus-ongna iti nalamiis a danum, imandar ti soldado.

Arakupennak ni Wayawaya. Bisongenna dagiti dunorko.

Diyo inggaan agingga nga agpudno, kuna ti soldado.

Idulinmo dagiti daniwko kenka, kunam kaniak, tatang.

Ket isungbatko kenka, Amin dagitoy ket idulinko iti pusok. Sadiay, kadagiti sulinek ti silalagip a pusok, didanto kaano man maagaw kaniak dagiti balikasmo.

Ket makitaka, tatang, makitaka iti sipnget ti bartolina.

Ket makitak ni nanang nga awananen iti rupa.

Ket makitak ni Wayawaya a mangar-arakup iti mapadso a kararuak.

Amin dagitoy ket makitak, ngem naglibasen dagiti balikas iti bibigko.

Siertuenyo a dinton makasao pay, imandar ti soldado nga addaan kadagiti darepdep a kasadar met laeng dagiti darepdepko.

Iti kasipngetan, tallikudannak ti balikas, libasannak tapno mapan kadagiti sabali pay a bartolina.

 

Prayer for the Warsi or Waris

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Baribari, apo, baribari, apo. 
To drive away entities that disturb you, you can get a bowl, put rice and salt, mix the two in the bowl, and start throwing it around and inside the house if need be while saying this orasion solemnly and repeatedly.
Among the Ilokanos, this is called warsi or waris. 
Umadayokayo, umadayokayo
Awan makasapul kadakayo.
Awan masapulmi kadakayo.
Didakam ringringgoren, apo
Disakam singsingaen, apo
Umadayokayo, umadayokayo
Awan masapulmi kadakayo. 

Revaluating Regionalism, Revaluing our Languages

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Revaluating Regionalism, Revaluing Our Languages—

Or Why We Need to Advance Linguistic Democracy

And Cultural Pluralism Education in the Philippines

 

Aurelio Solver Agcaoili

 

This is written with so much hope—a hope that multicultural and linguistic justice education will soon see the light of day in the form of an enabling law in the 2008 Multicultural and Literacy Education Act of the Republic of the Philippines, or House Bill 3719.

 

Hope is summoned here, as this piece narrates as well of the disappointments of many advocates for cultural pluralism in the Philippines, their disappointments from people who are in the struggle to fight for our right as a nation-state, a struggle that taps into what we have been fighting for centuries and centuries and yet there seems to be no let-up in this struggle for justice and fairness and cultural democracy what with the latest challenges on the HB 3719 initiative. That initiative puts together the work of many enlightened and visionary cultural and political workers of the Philippines—an initiative that attempts to give a framework for an honest-to-goodness literacy education for all peoples of the Philippines.

 

The framework calls for a multicultural education philosophy that requires the reintroduction of the mother languages of educands into the classroom, prior to the expansion of their world through their knowledge of second or third languages such as Tagalog (or Filipino) and English.

 

That initiative, seen in the 2008 Multicultural Education and Literacy Act, is a bold admission of a very simple fact of human understanding of the world and life, of cognition, and of knowledge—a simple but an emancipatory principle of education: that each educand learns better and more productively if what he is supposed to learn learns it in his own language, and thus, in accord with the tools of his own culture.

 

Translated: we productively and effectively come to know the unknown by starting off from the known—from the knowledge you know because it is mediated by the language you know to the knowledge that you have yet to know, and still mediated by the language you know precisely because it is your language.

 

Why nostalgic writers and activists and educators who cannot come to terms with the demands of liberatory education—or cannot understand our own mothers who taught us their stories in their own language and their stories are forever stored in our living memory—baffles me. While nostalgia may offer some soothing to the tired nerves, it does not lead us to the road to liberation when in that nostalgia, we dream of a nation-state with a center, and that center is the absolute, and that center holds everything true, good, and beautiful.

   

This reflection hopes to offer a way out as well, as it tries to face squarely with the vicious causes of these twin disappointments—a way out followed by two institutions that have shown us the courageous way to get out of this cultural and linguistic and educational quagmire: the Commission on the Filipino Language and the Linguistic Society of the Philippines. 

 

While it is written with a hopeful note, it also unravels the poverty and the evils of the despotic philosophy of a supremacist claim to any language, whether national or official or auxiliary, as in the case of the Philippines, and whether that language is called forth in the name of the nation, in the homeland or in the diaspora, or in the name of nationalism, especially when that nationalism vending only the statist kind and does not, in any way, look into multicultural nationalism as a more productive philosophy of national development in a country that is linguistically and culturally diverse such as the Philippines.  

 

The hope is that those who are well-entrenched in the cultural life of our peoples of the Philippines shall have the courage to own up our diversity and find ways to articulate that diversity in the everyday life of our peoples in the homeland, and in the everyday life of those in exilic communities that are, because they have become cultural and linguistic zombies courtesy of the statist notions of national language and national culture that they get from ‘unthinking’ popular cultural forms such as The Filipino Channel, have become advocates of unilingualism in the Philippines.

 

The disappointments are coming from two events.

 

First, the continuing and calculated—even calculating—failure of those in the struggle in the name of our people to see that one-language-one-nation policy does not work as this self-serving policy has not resulted in the dreamed-of, even fantasized, ‘unity’ of all the peoples of the Philippines, a unity they defined as one speaking, not in glossalalia, but unison, with only one kind and form of speech coming from the lips of every person from Aparri to Zamboanga—and now also, as the argument goes, in exile, or in all exilic communities of the peoples of the Philippines.

 

Never mind that these peoples, while they are also peoples of the Philippines, are also Ilonggos, Sebuanos, Bikolanos, or Ilokanos—peoples with their own nation before that Philippines nation was ever invented or dreamed of.

 

The inutile argument—as is the case of many language groups in the United States of America that recognize only ‘national’ languages as legitimate members of their groups even if these groups summon the energies of exilic communities in this country by their come-on about languages as ‘heritage’ and ‘least commonly taught’—about speaking in one and only one language is counter-productive to contemporary nation building, with our multiple, diverse, and potentially powerful experiences becoming a firm foundation for that kind of a nation, nation-state, or polis. The errors of history, indeed, are not the monopoly of one country. Afraid to dispel our ignorance because of the comfort and convenience it gives us, we go the route to oppression and injustice and despotism in the name of a glorious nation, nation-state, country, or polis.

 

I have spoken with some people in the nationalist movement of the Philippines—people who advocate whole-scale reforms for and in the name of all peoples of the country—and from their lips spring ideas about language and culture that follow the same route to the ‘Mandarinization’ of all Chinese peoples, the ‘Niponggoization’ of all peoples of Japan, the ‘Bahasa Malaysiaization’ of all peoples of Malaysia, the ‘Bahasa Indonesiaization of all peoples of Indonesia, and the Englicization of all peoples of New Zealand and Australia and all other territories of the English-speaking peoples, as is the case of all French-speaking peoples declaring ‘liberte’ and  ‘fraternite’ and ‘egalite’, among other abstractions, to themselves and to the peoples they colonized.

 

Some uninformed language planners, speaking from a Third World, even a Philippine perspective, call this the road to decolonization, and thus nationalization, and thus, the speaking not in tongues but in the language of the center of power, which center, by the way, is deemed the source of all that is good for the nation.

 

I call this route a glamorized vision of oneness, unable to see that Babel has its own virtues even if it has its own vices, but the virtues are more because they speak more of the diversity of peoples, the diversity of their experiences, the diversity of their dreams, and the diversity of their gifts and potentials to draw up a blueprint for a homeland of justice and fairness. And linguistic and cultural democracy.

 

Second, the position and disposition of blindness adopted by those who are supposed to be in the know about the requisites of a liberating form of education, culture, arts, and literature—a liberating because critical and committed consciousness—for and in the name of all ‘peoples’ of the Philippines.

 

Here, I am refusing to call the people of the Philippines with no ‘s’.

 

I am particularly cognizant of the fact that the Philippines, as a political product of history and collective action, is an artificial ‘name’ that we seized from the colonizer in an effort to make a name for ourselves, but that name, unfortunately, was initially the name of the enemy until we have come to appropriate it as our own.

 

The enemy’s name becoming ours is something curious, and that is what is not too clear to people who are writing about out pains as  ‘a people’ but the big trouble with their writings is this ‘a people’ is a sterile collective, good for its nominalist and centrist historical worth, but does not capture the diversity that is us as ‘peoples’ of the Philippines.

 

Not a long time ago, an individual from originally from the Philippines but not now working as a paralegal writing legal briefs for some lawyers in New York reminded me of the ungrammatical sense of the phrase ‘peoples of the Philippines’.

 

I wrote back: the grammar of our life as a nation-state is in the acknowledgement—unconditionally an active and proactive recognition—that we are not simply a ‘nation’ understood in its 19th century European sense, but we are a nation among nations:

the Ilokanos had their nation before we ever had the Filipino nation,  the Bisayan peoples had theirs, and the list goes on and on.

 

This failure in literature, in all other forms of consciousness-production related forms of our life such as education, the media, religion, and the arts are all guilty of permitting themselves to be used as instruments of this continuing linguistic injustice and cultural tyranny befalling us as peoples of the Philippines, Tagalog and non-Tagalog alike.

 

The problem with all ‘peoples of the Philippines’ is that we have developed a kind of a partnership of pain-inflicting and pain-enduring, one side of us the sadist, the other side the masochist—and through the blessings of the continuing ignorance about how to build a just and fair, and honestly democratic country, we have come to enjoy this partnership, and now, it has become us, and all those who wish to see our collective experiences using another lens are deemed needing redeeming because they are lost, and thus, like the Good Shepherd in that other part of us, we have to call them back into the fold, rain or shine, in good or bad weather, and if still they do not want to hear our voice, we call them—as I have been called many times by people with the Tagalogistic bent—reactionary.

 

Curiously, one of the aims of the “Filipino as a Global Language” conference held at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in 2008 and attended by two national artists of literature and a top-brass government administrator of historical knowledge and historical knowledge production is “to avoid regionalism”—a goal that to me, is not only insulting as it is insensitive, but is also hopelessly ignorant of the realities of Philippine life in its complexities.

 

One good guess for the faddish popularity of that immoral phrase—‘to avoid regionalism’—that denies as it deprives the rest of the peoples of the Philippines the public space they deserve is the kind of sociological and anthropological inquiry in the 1960s that was fueled by an attempt to rush the ‘Filipinization’ of everything and anything Philippine, including the ‘Philippine’ language—declared the ‘national’ language—that was to be the embodiment of our collective life, as this collective life demanded to be expressed in a national conversation that required one and only one language, as this one and only one language is the only that is capable of doing so.

 

With the imposition—that is the key word here: imposition, by law, and by the navy and the army that attended that law—of the ‘national’ language, academic scholarship went on a roll and then, lo and behold, someone talked about the ‘patterns of culture’ of the peoples of the Philippines, and these patterns evolved into stereotypes and profiles that until now, are still being used to explain who we are and our defects, and the possibilities for these defects to be corrected, if at all.

 

Thus evolved what we call the ‘hiya’ school of thought—one that included, among others, issues about smooth interpersonal relationships, and why corruption from the higher-highest echelon of government to the lowest-ranking barangay tanod or barangay paramilitary force continues to hound and haunt us until today.

 

The ‘hiya’ in the ‘hiya school of thought’ became so powerful that most academics believed in it, and because the whole exercise of knowledge production was reinforced by repetition especially in the popular media and in the school system that was held hostage by a cabal of educationists who did not know any alternative to explain who we are according to the framework of the essentialist concept of ‘hiya’ and other characteristics of all peoples of the Philippines. 

 

Other key institutions of Philippine society and the churches caught this produced Philippine-produced ‘knowledge of the Philippines and its people’, and albeit tacitly, also believed and promoted it. Think of songs and rites and rubrics and ceremonies in churches in the Tagalog language in Ilokano churches in the Ilokano-land. Think of the Laoag International Airport with that banner, huge in the blue Ilocos skies and constantly made to dance gracefully by the Ilocos breeze, announcing that here, here in this Ilokano-land, you are to be permitted to speak only in Tagalog (well, Filipino is written in that banner) and English. And in Ilokano schools, young educands in the grades are prohibited from speaking in Ilokano, at the cost of their snack or lunch money or both.

 

The education sector produced a metaphor for all this systematic act of valorizing the experience from the center, with scholars and artists and social scientists giving their blessings to this reclaiming of ‘brownness’—indeed, a reclaiming devoid of historical correctness but uselessly repeats the mistake of Gat Jose Rizal the national hero about a ‘Malayan’ heritage—with the production of a thick book supposedly about ‘Filipinoness’, thick at 885 pages, but with the culture of the center at its center, with only a sprinkling of what passes for the diversity of peoples in the Philippines as a token recognition that there is that other Philippines that has been historically, culturally, educationally ‘othered’. And yet, that book, Brown Heritage, adopted a totalizing strategy to account everything Philippine—or Filipino. 

 

That fantastic claim to a “brown heritage”—something that would creep into the pronouncements of Ferdinand Edralin Marcos in his delusion of grandeur about a New Society would continue, and today it continues to creep into our understanding of what is the ‘nation’ in the national language, the ‘nation’ in the national culture, the ‘nation’ in the national literature, and the ‘nation’ in national education.

 

We are not going to include here the two other social structures of the Philippine homeland, as these are utterly devoid of redemption unless we go the route of a federalized way of life minus the political warlords and kingpins and henchmen: our economic and politic life.

 

This means that we have to re-view and re-visit Manila as the center of everything and plan ahead with the idea of a decentralized, federalized economic and political development for all the regions and univocally declare that for four centuries we have given Manila the chance to dictate everything to us, and that today is the time for this Manila to go to the regions, because the regions have the resources Manila does not have; the regions have the diversity of peoples and their talents that Manila does not have; and that the regions have fed and nurtured and propped up Manila for so long at the expense of their own peoples.

 

This leads us to education, and the advocacy of two of our institutions, their advocacy a cause for celebration. With them, we who believe that we deserve something better, that a multicultural education will propel us into something more redeeming, needs to be known to all those who have not seen this view. 

 

These institutions could have come from two opposite ends but they are not—not today—as their positions of support for a new vision for all of us are imbued with the wideness of vision no one ever had in the past.

 

One of these institutions is a government institution mandated to make good with the promise of the three Philippine Constitutions we have had since the Commonwealth Period under the Americans (1935, 1974, and 1987) to have a national language.

 

In the last three years, the Commission on the Filipino Language evolved from an institution of linguistic and cultural fossilization—and linguistic and cultural hegemony—into an institution that we can truly claim as having finally come to its senses of recognizing that you cannot develop the Filipino language without developing all the other Philippine languages.

 

Why it took seventy years for well-meaning scholars, top-notch academics, and cultural leaders to realize this simple truth and fact of life is beyond me. They say the nose is the most difficult part to see. And yet it is so close to the eyes.

 

And seeing and re-seeing we must, because this is the challenge of historical truth, the challenge of the dynamism of our collective life, the challenge of responding to the issues that matter most to us: that challenge, for instance, of an education that is emancipatory because you are giving back the educand her own voice—her own language—the tools through which she gets to mediate her own world, her own life, her own visions, her own dreams, her own sense of self and community.

 

Even before it became a fad, the Commission on the Filipino Language dared to re-think of its position on the languages of the peoples of the Philippines, while at the same time guarding—and guarding well—its role of making it certain that the seeds of what could be termed a true Philippine national language could be sown.

 

We cannot hold—and the Commission’s chair, Dr. Ricardo Nolasco, has gone on record to say this—that when two languages are mutually intelligible, one is another language, a different one.  This dilemma is what afflicts Tagalog, in principle as in practice turning into ‘the national language’ by a stroke of a pen, even if there is a qualification somewhere that it serves only as the ‘basis of the national language.’

 

In ontological philosophy, this dilemma is solved by the rule of quiddity: a thing is what it is.

 

In saying that, we have yet to do a lot to evolve an honest-to-goodness national language that reflects us as peoples of the Philipppines, with our gifts and blessings of diversity and uniqueness—our offerings to the homeland.

 

The computational linguist Carl Rubino wrote that unless Tagalog goes though a linguistic re-structuring, the stigma that Tagalog is equal to P/Filipino remains and the isomorphism, Tagalog=P/Filipino, inutile as it is, continues to be suspect. The job of the Commission, thus, hews on these challenges.

 

Ask an Ilokano writer writing in ‘Filipino’ in what language he is writing when he writes in ‘Filipino’ and he will tell you he is writing, not exactly in Filipino, but in reality in Tagalog. Even with the kind of language engineering that I consciously employed and deployed in my Tagalog novel, Dangadang, with the Ilokanisms everywhere that critic Roderick Galam has observed, that novel remains a Tagalog novel.

 

But the key point that we wish to see resolved is the continuing struggle of the educands in all Philippine classrooms with second and third languages that they have to grapple with in order to understand the basic concepts of life, concepts behind the skills that they to be equipped with, and concepts about their need to understand more creatively and productively about their world.

 

When an Ilokano child of seven is brought to a Philippine classroom, he learns his ABC in Tagalog and English, and learns the shapes of the land around him in Tagalog, and the numbers in Tagalog and English, but never knowing how these things are in the language of his home, his community, and the people around him.

 

Ilokanos who do not know any better—in the Philippines as in Hawai’i, and perhaps in other Ilokano exilic communities, as in Southern California where Ilokanos do not want to be caught speaking in Ilokano except when they talk about the scandals of Philippine politics at the parking lot of Seafood City in Carson City—argue that their children know how to speak Ilokano already and that they are not supposed to be learning that in their schools. Ilokano students or Ilokano-descended students who are taking other language courses argue the same way: they do not need to study Ilokano because they already know their and their parents’ language because they use it at home. Make a leap of that argument and you have Ilokano and Ilokano-descended students choosing Tagalog over Ilokano because Tagalog is the national language. That, to me, is an educational choice—and it is the right of every student to decide in accord with what she thinks is best for her. But in that statement is a subtext of entitlement, and a faint sense of cultural denigration. And if there is an example of cultural denigration, this is it.

 

Our definition of cultural denigration, prima facie made sufficient by these examples replicated everywhere where internal colonization by Tagalogism and Tagalogization has taken roots, stops here. I am certain that the exemplification of the Ilokano experience is exhibited in all internally colonized countries, the colonization of one of the entitled languages with an army and a navy no less benevolent than the external colonizer. Colonization in all its forms is evil and cannot be morally justified. And all forms of colonization are all the same in their evilness. 

 

The cultural denigration that has become rampant in all of the Philippines and in the diaspora —that hatred of peoples of the Philippines of their own languages and cultures, a hatred born of the constant conditioning that the language of the periphery, their own language, is not any better and would only do them any good—has turned into a cultural and linguistic bomb. No one ever voluntarily wills for a linguicide, much less for culturicide. Countries have split because of language and culture issues; countries have been formed because of mutual respect for their peoples’ languages and cultures. The Philippines can try ways either for unity or division. This choice is not only political, but is moral as well, as this spells the death of languages, and thus, the peoples whose lives are mediated by these languages.

 

If we look at the rationale of the Linguistic Society of the Philippines for their support for the intents and purposes of House Bill 3719, we ought to believe again in the healing capacities of our minds when our minds are open to the vast possibilities of our hope, not only for the future but also for the present.

 

Here is a position that takes in all the virtues of what a culturally plural society is all about.

 

Here is a position that helps to finally formulate a liberating education for all our peoples of the homeland.

 

We can only hope that, with the constant triumphalism of all teachers of Tagalog in the diaspora for and in the name of the national language some call justly Tagalog, as in the University of California at Los Angeles and as in a Tagalog language program in a university in Russia—an honest acknowledgement of linguistic facts and not being beholden to a nation-state’s hegemonic project that resulted in cultural and linguistic marginalization—this revisiting of cultural diversity will become an honest educational act of educationists open to the truths of diversity and pluralism, and not beholden only to the Fascistic notion of a statist idea of nation and nationalism and  ‘national’ language.

 

In May, the participants of the 2008 Nakem Conference endorsed the Gunigundo proposal for a multicultural education that will bring back the glory of the mother languages, the various lingua franca of the country, the first and native languages, and the second and third languages of the Philippines, Tagalog and English included.

 

We can no longer act like Manuel Luis Quezon now. Or should we pray that his mistake takes on a new form of linguicide?

 

 

Hon, Hi

Oct 26/08

Time to Say Goodbye, Ilokano Translation

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Time to Say Goodbye

 A. Bocelli/Trans. into Ilokano by Aurelio Solver Agcaoili

 

Quando sono solo

Sogno all’orizzonte

E mancan le parole

Si lo so che non c’? luce

In una stanza

Quando manca il sole

Se non ci sei tu con me, con me.

Su le finestre

Mostra a tutti il mio cuore

Che hai acceso

Chiudi dentro me

La luce che

Hai incontrato per strada

 

Time to say goodbye

Paesi che non ho mai

Veduto e vissuto con te

Adesso si li vivro.

Con te partiro

Su navi per mari

Che io lo so

No no non esistono piu

It’s time to say goodbye.

 

Quando sei lontana

Sogno all’orizzonte

E mancan le parole

E io si lo so

Che sei con me con me

Tu mia luna tu sei qui con me

Mio sole tu sei qui con me

Con me con me con me

 

Time to say goodbye

Paesi che non ho mai

Veduto e vissuto con te

Adesso si li vivro.

Con te partiro

Su navi per mari

Che io lo so

No no non esistono piu

Con te io li rivivro.

Con te partiro

Su navi per mari

Che io lo so

No no non esistono piu

Con te io li rivivro.

Con te partiro

Io con te.

 

 

Time to say goodbye

 

When I’m alone

I dream on the horizon

And words fail;

Yes, I know there is no light

In a room

Where the sun is not there

If you are not with me.

At the windows

Show everyone my heart

Which you set alight;

Enclose within me

The light you

Encountered on the street.

 

Time to say goodbye,

To countries I never

Saw and shared with you,

Now, yes, I shall experience them,

I’ll go with you

On ships across seas

Which, I know,

No, no, exist no longer;

With you I shall experience them.

 

When you are far away

I dream on the horizon

And words fail,

And yes, I know

That you are with me;

You, my moon, are here with me,

My sun, you are here with me.

With me, with me, with me,

 

Time to say goodbye,

To countries I never

Saw and shared with you,

Now, yes, I shall experience them,

I’ll go with you

On ships across seas

Which, I know,

No, no, exist no longer;

With you I shall re-experience them.

I’ll go with you

On ships across seas

Which, I know,

No, no, exist no longer;

With you I shall re-experience them.

I’ll go with you,

I with you.

 

 

Ilokano Translation by Aurelio Solver Agcaoili

 

No agmaymaysaak

Darepdepek wanawanan

Balikas matellay;

Wen, ammok awan lawag

Iti siled

Nga idiay awan init

No kaniak awanka.

Kadagiti tawa

Iti amin ipakitam pusok

Nga inikkam lawag;

Kaniak ipalibotmo

Lawag nakitam dalan

 

Kanito’t pakada

Il-ili diak pay nakita

Ken diak imburay kenka,

Itan, wen, mapadasak ida,

Mapanak a kaduaka

Aglayag iti taaw

A diak ammo,

Saan, saan no adda pay;

No kaduaka mapadasak ida.

 

No addaka’t adayo

Darepdepek wanawanan

Balikas matellay,

Ken wen, ammok

A kaniak addaka;

Sika, bulanko, addaka,

Initko, kaniak addaka.

Kaniak, kaniak, kaniak.

 

Kanito’t pakada,

Il-ili diak pay nakita

Diak imburay kenka,

Ita, wen, mapadasak ida,

Kumuyogak kenka

Aglayag tataaw

Nga ammok,

Saan, saan, awanen;

Kaduaka, manen mapadasak ida.

Kumyogak kenka

Aglayag tataaw

Nga ammok,

Saan, saan, awanen;

Kaduaka, manen mapadasak ida.

Kumuyogak kenka,

Kaduaka.

 

Naridam nga ayat, daniw

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NARIDAM NGA AYAT,

NARIDAM A RIKNA

 

Maidaton ken Vangie Somera iti panagkasangayna

 

Daytoy ti paggaammo dagiti aldaw kenka,

Agkasangay a mutia dagiti rag-omi:

Naridam ti ayatmo kadagiti basbas

Naridam ti riknam kas iti maila nga arasaas

 

Anansata iti panaguyas dagiti oras

Ket ti kankanayon a pammatim:

Kadakami ti bendision dagiti katawa

A kaduadaka nga aggarakgak

 

Iti laurel kas iti palma a kenka idaton

Ket ti ayug iti pusomi inna kabulon:

Sika nga agkasangay kadagiti sardam

Kas ita, sika ti mataginayon

 

Kabsat a kakaen dagiti ararawmi:

Yawatmi dagiti kannag, kas kadagiti bigat

Malukag dagitoy amin iti panagriing

Ti rabii nga iti ikotmi inkam iparanud

 

Iti tallaong dagiti amin a namnama

Para kenka, kararag iti biag iti sabong

Nga iti busel daytoy ket ti agmatuon

Manayon a testigo ti kansion a taginayon.

 

 

A Solver Agcaoili

Hon, HI/Oktubre 24, 2008

Countering Tagalism and Tagalogization

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Our Redemptive Response to

the Timeless Temptations of Tagalogism and 

to the Tyranny of Tagalogization

 

Aurelio Solver Agcaoili

 

 

We pray we are not going to fall into the same trap of Tagalogism and Tagalogization again, not when we were made to believe—tempted and fooled—by the powers-that-were.

 

Tagalogism is an attitude—a mindset that has trapped us into a belief of a Philippine nation-state as revolving around a center and only this center is important.

 

As a mental disposition, Tagalogism is not about the Tagalog people, and many of them have nothing to do with, as many of them have been deprived of their own language and culture when, with a stroke of a pen, Tagalog as a language suddenly became something else.

 

The counter-discourse to Tagalogism is about how we revisit the definitions of ourselves, and how we express those definitions in light of our basic need for emancipatory knowledge of who we are as a Philippine nation made up of many nations, where we are, and where we are going.

 

Tagalogization, on the other hand, is that long juridical, linguistic, political, economic, and cultural process that has made it certain that this trap, this temptation relative to the entitlement, privileging, and valorization of Tagalog, is going to continue to have its stranglehold over all of us, Tagalog and non-Tagalog peoples alike.

 

The enlightened Tagalog people are not the problem here; those who continue to have that triumphal attitude with the lording of Tagalog over all other Philippine languages are the problems.

 

For even among the non-Tagalog people, there lies among them poets and writers and academics and scholars and linguists who do not know that the entitlement of one language over another may lead to an exclusion that could be irredeemably damaging to the excluded languages and cultures.

 

The enemy is in every individual of the Philippines, in the homeland as well as in the diaspora.

 

And this individual is lurking—or hiding behind some abstractions we call ‘nationalism’ and ‘education’ and ‘literacy’, abstractions that, when devoid of the proper context, are there only to make superiority pronouncements and thus legitimize the exclusionary tactics of the center.

 

 

The beginnings of our linguistic and cultural Gethsemane can be traced to that Constitutional Convention that began in 1934 and ended in February 1935. That Con-Con could have taught us peoples of the Philippines and other peoples of the world the virtues of cultural pluralism and respect for language rights, this last one veritably an expression of unconditional respect for basic human rights. 

 

But the 1935 Constitution that came out of that convention of the supposedly most capable and most astute political leaders of the land co-opted with the powers-that-were was an occasion of falling from grace, a grace that could be given only by respecting cultural diversity and by pursuing language pluralism as a way of life of a nation made up of many nations such as the Philippines.

 

The proceedings of the Con-Con bear witness to this fall that we are trying to rise from today, an act of courage on the part of all peripheralized ethnolinguistic communities of the Philippines, with the House Bill 3719 that hopes to remake the template of an oppressive educational system in the Philippines that makes everyone in basic education—and even in tertiary education—as cultural and linguistic zombies and robots of the Tagalog and English languages.

 

These ethnolinguistic communities have been peripheralized because we have come to believe that our salvation as a people is the glamorizing of a single speech, and the allowing of ourselves to be continually hoodwinked by the Marcosian dictum of ‘isang bansa, isang diwa’—one language, one nation—a dictum that worked like an incantation to the dictator and his speech writers, including some academics from the University of the Philippines serving as his think-tank and book writers and who passed on to him the French model of that abominable phrase, clearly not an original formula for state-crafting and nation-building. 

 

The failure of many of us to understand the spirit of cultural pluralism as the spirit that could have shaped our collective life is the same failure that we continue to commit until today, seventy-three years after.

 

And those people who are in the know—the very people who could help us free ourselves from the enchantment of Tagalogism and Tagalogization are sometimes the very people that tell us that we have no business fighting for our linguistic and cultural rights and that our only business is to speak the language of the center, act in that language, and dream in that language.

 

The powers-that-were that continue to incarnate and reincarnate as the powers-that-are and the powers-that-be in our midst and wearing many hats, entrenched as they are in the academia and in the corridors of power are to be judged by our ethnolinguistic communities as Pharisees and Sadducees of Philippine culture. Here come the conquered becoming conquerors, the colonized becoming the new colonial masters.

 

These people come to us saying the same things against our languages and cultures—and even against our sense of selves. And these people have no new argument to offer against our claim to the language of our own selves, identities, and particular lives.

 

The discourse of these same people is the same discourse we have heard more than seven decades ago except that now, with the lobotomized agents of uniculturalism and monolingualism in Philippine education by their sleeves and pockets, they are more boisterous now, their loud noises their bluff to make us cower in fear and accept their illogicalities and bad because unproductive gospel of monolingualism in favor of the language of the center.

 

If we looked at their discourses, we can see the same rehashed arguments, some of them empty of content as they are self-serving: (a) the valuing of regional languages is ‘impractical’ and that (b) we have to give ‘Tagalog’ language—the basis, they say, of the national language—a chance. We gave Tagalog one fat chance for seven decades and it did not deliver the goods except to destroy millions and millions of us.

 

These arguments come from people who know no other Philippine languages, even if some of them, as one has said, that they can curse in other languages.

 

Even this admission of cursing in a language not really your own is an admission of guilt: that you have no respect for languages other than your own because you cannot see these languages as the dwelling place of a people’s soul owning these languages except as your language for cursing. This admission is itself an admission of failure in the unqualified respect that we all have to give to language and cultural rights as an expression of our respect for fundamental human rights. What we have therefore are culturally entrenched practitioners of Tagalogism and Tagalogization—cultural agents of injustice—who can only afford to tell us that Manila is the center of the Philippine world and that whatever Manila does is the truth.

 

The call for a ‘national’ language did not come as a pure and pristine call for nation building.

 

The motives, as history would tell us, are a mixed bag of personal defense against the charge of multilingual incompetence to the outright internal neo-colonization agendum by the same people who were—are—announcing liberation to our people.

 

We go the route of Manuel Luis Quezon and his flawed preference for the Philippines ‘run like hell by Filipinos’ than by, say, ‘run like heaven by Americans.’ Using that and other language claims, he would argue for the process of decolonization by following the route of the nation-state model imported from Spain, Germany, England, and France. That was his template for the Philippine nation-state speaking a single language. In his own words, he went to Vigan, had the ‘misfortune’ of using an Ilokano interpreter so he could talk with the Ilokano people, and which experience humbled him so, and which, in many ways, prodded him to push for a ‘national’ language that he understood and he could use, to speak with the Filipino, who, in his imagination, would now be all parroting Tagalog words and phrases learned unimaginatively in many unimaginative Tagalog language classrooms. Read the subtext here—which subtext he also said in that speech in Letran College: imagine me a President speaking to my people using an Ilokano interpreter because I do not speak Ilokano. And so his imperial solution: let everyone speak Tagalog, the Tagalog of the President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines.

 

Quezon, of course, conveniently forgot that for Spain and Germany and England and France to have become examples of modern-day European nation-states, they all had to suppress—and the operative word here is ‘suppress’—other legitimate languages and thus cultures of their territories, thus creating the questionable semblance—a dubious verisimilitude—that these countries had only one and only one ‘national’ language.

 

The history of the oppressive power of the French Academy, a powerful cabal of Francophiles that cannot see that there are other languages of France beside French, is a proof of the oppressive power of Tagalog, sometimes passed off as Pilipino, or if one were from the more esteemed universities in Imperial Manila, this Pilipino is now Filipino, in accord with the dictate—read: dictate—of the 1987 Constitution. 

 

Quezon admitted this presidential dilemma—a classic dilemma of a ‘Tagalogistic’ mind, a mind that is content with the Tagalog view of the universe and that never tries harder to see other Philippine realities and Philippine worldviews afforded by other Philippine languages and cultures.

 

The Tagalogistic mindset, therefore, is ‘the’ implausible Philippine mindset.

 

With the illogical isomorphism in that equation Tagalog=Pilipino/Filipino—a curious thing that many knowledgeable linguists would reject for its flawed claims in a bioculturally diverse country like the Philippines—Tagalogism and Tagalogization have become the official path to creating the ‘new’ Philippine nation-state, a political dream that was valorized when the center of power came to Imperial Manila with the blessings of all the colonizers and their allies and collaborators, a political dream nevertheless that was also dreamed of by many ‘nations’ of the Philippines in the Visayas, especially when they declared their own republic that antedated any claims to an imagined Tagalog republic. In the North—in the Amianan—was the Candon Republic.

 

With the center of power—the axis of all power that remained undistributed until today—unable to communicate with those beyond that center for either because of lack of motivation as in the case of Quezon and all those other Quezons that came after him or because of linguistic and cultural incompetence, the center of power thus served as the French of France, the Madrid Spanish of Spain, the English of London, and the German of Berlin and elsewhere. Thus inaugurated the Tagalogization of all peoples of the Philippines, at least from the perspective of the sitting president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines at that time. Read through the proceedings of the 1934-1935 Constitutional Convention—but read the Jose P. Laurel version published by Lyceum of the Philippines, a version with only one copy at the Laurel Foundation Library. The other version published by the House of Representatives more than 30 years after the ratification of the 1935 Constitution is not as complete as the Laurel version.

 

The sentiments against what some people term ‘chauvinism in regional languages’ or ‘regionalism’ and that fossilized call for a ‘national’ language that is in league with other things ‘national’ such as a ‘national’ animal and a ‘national bird’ and a ‘national’ flower and a ‘national dress’ come to view when we look at the intents and purpose of the 2008 Multilingual Education and Literacy Act of the Philippines and the House Bill 3719 of Representative Magtanggol Gunigundo.

 

No, a people’s language does not operate the way a carabao, the national animal, would. Nor does it operate the way a national flower would like the sampaguita that is now missing, except in lurid streets in Manila where it is vended as a garland for the Child Jesus and the Mother of Perpetual Help.

 

A language is the abode of a people’s soul, the dwelling place of his sense of self, his sense of the world, and the sense of his dreams for both the present and future, for that present that is also a future. Deprive a people of that language and you have murdered them. Advocates of linguistic rights call this linguicide, or the killing of a language.

 

Lately, the Linguistic Society of the Philippines, an august body of well-meaning academics and professionals who are in the know about human cognition and its relation to the mother language, human knowledge and its relation to human and societal liberation, and the liberatory power of the language of our souls released a statement supporting literacy education in its multicultural form. We applaud the LSP for doing that.

 

In May 2008, delegates of 2008 Nakem Conferences held at St. Mary’s University in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, passed a resolution totally supporting HB 3719. That resolution, published in a scanned form at the Nakem Conferences website, was handed over personally to Rep. Gunigundo in July 2008, at a consultative assembly participated in by Nakem Conferences.

 

The participants of the 2008 Nakem Conferences understood where multicultural education should begin: in their classrooms. That was their rationale for the endorsement of the Gunigundo legislative initiative.

 

With the abominable cultural denigration that is happening in the Philippines—with many Filipinos (except the Tagalogs and Tagalogized) being made to behave and think and view the world as Tagalogs and these same people looking down upon their own mother languages and their own cultures and the peoples who do not behave and think and view the world like Tagalogs—the teachers and academics and cultural workers of Nakem Conferences saw that HB 3719 is the only way to go to once-and-for-all claim for the peoples of the Amianan and all other peoples of the Philippines the fruits of linguistic democracy and cultural justice.

 

In sum, HB 3719 argues for a multicultural education for the Philippines, a template for education that values the basic human experiences of peoples, experiences that are mediated by their own languages and not by other people’s languages, and grow from that experience in keeping with the duty to relate to and with other people to form a community.

 

The educational template of the Philippines is one that does exactly the opposite: students are schooled in the language of other people’s languages, with their schooling basically a rote memorization afforded by Tagalog (well, for Constitutional reasons that some would like to read: P/Filipino) and English. Thus we have students who never learned who they are and yet are expected to learn other people’s sense of who they are through the second or third languages, Tagalog and English, languages that are constantly rammed into their throat as soon as they get into their classrooms, the ramming consistent and legal but never moral and culturally just, until they all become cultural and linguistic parrots.

 

It is something curious, thus, that while many of the nation-states of the world that followed the route of the fossilized view of ‘national’ language are revisiting the linguistic injustice and cultural tyranny that they systematically effected in order to glorify their nation-state a la Napoleon who had to deny his being Corsican in the name of the glorious French language, the Philippines is still going the route to ‘national’ language, a concept that valorizes, privileges, and gives entitlements to one and only one language.

 

We can grant here, tentatively, the virtue of ‘national’ language as defined by well-meaning scholars of Philippine languages as the imagined medium of communication among the peoples of the Philippines.

 

But we cannot close our eyes to the fact that in an effort to do so, taxpayers’ money and the scarce resources of the country have been used to promote, sustain, develop, and teach Tagalog (well, now, they call it with another name). Except for token support from some government agencies for token awards or grants for some token cultural programs, no support of the magnitude given to Tagalog has ever been given to other Philippine languages, major or minor. The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines provides for the its translation into the major languages. We do not know if, apart from Tagalog, that Constitution has ever been translated into the languages of all the peoples of the Philippines so that, like the claim to the Philippines as some kind of a working democracy, people could say, in their own language, that their basic human right to their own language is guaranteed by their own Constitution. This means that this failure is itself a proof of unconstitutional acts of the Philippine Government, its pertinent language and culture agencies included.  

 

There is nothing wrong with regionalism in the Philippines.

 

The territorial basis of Tagalogism and Tagalogization as unruly phenomena of Philippine collective life is a region as well.

 

The fact that at this time only a handful of urban centers are developed is a clear proof of the underdevelopment of the Philippines—or that more sinister fact of uneven development. This underdevelopment/uneven development is entwined in how we continue our political, economic, and cultural life—with Imperial Manila as the center of the Philippine universe, and thus with Tagalog as ‘the’ language of power.

 

When a country talks of democracy but has only one language to claim as a developed language, when it has only a few city centers as developed centers, and when it has only one place from which all political powers come from, then, that country has no business calling itself a democracy. Truth is: it is not. That country is a cultural tyrant; that country is a linguistic despot.

 

The genesis of our misery is that we believed in the lies of the past and we permitted these lies to frame and structure our political, cultural, and economic life. The currency of these lies is that this nation-state that we have built is made up of only one nation (one read from Imperial Manila) and that it is impossible to speak of various states that could make up that nation among nations. What goes with that currency is the dubious position we have accorded to Tagalog, a position that has made many our people fall into the trap that Tagalogism is the governing applied philosophy of all peoples of the Philippines and that Tagalogization is the only one true process we have to go through in the pursuit of the ends of the Philippine nation-state.

 

With HB 3719, we are going to put an end to the systemic and systematic miseducation of our people. And soon.

 

Our peoples of the Philippines have decided—and this decision is wrought in the language of their souls. And that language is their language.