(Ken Nellie Somera & Ernie Somera, iti panagkasangayda, Noviembre 2008)


Iti arinunos dagiti nangina aldaw

Ket ti rugi ti namnamatayo amin


Agkasangay met dagiti ragsak

Kas iti panagbuniag dagiti ray-aw

Iti pannakirambak ken kayaw


Maiputong ti nabiag a korana kadakayo

Kas panglagip iti panagngilin ken lagip

Iti itatao dagiti darepdep nga iti barukong

Sadiay nga agindeg kadagiti maila

A tagainepmi para kadakayo


Agbilangkami kadagiti adu ragsak

A panagullo iti nabunga nga ayat


Ket ita nga aldaw, iti panangkablaaw

Kadakayo, awatenyo ti karayo,

Nabungon dagitoy iti ayug ti puso,

Nalasuan kadagiti isem nga isagutmi

Iti pul-oy tapno iti kada sardamyo

Ket ti yepyep ti turog, makapabang-ar

A karayo dagiti idda nga agkarayo

Met kadakayo, agumbi iti nasam-it

A dayyeng, di maungpot ti agnanayon

Kas iti awan labas a kinalabon

Koma kadakayo ti di makaliwat

A mangted iti pannakairanud

Nga agmatuon dagiti agkakabsat a birtud.


Iti kastoy nga oras a panangkablaaw

Kadakayo ket ti mangted-ungar

A tarumpingay dagiti araraw.


A Solver Agcaoili/GUMIL Hawai’i/Nov. 2008



Statement of support to end social injustice in Philippine education






                                  November 15, 2008

We belong to a language and culture advocacy group, the Nakem Conferences. The organization is composed of various colleges, universities, cultural organizations, writers, cultural workers, academics, educational administrators, and scholars on Ilokano- Amianan Studies and from the Amianan, or Northern Philippines.

Likewise, Nakem Conferences has been responsible for the holding of three international conferences on language and culture education, with researchers and scholars on the various cultures and languages of the Amianan and abroad in attendance.

We are issuing this statement to make it known that we are concerned about the continuing injustice in the respect, promotion, preservation, and teaching of our first and mother languages, our lingua francae, and other indigenous languages. We are concerned because of the cultural denigration that has been the lot of our students in the continuing ‘Tagalogization’ of basic education classrooms of the country. 

Nakem Conferences holds on to the belief in the basic principle of justice and democracy in education. In a multicultural society such as the Philippines, the principle of justice and democracy translates to the access by educands of the knowledge that is pertinent to them through their own mother language.

This principle of educational access through mother language starts off from the idea that formal education in whatever form is always a dynamic movement from the known, which is knowledge mediated by mother language, to the unknown, which is the knowledge mediated by other languages that the educands have yet to learn.

We have looked closely and critically at this issue of knowledge acquisition and education in the Philippines and we have come to the conclusion, based on our experiences as teachers, educators, cultural workers, and researchers, that the present set-up that permits our educands access to knowledge that they have to acquire through Tagalog and English alone and never through their mother tongue and the lingua franca  have closed the door to productive knowledge about themselves, their communities, their relationship to other peoples, and the competencies they need to know as they equip themselves with the skills required in their life of civics and citizenship. 


We at Nakem Conferences have given our full support for a congressional legislative initiative to address this need, with the Multicultural Education and Literacy Act of 2008 (or House Bill 3179) proposed by Hon. Magtanggol Gunigundo. Our support for that initiative establishes our commitment to multicultural education and to once-and-for-all zero in on the fundamental issues of Philippines education, issues that have not been given importance in the past but which issues are the main reasons why we are lagging behind in the basic skills that our educands must be equipped with.

We continue to support initiatives to advance the cause of multicultural education and to pursue the ends of cultural pluralism as a way of life in our country.

Multicultural education, and thus, multilingual education as well—in and outside our classrooms, in and outside the educational system—are practices that are not only liberatory but also what social justice and cultural democracy demands of us as a pluricultural and plurilingual society.

It is in this light that we are issuing this statement in order to give full support to all initiatives that advance these ends and to declare that the skewed and continuing two language-education in the Philippines—the education of our people in Tagalog/Pilipino/Filipino and English—is not sufficient to make good with our commitment to a socially just and fair, and therefore, emancipatory education.

Our partnerships and linkage at Nakem Conferences have proven that to insist on the right of our peoples in the Amianan to be educated in their own languages, to be educated in the mother tongue, and to be educated in the lingua franca is the way to go to fight for our indispensable human rights to our own languages and cultures.

In our case at Nakem Conferences and in the Amianan, we are clear about the importance of Ilokano as the mother tongue of many and as the lingua franca in most of the three regions (Region 1, CAR, and Region 2). We are mindful as well of the existence—and the need to assure that they do not only survive but also thrive—of various languages in the Amianan and their indispensable role in the pursuit of a liberatory education that we have been dreaming for so long for our people long deprived of the abode of their souls, their own mother tongue.



President, Nakem Conferences International Philippines

c/o Mariano Marcos State University

Batac, Ilocos Norte, Philippines



President, Nakem Conferences (International)

c/o University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Honolulu, Hawai’i, U.S.A.


Abueva’s Statement on MLE


(This is a statement emailed to me by Dr. Abueva today, Nov. 26, 2008. It came even as I was sending him also various statements from advocacy groups from the Ilocos, Amianan, and Ilokano-Amianan diasporic communities.)


A Proposal to the Presidential Task Force in Education

November 27, 2008


By Dr. Jose V. Abueva

PTFE Member, President of Kalayaan College

and Co-Founder of Kadugong Bisaya

 Most nations use their own major language as the language of education, business and governance. This makes it easy for all citizens to learn and communicate with one another nationwide in a common language. This common language enables them to build and sustain a cohesive nation and to participate in governance if they really want to and are empowered to do so.


As a multilingual and multicultural nation, Filipinos have adopted Tagalog (called Pilipino, then Filipino under the 1987 Constitution), as the national language and an official language, and English as the second official language. Both Filipino and English are used as languages of instruction from the earliest years of schooling but these can become obstacles to learning if the children are unfamiliar with either, and the teachers are not proficient in them. Thus some teachers use the mother tongue or regional language unofficially.   


The Constitution regards non-Tagalog or non-Filipino languages as “auxiliary” languages,” whatever this means. This actually marginalizes them by making them inferior to Filipino and to English as official languages widely used in teaching, business and governance.  Some non-Tagalogs fear that if this policy and practice persists their mother tongue will eventually become extinct.


To ensure effective learning among our students that will also strengthen nation-building and democracy, the Presidential Task Force in Education recommends the use of the mother tongue or regional language as the basic language of instruction in the first six years of schooling. This is the aim of the Gunigundo Bill, R.A. 3719, also known as the Multilingual Education and Literacy Act. The mother tongue facilitates the students’ learning of all subjects, especially science and mathematics, the national language, and English as a global lingua franca. Professional linguists attest to this.


A paramount concern of the Presidential Task Force in Education is to make education, particularly higher education and technical-vocational education and training, relevant and responsive to the actual needs and demands of “the market,” i.e., business and industry, the professions and the labor force. 


The proposed use of “the mother tongue” or regional language as the language of learning in basic education is to focus on learning for effective education, nationhood, and citizen participation in democratic governance and national development. It is desirable that Filipinos are enabled to speak, read and write in their mother tongue and thereby help sustain the nation’s linguistic and cultural diversity and identity as a  democratic nation.


Ilokano Choral Recitation-Kansion Ti Kinse




(Sinurat para iti Ilokano class ti Farrington High School, Honolulu, Hawai’i, kas panglukat a bilang iti dramatisado a presentasion iti naglaok nga Ilokano-Samoa program, Disiembre 12, 2008)


Kinse, kinse, kinsekami

Timmakdang ‘ti Hawai’i    (pronounced:  Ha-wa-i)

Daka, daka-dakami

Immayen nakipagili


Ditoy Hawai’i nga immay

Lucky now we live Hawai’i     (pronounced: Ha-way)  

Rigat, rigat, rigrigat

Agmulagat a binagat


Planplantasion nagmula

Mata, mata nagkamata

Andur, an-anus lat’ adda

Ita, itatta, kukuat’ gin-awa.


Kinse, kinse, kinsekami

Timmakdang ‘ti Hawai’i

Dakami, daka-dakami

Immayen nakipagili



Daniw a Sagut: Manong Benjamin


Manong Benjamin


(Ken Benjamin Somera, kameng ti GUMIL Hawai’i

iti panagkasangayna, Noviembre 2008)


Puso iti puso a pinnulapol ti awagda

Iti daytoy a panagkikita saan nga iti linabag

Dagiti sarita iti mata no di iti isip

Ken kammayet iti panunot.

Adu dagiti lagip a kabinnuray

Kas iti pagraranudan no magteng dagiti oras

Ti panaglalanglang, iti dulang

Kas iti langenlangen a nairut iti et-et

Nabara kas iti temtem iti lamiis

A mabalabala kadagiti balikas

Nga ibuksilan iti ringgor man

Wenno iti lansad di managanan nga ulimek.

Sulim ti sulim, kakaen a Benjamin.

Patanorka dagiti nasam-it nga isem

Ti pannakibunggoy dagiti katawa nga ibiat

Aglayag iti baybay kadagiti barukongmi

Dakami a kakaduam kadagiti daniw

A di pay naaramid, di pay nasirmata

Ngem ti paulo amin dagitoy ket kinnabsatan.

Ta kastakami met kenka: agunikami

No madanonan ti batang, kas iti kimat

Nga iti tudo ken bagio ken umay

Nga iti gurruod ket kaludon dagiti wanesnes

Sa ti diklawit ti allawig kadagiti taeng

Ti kararua a sagpaminsan ket manglangan

Iti nasapasap a rinnagsak tapno

Iti maulit a taripnong, sagrapen ti rag-o

Iti barukong kas iti maila nga abrasa ti kabsat.


Aurelio Solver Agcaoili/GUMIL Hawai’i, Honolulu/Nov. 22/08

Sagut a Daniw: Manang Anding


Manang Anding


(Ken Andrea Mendoza, kameng ti GUMIL Hawai’i

iti panagkasangayna, Noviembre 2008)


Sika ti kasingin dagiti mangisursuro

A darikmat. Iti kararag dagiti ima a makigamulo

Iti aramid, sadiayka, iti rabii nga agikamakam

Iti arkos a bisti dagiti pluma ken iti padaya

Dagiti ray-a a maikamat iti anek-ektayo amin.


Iti madagdagullit a panagsisinnarak

Ket ti pakumusta nga awan ressat,

Ti maisawang a di agkurpa a kas saludsod,

Panagmag-an tapno maamad ti ir-iruken

Kadagiti naamitan a naglabas a pasamak

A ditay nakita ti tumunggal maysa,

Saan a naikabesa dagiti isem nga uray

No bangbangir kas iti tagainep sagpaminsan

Ket umanay nga uulsan iti agur-uray nga agpatnag.


Adda dagiti masapul, kunatayo,

Ket iti pananglagip iti kasangaymo

Ket pananglagip met kadagiti kinnadua

A balonenmi a kankanayon iti panaginnaddayo

Tapno agsisinnublitayonto manen.

Iti maar-arakattot a panagkikita manen

Ket ti ipasarbo nga iliw kas iti beggang

Iti dakulap nga iti bannawag ket agbirok

Iti makigumgumil a balikas, sagrado a sao

Maipapan kaes-eskan kakaisuna nga arapaap

Iti masunotanto manen a ramrambak.


Aurelio Solver Agcaoili/

GUMIL Hawai’i, Honolulu/Nov. 22/08

Quo vadis, Ilokano?


Ti Sungbat iti Saludsod a ‘Papanam, Ilokano?’

(Panglukat a bitla iti 2008 Fall Drama, Video, and Musical Festival ti Ilokano Language and Literature Program, UH Manoa, Art Auditorium, Nov. 22, 2008)


Ita a bigat, sungbatantayo ti saludsod a karit—wenno ti karit a saludsod—a tema daytoy a festival ti Programa iti Lengguahe ken Literatura Ilokana iti daytoy a tawen.


Narikur ti saludsod, kas paggaammotayo.


Idi sinaludsod daytoy ni Apostol Pedro ken Jesus iti dalan nga umadayon iti Roma idi mabigbig ni Apostol Pedro ti nagparang a Jesus nga idin ket nabayagen a nailansa iti krus, sinugbatan ni Jesus, segun iti sari-ugma, kinuna:


“No saan a maaramid amin a rumbeng nga aramiden, agsubliakto idiay Roma tapno mailansa manen iti maikadua a daras.”


Ni Pedro ti nagsubli idiay Roma, a kaduana ni Nazarius, a segun iti estoria, ket nakailansaanna met iti krus.


Ngarud kayatna a sawen iti panasaludsodtayo ket daytoy: a ti papanantayo ket addaan pannubok.


Addaan kadagiti karit.


Addaan kadagiti agur-uray a pannakailansa, iti wagas a pangngarig.


Gapu ta iti daytoy a dangadang tapno makapartuattayo iti espasio para kadagiti tattao nga Ilokano ken taga-Amianan iti ili ken iti diaspora ket naruay a naitalali dagiti awan sarday a karit, sakrifisio, ken pannakailansa.


Daytoy ti gapuna a rumbeng koma a kankanayon a sisasaganatayo tapno mabigbig no ania dayta a saludsod maipapan iti no sadinno ti pagturongantayo, no sadinno ti papanan ni Ilokano, no sadinno ti papanan dagiti amin nga Ilokano.


Gapu ta adda dagiti panangtuntontayo iti diversidad ken kadagiti plurikultural a biagtayo.


Kankanayontayo a tuntuntonen daytoy, ditoy Hawai’i ken iti Filipinas.


Ngem agingga ita, ditoy kas met laeng iti pagilian, ket nasken pay laeng ti panagsardengtayo nga agsusususik iti nakaro para iti bassit-usit a suli ti daga a tuntuntonentayo para kadagiti bagbagitayo, ken kanayon, kankanayon a maidurdurontayo iti pader ken iti bukodtayo a bagi.


Panagkunak ket masapul a rugiantayon ti mangsungbat iti dayta a saludsod, Papanam, Ilokano?, panangsungbat nga addaan iti tured, takneng, ken awan-panagamak.





Idiay Filipinas, ilablabantayo ita ti pannakaisubli ti Ilokano kadagiti amin siled ti pagadalan nga Ilokano ken kadagiti lugar nga Ilokanosado iti Amianan.


Ditoy Hawai’i, ilablabantayo met dagiti kalintegantayo babaen ti awan ressat a panagexperimentotayo kadagiti amin a posible a wagas tapno iti kasta ket masiertotayo a ti lengguahe ken kultura nga Ilokano ket saan laeng nga agbiag no di ket agbiag a nasaliwanwan ken addaan iti dignidad.


Masapul a rugiantayon to mangirupir ken mangilaban ken mangdawat kadagiti lingguistik ken kultural a karbengantayo uray no sadinno ti ayantayo.


Masapul a rugiantayon ti mamati manen kadagiti kapasidadtayo.


Masapul a rugiantayon ti mamati kadagiti bukodtayo a bagi kalpasan ti adu a tawen a pananglalaistayo met laeng kadagiti kulturatayo, daytoy a naadaltayo a pananggura kadagiti bukodtayo a bagi, kontra iti lengguahetayo, kontra iti kulturatayo.


No adda man banag a mabalintay a maadal manipud iti festivaltayo ita nga aldaw, isu daytoy: a ti sungbat dayta a saludsod, Papanam, Ilokano? ket naigamer iti grasia ken basbas ken panangafirmar ken panagrespeto iti kabukbukodan.


Naimbang nga aldawyo amin.









The Answer to the Question, “Where you going, Ilokano?”


Our distinguished guests, the members of the faculty of the Ilokano Language and Literature Program, students of our program, both Ilokanos and Ilokano-descended and non-Ilokanos, friends, ladies, and gentlemen:


This morning, we respond to the question which is a challenge—or a challenge which is also a question—the theme of the festival of the Ilokano Language and Literature Program this year.


This question is complex.


When the Apostle Peter asked Jesus on the road going away from Rome when the apostle recognized Christ who had since then died on the cross, Jesus answered him, according to the folklore, this way:


“If things are not done just fine, I am going back to Rome to be crucified the second time around.”


The Apostle Peter went back to Rome and there, he was crucified.


Thus, what our questioning means is that ahead of us are trials.


Ahead of us are challenges.


Ahead of us await crucifixion, metaphorically.


For in this struggle to create a space for our Ilokano and Amianan people in the homeland and in the diaspora has been fraught with endless challenges, sacrifices, crucifixions.


This is the reason why we must always be ready to recognize what is in that question about where we are going, about where is the Ilokano going, about where are all the Ilokanos going.


Because we have claims to diversity and pluri-cultural lives.


We always claim this, in Hawai’i and in the Philippines.


But until now, here as well as in the homeland, we have yet to stop fighting fiercely for that small corner of the earth we have claimed for ourselves, and always, always, we are being pushed against the wall and against ourselves.


I guess that we must begin to answer that question, Where are you going, Ilokano? with courage, with boldness, with daring.


In the Philippines, we are fighting for the return of Ilokano in all Ilokano classrooms, in the Ilocos and in the Ilokanized areas of Northern Philippines.


Here in Hawai’i, we keep the fight for our rights by continually experimenting with all possible ways to make it certain that Ilokano language and culture will not only survive but thrive with dignity.


We must begin to assert and fight and demand for our linguistic and cultural rights anywhere we are.


We must begin to believe in our capacities again.


We must begin to believe in ourselves again after years and year of cultural denigration, this learned hatred against ourselves, against our language, against our culture.


If at all there is something we can learn from today festival, it is this: that the response to the question, Where are we going? is one steeped in grace and blessing and self-affirmation and self-respect.


 Good day to all of you.