Panagsaludar kadagiti Estudiante iti Ilokano

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Panagsaludar kadagiti agad-adal iti Ilokano—

Our salute to our Ilokano students

 

Ni Aurelio S. Agcaoili, Ph.D.

 

(Agdama a Coordinator ti Programa a Pagsasao ken Kur-itan nga Ilokano,

Departamento dagiti Pagsasao ken Kur-itan nga Indo-Pacifico, Universidad ti Hawai’i iti Manoa)

 

Saludarak man dagiti agad-adal iti Ilokano gapu iti saet ken saldetna a nangiyalnag iti daytoy a warnakan.

 

Kasta met nga aglugayak kadagiti mamagbaga iti Timpuyog: Ilokano Student Organization, partikular ni Clem Montero nga uray iti dis-oras ti rabii ket naanep a nangal-alikumkom ken nangur-urnos kadagiti sinurat dagiti adalanna iti panawen ti panagkamkamat iti deadline iti kangitingitan ti lawas ti repaso ken examinasion ken ni  Julius Soria a maysa kadagiti naturturtor iti aramid a panagatur ken panagiserrek kadagiti narebisa a sinurat dagiti adalan. Agtultuloy ngarud a makautang ti Programa ti Pagsasao ken Kur-itan nga Ilokano kadakayo ket ti laeng lagip ti puli ti agdadata a saksi kadagitoy nagkaadu a sakrifisioyo iti nagan ti naindaklan a panggep: ti pannakatarabay, pannakapatanor, pannakasustenir, ken pannakaparang-ay ti kananaekem nga Ilokano ken Amianan iti Estado ti Hawai’i.

 

Paggaammotayo a ditoy nga Estado—ken kadagiti sabali pay a lugar ti Estados Unidos ti Amerika—ket historikal a ti lengguahe ti diaspora a Filipino ket awan sabali no di ti Ilokano.

 

Daytoy a lengguahe—wenno pagsasao—ti dila dagiti immay nakigasanggasat tapno iti kasta, babaen kadagiti ling-et ken laingda ket nangibatida iti pakasaritaan a naabel iti dara, tured, buteng, kararag, ken namnama.

 

Ngarud, ipakita daytoy a tomo ti warnakan dagiti adalantayo iti Programa ti maysa a kita ti komitment a din mainsasaanan gapu ta nalawagen daytoy—kas kalawag dagiti bituen a mangidaldalan kadatayo kadagiti rabii a nalidem ken nasipnget—nga agingga nga adda mangilala iti daytoy a pagsasao dagiti nagtalappuagaw nga Ilokano tapno makirinnupakda iti amin a rigat kadagitoy a lugar nga estranghero ket naynay a sibibiag ti balay ti kararua ni Ilokano iti ballasiw-taaw.

 

Maiyannatup ngarud la unay a ti awag daytoy a warnakan dagiti adalan ket “Daton nga Ilokano.”

 

Ta daytoy ket ipasimudaag mismo ti pakasaritaan: daytoy ket daton dagiti Ilokano nga iti laksid ti pannakatagtagibassit dagiti kinatao, kultura, kananakem, gapuanan, ken pagsasaoda, iti laksid ti agtultuloy latta a pannakaiwalinwalinda iti man pagilian a naggapuan wenno kadagiti ili a nakaipalpalladawanda, kaskasdi a di mamingga ni Ilokano iti panangiruprupirna iti fundamental a kalinteganna iti lengguahena, maysa a kalintegan nga aggubuay iti kinaasinnona.

 

ooo

 

It is not accidental that the year that you bring this publication out—2008—is the same year the United Nations declared as the International Year of Languages. That declaration affirms that with the almost 7000 languages spoken all over the world today, about half will go extinct in the next two centuries if nothing is done to arrest this situation.

 

Of the more than 170 languages in the Philippines, four have gone extinct, and this route to extinction is going to gain full throttle with the continuing marginalization of various Philippine languages because of flawed practices in education, culture, and commerce.

 

We add this to the systemic peripheralization of these languages because of linguistic, educational, and cultural policies that privilege and entitle Tagalog (as the basis of the national language, according to a legal phrasing) and English—and thus making all peoples of the Philippines ‘educated’ in these two languages and never in their own languages, with the exception of the Tagalog-speaking people who now have gained a new language nominally called Filipino.

 

We thus have a social situation in which cultural denigration becomes the value for becoming a people of the Philippines, whether you are in the homeland or in the diaspora—a situation in which the standard for accounting your consciousness in never the mediating instrument of that consciousness but some other people’s, to wit, Tagalog and English.

 

In educational practice, we have here a regrettable situation in which one has to hate his or her language in order to use the languages imposed upon by governmental provisions of the law and by socially unjust and culturally unfair deprivation of other peoples of the Philippines of their very own languages, all under the guise of the questionable reality and conception of nation and nationalism.

 

In the Philippines today, as in the diasporic communities, is an inchoate form of resistance to this continuing brain surgery of the various peoples of the Philippines. I call this the continuing—and now pervasive—linguistic and cultural ‘lobotomization’, that surgery of the brain in order to put in there another person’s brain and in so doing, you effect a complete forgetting on the part of the lobotomized peoples.

 

Very few educators, policy makers, government workers, teachers, cultural workers, writers, and politicians understand this situation. In fact, the Philippines—as in the various diasporic communities of the peoples of the country—de facto accepts the unfair and unjust ‘state of affairs’ and cannot even see that this situation is one in which social injustice is the rule of the day.

 

The work of struggle—of resistance to battle the pervasive cultural hegemony of the center that authors this unwanted domination and internal colonization in the Philippines which is being duplicated in toto everywhere where the peoples of the Philippines are found—is a difficult rite and ritual to human and social freedom, a rite and a ritual that demand rhyme and reason to successfully retrace the road back to ourselves, back to our sense of who we are, back to our fundamental rights as various peoples in diverse communities.

 

For here in Hawai’i as everywhere else, diversity is a virtue; cultural pluralism is one set of ideas that frees us from a dominant view of the world being passed off as a gospel of dubious nationalism; and multilingualism, not monolingualism under the guise of a ‘national language’, as in many countries including the Philippines, are the things that matter in the building up of a community of people, a community that is respectful of the various gifts of its members, their gift—their daton—invariably enriching their community.

 

It is in this light that I take this publication to task: it is our Ilokano students’ ‘daton’—their gift to themselves, their gift to Hawai’i as a diverse community, and their gift to the world that can, without fear or favor, announce the good news of diversity and pluralism.

 

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Agsaludarak ngarud kadagiti estudiante iti Ilokano a nakipaggamulo tapno maiyusuat daytoy a warnakan.

 

Saan a kas karina ti makidangadang ket daytoy ti kongkreto a pammaneknek a dagiti agad-adal iti Ilokano, Ilokanoda man wenno saan, ket ik-ikkanda iti gatad ti pagsasao nga Ilokano ket dayta a galad, dayta a panagpampanunot, dayta a panagsaksi ti tulbek dagiti adu pay a nababaknang nga idea a mangitunda iti panagipateg iti sabali pay a pagsasao.

 

Iti kursada dagiti amin a panagbirbirok iti kinaasinno, adda masindadaan nga instrumento: ti lengguahe.

 

Gapu ta ti lengguahe ket sarminganna ti panunot, ket iti panangsarmingna iti panunot, adda sadiay a sierto a maripar ti sursuro, ti laing, ti kananakem. Kasta met nga adda sadiay a mawaknitan dagiti makulkullaap a karirikna, a mapasubli dagiti maiwawwawa a rikna, a magiyaan dagiti maiyaw-awan a rikna.

 

Babaen iti daytoy a daton, masinunuotayo ti maysa a banag: makasublitayo iti naggapuantayo ken makadanontayo iti ganggandatentayo a panungpalan.

(Pakauna a Sao/Foreword, Daton nga Ilokano/Ilokano Gift, Publikasion dagiti agad-adal iti Ilokano, Ilokano Language and Literature Program, UH Manoa, December 2008)

 

 

 

 

Dakami dagiti annak ti Ilocos, English

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DAKAMI DAGITI ANNAK TI ILOCOS, A CHORAL RECITATION PIECE

(Written for the Ilokano Program of GEAR-Up, Farrington High School, under the University of Hawai’i, for the joint cultural program of the Ilokano and Samoan Program, FHS)

 

AMIN/ALL:

Dakami dagiti Annak ti Ilocos.

We are the children of Ilocos.

 

Group 1:

Ditoykami a naisadsad

Ditoy nga ili ti arapaap

 

Over here in this land we came

In this land of our dreams became

 

 

Group 2:

 

Baro a ngayed kas iti baybay

Pakaigapuan adu a linglingay

 

This new beauty as is the sea

The reason for our joys, you see 

 

A:

Iti rabii a birokenmit’ tagainep

Mabukel labes salsalikepkep

 

In the night we look for the dreams

And in our embrace we find them

 

Group 2:

Ta, a, masapul ditoy ti gaget

Kasingin, kabsat, ina baket

Ama, kabagis, ti kinapinget

A bulonan pannakirinnanget

 

Then, of course, we work hard

Cousin brother, mother

Father, sister, we work hard

And the struggle to be fair

 

 

Group 1:

Iti man aldaw a panagbannog

Iti agmatuon a panagasug-asog

Iti nalamiis a rabii a ti Ilocos

Namaris nga arapaap di maibus.

 

In the days of our frantic labor

In the noontime of our tired bodies

In the cold Ilocos nights’ ardor

Colorful dreams do not come to pass

 

A:

Isublidakami iti Ilocos

Inkam koma kunaen,

A ngem ta piman ti Ilocos

Nga iti rigat inka sakaen.

 

You have me return to Ilocos

This we say some of the time for her

But then our beloved Ilocos

In hard labor we came to redeem her

 

Group 2:

Mabati kami ngarud iti Kalihi

And we are left in Kalihi

 

 

Group 1:

Iti umok ni ayat iti Farrington

Iti pannagibi dagiti arapaami

 

In this nest of love at Farrington

In the nurturing of our vision

 

 

 

Group 2:

Iti panagampayag nasam-it a kansion

In the sweet tune of music in the air

 

A:

Ta ditoy, iti baro a lugar dagiti darepdep

Ditoy a bangonenmi ti naiwawa a pateg

Ditoy a sangalenmi maris ti tagainep

Ken denggenmi ti ayug a nasam-it.

 

For here, in this new place, are our dreams

For here we build our lost sense of selves

For here we build up what we want to have

For here we listen to the sweet music of love

 

Group 1:

Dakami dagiti annak ti Ilocos

We are the children of Ilocos

 

Group 2:

Dakami dagiti annak ti Ilocos

We are the children of Ilocos

 

All:

Dakami dagiti annak ti Ilocos

We are the children of Ilocos

 

A:

Ta ditoy, iti baro a lugar dagiti darepdep

Ditoy a bangonenmi ti naiwawa a pateg

Ditoy a sangalenmi maris ti tagainep

Ken denggenmi ti ayug a nasam-it.

 

For here, in this new place, are our dreams

For here we build our lost sense of selves

For here we build up what we want to have

For here we listen to the sweet music of love

 

 

 

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Christmas, MOTTEP, and the New Lease on Life

 

By Aurelio Solver Agcaoili, Ph.D.

 

 

There is one thing by which we can put into a proper perspective how to understand the nexus of three seemingly disparate realities that are, as in many other places, the everyday concerns of the people of Hawai’i as well.

 

The Ilokanos, the bulk of the people of the Philippines and those descended from them who have come to Hawai’i, call this daton—that nexus that glue as well what Christmas means, what National MOTTEP envisions and does, and what, in exact terms, is required when we speak about ‘a new lease on life.’ As a national organization “designed to educate minorities on facts about organ/tissue transplantation”, it has local sites across the United States.

 

National MOTTEP—or National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program—of course, is the national organization that has been fired by the idea that organ donation is a bioethical practice that needs to be pursued more and more even as it needs as well to be continually imbued with the virtues of care and concern for others. National MOTTEP is the public education program of the Organ Donor Center of Hawai’i.

 

The idea of daton linked with Christmas, with the new lease of life metaphor and reality, and with the work of National MOTTEP, is a means to come to terms with the enormous challenges of pursuing the message of the Yuletide season, of organ donation, and of having a second chance at life.

 

Daton is offering.

 

Daton is an oblation as well: a sacred act of giving of self or part of that self, the act of giving always done in freedom and in the generosity of spirit of the giver, the donor.

 

What grounds the sanctity of that act of giving is the freedom it involves, the freedom that is its core, that freedom that provides the context through which the giver understands that his or her act will lead to something noble, grand, beautiful, and true.

 

There is sacredness in this act of giving because it is invocatory of the higher energies we summon to be able to understand these things—difficult as they are—more fully in the round, these things that have something to do with seeing ourselves beyond ourselves, mirroring ourselves in others, and wishing the others well.

 

Because the giver must understand that what is given will lead to something new.

 

Because the giver must understand that the act of giving will open a new door to the recipient of the gift.

 

Because, as in the act of organ donation, the donor gives the recipient a new lease on life, and that gift of life is an ultimate gift.   

 

These thoughts hit me hard when I sat down with Tony Sagayadoro, program coordinator of the National MOTTEP of the ODCH, for an interview at a Filipino-owned restaurant on Kalihi one late morning. The interview segued into the early afternoon hours, with not any of us minding the time, with Sagayadoro ever present in the to-and-fro of our ideas.  

 

He came armed with the documents about MOTTEP and the organ donation program of ODCH.

 

He came armed with his vast knowledge about the needs of the minority groups of this state for a more informed knowledge about organ donation and its pluses, including the hopes it offers to people.

 

And he came armed with the beautiful truths of his experience as program coordinator, a community educator, and a living witness to what organ donation could offer to transform the lives of peoples and communities, even a state like Hawai’i, with the challenge it poses because of its relative geographic isolation from the United States Mainland.

 

This relative geographic isolation makes it less possible for organ donation to happen when donors or recipients come from either parts of the country. The vital organs surgically removed for possible transplantation can only last for hours, with the maximum, at 72.

 

This means that a fast transportation of surgically removed vital organs to the place of the recipient must be done  and transplanted as quickly as possible or that Hawai’i must rely more and more on its people, on the generosity of organ donors from its population to be able to respond to the need for prospective recipients to have a second lease on life.   

 

The Organ Donor Center of Hawai’i has reported that as of November 2008, the national waiting list for kidney is at 77, 746; liver at 16, 053; heart at 2, 703; lung at 2,122; kidney-pancreas at 2, 258; pancreas at 1, 609; heart-lung at 98; and intestines at 231 or a total of 100, 363.

 

Of these figures, Hawai’i has a waiting list of 320 for kidney; 49 for liver; and 4 for kidney-pancreas or a total of 368.

 

The rise of those on the waiting for Hawai’i has risen almost three times, with just about a little over a hundred on the waiting list in 1995, and this rise reflects the seriousness of kidney troubles affecting the population of Hawai’i at present, with about 3,000 kidney problem sufferers undergoing dialysis.

 

In the case of those on the waiting list, more than one-thirds are people from or descended from the Philippines, but with an initial percentage pegged at three willing to become organ donors but now has grown to 71 percent because of the continuing and sustained effort to educate the various Philippine communities in Hawai’i.

 

The key strategic approach adopted by MOTTEP is to define the medical parameter that says that organ donation tends to have a higher rate of success when the donor comes from the family of the recipient, or comes from the same minority group. 

 

Aware of this, MOTTEP has been in the forefront of a multi-partite approach to public education, with Sagayadoro himself providing a public face what organ donation is all about, he himself being a recipient of a kidney from a young civil engineer who had so much future ahead of him but, on Mother’s Day in 2000, died in a freak accident at a time when Sagayadoro, at the prime of his life in his 40s, had gone through five years of dialysis because of ESRD or end stage renal disease.

 

Diagnosed in 1994, Sagayadoro, a healthy man with no family history of diabetes and other predisposing sicknesses, suddenly became a sick man with three young children, the eldest graduating in high school and the youngest in the early grades. 

 

At that time, Sagayadoro could not find a support group to help him get by—not the kind of a group that he was thinking could help him go through his pain and ailment. That opened his eyes to the extreme need to volunteer his services to MOTTEP and came out as a public face to organ donation and the need to aggressively address the prevention of kidney and other diseases.

 

That involvement at MOTTEP eventually became a commitment. He was invited to serve the program on a part-time basis, and then eventually full-time. Sagayadoro credits his engagement with the nitty-gritty work of organ donation to Angie Ieaiea, his predecessor at the MOTTEP.

 

Passionate as ever with the duty to educate the public, and to dispel among the peoples of the Philippines various misconceptions and myths about ‘bodily integrity as a precondition to their going to the heavens after death’—a false interpretation of the ethics of organ donation as espoused by the Catholic Church, the religion of the majority of them—Sagayadoro would eventually take on a key role in creating a committed awareness of the public of the virtues of organ donation.

 

In 2002, with the Bayanihan MOTTEP Grant, Sagayadoro began to work full-time as program coordinator.

 

Part of the campaign at MOTTEP and which campaign one would not miss in various gatherings involving minorities, particularly the public gatherings of peoples of the Philippines, is the signing up of organ donors, the issuance of organ donor cards, and the education of donors that their driver licenses, if they so desire, would identify them as organ donors.

 

Juxtaposed with the message of Christmas, the announcement of a new life for all people, the message of salvation made incarnate in the God-Child, and the announcement of a new life, a second chance at life, a new lease on life, National MOTTEP’s vision is an ethical idea whose time has come. 

 

 

 

ASA: Tell me of the situation of organ donation in Hawai’i with roughly one-fourth of the population representing the various peoples of the Philippines.

 

TLS: There is a need to continually campaign for organ donation. The waiting list is a proof. We have about over 5,000 deaths in Hawai’i annually. Just about a hundred are potential donors. Of that number, just about half have consented to become organ donors.

 

ASA: If one has consented to become an organ donor, let us say, he or she carries a card, he or she does not automatically become a donor after death?

 

TLS: No. Out of respect for the next of kin—the immediate family—they have to be asked, and they have to give their consent.

 

ASA: What is a sensitive issue in organ donation?

 

TLS: It is the respect for the body of the dead.

 

ASA: How should a recipient look at this organ donation from another person?

 

TLS: It is a gift. A gift of life.

 

ASA: Tell me of your experience as recipient of a kidney.

 

TLS: I can only have gratitude, endless and overflowing gratitude. This second chance of life, this second life, is always a cause for a joyful recognition of what organ donation can do. This is a miracle, as far as I am concerned.

 

ASA: You were afraid to die?

 

TLS: Dying was easy. But the thought of my responsibility to young kids was most difficult to let go. That was why I had to fight—and fought hard to have a crack at life once again. And I was given this second chance to live life anew.

 

ASA: Do you know who gave you your kidney?

 

TLS: Now, I know. But it took me a year, as well as the others who received from that young man the gift of their life, to eventually get to know who that generous person was through his parents and other family members.

 

ASA: How does it feel to be carrying with you—to have in your body—another person’s vital organ?

 

TLS: I can only feel gratitude.

 

ASA: How did you deal with it?

 

TLS: I carried his picture: in my office, in my house, in my wallet. I talk to him, in good time and bad times. I ask—and I constantly do that—for his grace and guidance. He is part of me now.

 

ASA: Who is he? Tell me about him?

 

TLS: Steven Ginoza. He was of Okinawan ancestry, at 29 when he had the accident, an engineer and a full life ahead of him.

 

ASA: What was a miraculous moment for you when you had the organ transplant process?

 

TLS: When they had transplanted Steven’s one kidney to me and I heard the medical team say the kidney was working. I could only thank God and Steven at that time.

 

ASA: You have so much passion for this work.

 

TLS: I need to be reminded to slow down. My middle child is getting married in May next year. She reminded me to go slow, take time out. She told me, and this always makes me teary-eyed, that this cause and the people that need me have more of me if I took care of myself. She also told me, on a personal note, that she wanted me to be the person to give her away at her wedding when she gets married next year. You see, this daughter and her siblings, these are the young children I was praying and I was hoping I could have the chance to see them grow up, become mature people, and lead their own productive lives.  I am blessed.

 

ASA: Tell me of your work to educate our people.

 

TLS: It is a difficult work, with its fair amount of challenges. But I have the advisory board working hard with me, always supporting me. I have also individuals who have always been on the same page as I am. Their unconditional support makes the load lighter. I credit them for what MOTTEP has achieved so far.

 

ASA: Your message to our people?

 

TLS: We need to go out and tell exactly what we need: that organ donation will give other people a new lease on life. It is the ethical thing to do.

FAO Features/Dec. 2008


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Christmas for the Ulep Family

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Christmas is Staying Together for the Ulep Family

 

By Aurelio S. Agcaoili

 

 

We call this the varieties of Christmas celebration and experience as we hear living stories after living stories about how the people descended from the Philippines go through the invocatory sounds and sights of Christmas.

 

It does not matter that Christmas comes on time in Hawai’i, the timing marked by the calendar that tells us exactly when the midnight Mass for the Catholic is officiated and when the hour to open the gifts by the Christmas tree comes.

 

Compared to the way Christmas is celebrated in the Philippines, it comes a bit late, as the start of the ‘-ber’ months augurs the coming of the chilly mornings and the much gentler breeze from the mountains verdant and lush with the canopies of trees, the fields ripe with grains, and the seas now calmer, now more peaceful after a series of ceremonies of typhoons with their nerve-wracking signals that can spell the difference between a shipload of people capsizing or the flooding of towns with mud and the torrential force of water rushing to imitate what deluge is.

 

Up comes the Christmas months that commence in September and ends practically in January the following year.

 

Some analysts of popular and folk cultures tell of the Philippines’ way of welcoming the Man-God the Messiah as one of the longest in the world, with almost half of the year reserved for thoughts and actions on the Christianity that has entered into the sinews of our body and soul.

 

And for families in Hawai’i that have descended from that kind of celebratory spirit and recollection, things can get nostalgic at times and we fall into something close to romanticism, recalling endlessly that back in the Philippines, Christmas was—it still is—a bit different.

 

Then again, this difference brings about sameness as well.

 

For Mrs. Nanie Guillermo Pascua Ulep, who originally came from Barangay Bacsil in Laoag City and moved to Hawai’i twenty-three years ago, it is this distinction of difference and sameness that brings about the fun that Christmas brings.

 

She has her two children, Nathan Allen, 7, and Athena Sofia, 1, to take care of and to whom memory of Christmas takes on a priority.

 

Include her concern for her husband Allen who has practically lived his life in Hawai’i and nowhere else.

 

Allen came to this country when he was about a year old, and not knowing anything about how Christmas is spent in the country, he longs for that memory that is not there and vows to go back to the Philippines one day, back to San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte where he was born, and spend the Christmas there with much gusto, fill his lungs with the Christmas air that comes from the hills surrounding his town, be thrilled by the sight of children singing Christmas carols from their lungs, and partake of the ‘tupig’, the Ilokano rice cake, and be enriched by that memory he will bring home. That is his plan. Nanie, his wife, says they will do it one day, perhaps soon.   

 

“What matters over here is that we try to make it a point to stay together,” Nanie says.  For her, Christmas, in whatever way we look at it, must redound to the essential fact of togetherness of the family. “It is this togetherness especially on that special day that marks our celebration.”

 

There is no iffs and buts here; nothing iffy on this condition of family value on the forefront of everything comes Christmas.

 

“We think of memories and they do make our lives rounder, fuller, richer. But we have obligations to our family,” she says.  “Our obligation is to make memory with them, especially with the children.”

 

She thinks of Nathan Allen who goes to Holy Family Catholic Academy as a grader and now begins to ask questions about Christmas. Athena, at one, is beginning to recognize the twinkle-twinkle sights of Christmas, and the robust sounds of merry-making. Pretty soon, when she puts on more years of her life, she will see that Christmas in Hawai’i, the land of her birth, is the same Christmas everywhere for a family that stays together.

 

Nanie elaborates: “I make it a point to spend Christmas with our extended family, with my in-laws reserved for the traditional Christmas evening meal and the midnight Mass we go to. The gifts remain by the Christmas tree: they are to be opened only by Christmas day, on the 25th. My mother in-law would not want the idea of the Christmas tree being bare on Christmas, that time on the 24th that flows into the 25th.”

 

A reminiscing of Christmas—the ‘paskua’—in Bacsil comes as a respite from all these that clog her thoughts of Christmas.

 

She thinks of the joyful ceremonies that she had seen as a young girl in her barrio, far from the city, and shielded from the pretensions and commercialism of city life in Laoag some kilometers in the west.

 

She remembers the traffic of children caroling, many with their empty cans for drums, their inexpensive banduria and eager voices to add texture to their tunes. She herself, she says, had gone through the same joys of singing the Christmas carols, in Ilokano and English, and sometimes in Tagalog, their singing a child’s imitation of how the singers belted the Yuletide joys on radio and on long-playing vinyl albums or tapes in those times.

 

Her school would invariably have the Christmas program where each class would sing their Christmas carol and exchange gifts of inexpensive toys or hanky or face towel or soap bought from the city but wrapped with the constant colors of Christmas in crepe or Japanese papers.

 

Bacsil would have its share of celebration, with the gathering of all the people of the barrio for that Christmas dance that welcomes the spirit of abundance and the living hope for another one.

 

She remembers most the ‘tupig’ and the almost-sacred ritual that goes with how it was made before her very eyes, the hands of women making the dough from the sticky rice and then lovingly wrapping each piece with banana leaves and then placed on top of an open oven of charcoal from the stumps of trees from the hills in the eastern part of that place of song and solace, the place she knows by heart and which she continues to carry in her soul.

 

“It is the same Christmas everywhere,” she says. “It is being thankful and being grateful to what we have got and remembering that some things could—need—to be shared. That is what Christmas is: sharing our blessings.”

FAO/Dec. 2008


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quo vadis, Christmas

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It is the Mass of Christ, or Christ’s mass, as it were in the earlier times, this season of gift giving we now call Christmas.

 

All over the world is this festive spirit being shared by 2.1 billion Christians or about one-third of the total population of the world of more than 6 billion.

 

 Christianity ranks first in the number of adherents to the varieties of the Christian beliefs and experiences; Islam comes in next with about 1.5 billion believers.

 

 

The numbers are staggering indeed, with ranks not saying anything, really, about what matters most in the world at this time, with all our issues about peacemaking, social justice, equality, freedom and democracy.

 But we can draw something from the numbers—we know one thing from them: this is a world of humanity that holds on to a belief in the power of salvation, in the promise of sacred grace, and in the plausibility of divine blessing.

 

 Numbers, however, do not matter when we ask where has the spirit of Christmas gone with all our expectations unmet, expectations that spring from the core of what this season is all about.

 

 With wars in all its forms standing in for what joyful celebration is all about, we are left empty-handed except to repeat the question with a living hope that an answer could be had and soon: Quo vadis, Christmas?

 

 The wars overwhelm us, wars in all their forms: wars in the mind of war-freak men and women and political leaders; wars against our sense of decency and self-respect including this latest murder and mayhem in the Mumbai catastrophe that marked once more our incapacity to announce care and concern to each other; and wars reinforcing our lack of humanity. 

 

 

The key message of Christmas is the coming of the God-Man, the Savior, as promised, and as believed fulfilled in the Gospels.

 It is a promise that has been fulfilled—the promise of salvation for all people.

 

 The idea of  ‘all’ in that act of making a promise and fulfilling it is one of inclusion, not exclusion, and thus, the announcement of redemption is not only to those who nominally and literally profess that label of Christianity but includes as well those who do good, and with their good deeds and heart as proofs.

 

 The primacy of this sense of inclusion is to be understood in context: the coming of the Savior is not for a chosen people in that narrow sense of the word ‘chosen’ but to all peoples.

 

 All.

 

 

There is no franchise in the hearing of the message of salvation as there is no franchise in the translation of the goodness of our hearts into action.

 In the cacophony of Christmas and in the ironies that we see including the contradictions that obfuscate the meaning of salvation that all people must receive, our loss of that meaning is palpable. 

 

Commerce and its deceits have taken over and we have allowed our sense of Christmas to be commodified as well by the goods that clog our view of what matters most such as our holding on to the essentials of a meaningful and humane life without reducing our sense of the meaningful and the humane to essentialism, and our fidelity to our basic humanity that transcends labels. 

 

It is this surrendering of Christmas to the forces that destroy our sense of goodness, our sense of beauty, and our sense of truth, that move us to ask that question about where is Christmas going, about what good news are we talking about in today’s contradictory ways of celebrating the coming of the birth of the Savior, and about when are we going to re-learn to trod upon the sacred ground to peace and quiet, to solace and compassion, to community and respect for our humanity, and to generosity of spirit and giving of oneself for others. 

 

The world and humanity will be renewed once more if it learned to listen again to what Christmas really means. 

 

This is all what our world needs; this is all what we need.

 A S Agcaoili/Editorial/ Fil-Am Observer, Dec. 2008

 

Pammakada ken Manong Cirilo, kameng ti GUMIL Hawai’i

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PAMMAKADA A RUGI TI PANAGINANA

(Ken Manong Cirilo Gamponia, kameng ti GUMIL Hawai’i ken
Annak ti Kailokuan iti Amerika, Disiembre 5, 2008)

Iti umuna a panagkita ket ti sarangsang ti katawa
Ti maudi ket daytoy a leddaang a pudos ti mata
Iti sakroyko ti lagip nga iti maysa a rabii nangsagid
Nangkulding panagam-ammo iti agdan iti ig-igid

Iti taeng pagayam a sadiay ti panangbitibit
Panangaklon annongen nga ipagtangtangsit
Panagkakadua iti pluma kas iti ir-iruken
Nga iti rikna, kas iti init, agtangkayagen

Sika, Manong Cirilo ti maysa nga adigi
Pusipusan a kas iti rueda ti panangaklili
Panangikalasag pagsasao iti dati nga ili
Nga iti Hawai’i intedmot’ pannagibi

Iti plumata a nangrugi iti panagpagayam
Ket iti pluma met a tungpalem kalak-aman
Kas kabsatmi a nangiyusuat pagimbagan
Panangtaripato iti pagilian a naggapuan

Malagipko dagiti aglanitok a sao ti rabii
Nga iti panangsakroymi kenka ket sabali
Espiritu ti arak kinaduam a pimmanaw
Intugotmo nasapa a panagtalakiaw

Kas kadakami met laeng dagitoy a lagip
A kukuami itan a nabati, imula iti isip
Pasublienminto ti aldaw a kadagiti ray-aw
Kadagiti panaglalanglangmi ket ipapanaw

Tapno iti daeg ti salakan iti balikas tagikukuaen
Sika a kabsat iti pluma a ti pangngarig samiren
Sika a kakaen nga iti agsipnget dagiti aldaw
Ket iti orasion ti daniw a di agtalawataw

Ngarud ita itedmi ti bendision, kas iti kansion
Samiweng nga ipabalon a dayyeng panaglayon
Kadua iti ibaballasiw ti taeng nga agnanayon
Kasilpo ti pakasaritaantayo a mataginayon

Pumanawka man ngem kadagiti linabag addaka
Kadagiti isip sadiaykami, Manong Cirilo sibiagka
Ket iti ti panangsaluad ti Apo itedmi kenka
Ken ti kari ti biag tagikukua nga awan inggana

Dios ngarud ti kumuyog, Manongmi a Cirilo
Ti ragsak ti panagsubli iti Apo adda kadakayo
Ti basbas ti Namarsua ti balonenyo iti dalan
Kas iti kararagmo met kadakami a panawan.

Hosea, Come Back to Me, Ilokano Translation

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HOSEA, COME BACK TO ME

HOSEA, AGSUBLIKA KANIAK

 

Translated into Ilokano by A. Solver Agcaoili

 

Come back to me with all your heart

Agsublika ditoy pusok

 

Don’t let fear keep us apart

Di buteng mamagsina

 

Trees do bend though straight and tall

Matukkol ti kaykayo

 

So must we to others call

Kasta met, kadatayo

 

Refrain:

Long have I waited for

Nagbayag nagur-uray

 

Your coming home to me

Kaniak/ sangpetmo

 

And living deeply our new life

‘Ti sidong/ mangabaruanan

 

The wilderness will lead you

Mangitunda ti parang

 

To the place where I will speak

Lugar a pagsaritaan

 

Integrity and justice

Kinatakneng ken hustisia

 

With tenderness

Kinadungngo

 

You shall know.

Maamuam.

 

Refrain:

Long have I waited for

Nagbayag nagur-uray

 

Your coming home to me

Kaniak/ sangpetmo

 

And living deeply our new life

‘Ti sidong/ mangabaruanan