Alben meng manyaman, boy!

March 28, 2007

Kabalen ya ing Starstruck Ultimate Hunk

Miluid ka, Aljur Abrenica of Pampanga, for bagging the Ultimate Hunk Award and the Texters' Choice Award in the recently concluded Starstruck IV: The Nationwide Invasion! As Texters' Choice, he will now be an endorser of BNY.

Susug: In this episode of the morning talk show Sis, Aljur teaches us a few Kapampangan stuff.

While he is correct that Kapampangan is not fond of using the H sound, he contradicted himself by saying "I'll kiss you" is "Halikan da ka." Aljur, it's uman; as you said, we don't have the H sound in our words. I'm sure you just forgot, the same way as my brother jumps in glee when I remind him that dragonfly in Kapampangan is tulang, not tutubi.

Aljur is living proof again of my kasi theory -- that when Kapampangans say what we would say in Tagalog as "Ano na nga iyon?" they would utter "Ano na kasi iyon?"

March 24, 2007

Joseph Bitangcol sees it a blessing

On June 15, 1991, lahar buried a great deal of Central Luzon, especially Pampanga where the volcanic titan Mt. Pinatubo is situated. Lots of property was destroyed, causing Kapampangan families to flee for their lives and make a choice between returning to their ash-slammed homeland after the catastrophe and finding residence somewhere else.

Last December, I participated as one of the TV show Maalaala Mo Kaya's production assistants. While Joross Gamboa was the lead actor of the episode, I was delighted to hear that a Kapampangan teen star was also in the cast:
Joseph Bitangcol.

Ninu ya?

Joseph Mabalay Bitangcol is one of the top ten finalists of the network's reality hit Star Circle Quest.

Many of the young Star Circle Questors freely admit that they entered the top-rating star search with the hope of eventually being able to help their families. But even compared to most, Joseph Bitangcol's story stands out as one of the hardest struggles in the group.

Hailing from Sta. Rita, Pampanga, Joseph never really planned to enter showbusiness, but the Mt. Pinatubo explosion changed his – and his family's – lives forever. Fleeing from Pampanga and Pinatubo's wrath in a tricycle driven by their father, the Bitangcol family landed in Pasig with nothing but what they had in their tricycle.

While living his post-eruption life in the Metro, he joined in ABS-CBN's acting workshops, where he developed and took further interest in acting. And now, he's one of ABS-CBN's teen stars, said to be the boyfriend of fellow Questor Sandara Park.

End of profile.

When I encountered Joseph face to face at the set of Maalaala Mo Kaya, I waited for the right time to approach him and throw some questions. After shooting a certain scene which was sort of distant from the waiting area of actors, I was given the task by the Assistant Director of walking Joseph back to the waiting area.

While walking, I wasn't the one who started conversation. Probably to break the ice, he asked me what my business was in the production. After knowing that I was just there as an unpaid volunteer production assistant for the sake of practical learning, I segued into telling him my plans of devoting my filmmaking career to stuff with Kapampangan content. From then on, we began talking casually in our good old
Amanung Sisuan, Kapampangan.

He speaks the language very well, in spite of not living anymore in Sta. Rita. He also was delighted to hear that I was making Kapampangan productions. By that, I hope he means he could be tapped one day to participate in our activities where his skill would be of definitely great use
– being a not-so-bad goodlooking actor, an above average hiphop and street dancer, and, most importantly, a fluent Kapampangan speaker.

Actually, he had this statement which made my eyebrows secretly raise. He told me that the Pinatubo eruption was like a blessing in disguise, for if it did not happen, he couldn't have been the star that he is now.

In my head, I was asking: "How could you consider something tragic – families blown away from their motherland, infrastructures and farms swallowed by lahar, and provincial economy restarted from scratch – a blessing?"

Yes, he became a star because of that, but should you think only of yourself?

However, I understand his train of thought. If I became rich myself after the lahar, I would be considering the catastrophe an intervention of my personal fairy mother. But looking at the lives lost, I, too, would be thinking, "In return, I have to help them rise from the volcanic ashes."

Joseph, judging from our short encounter in the set of a TV show, honestly seems to be a nice, humble guy. I'm sure if tapped by his kabalen to help out in a cause devoted to the re-fortification of his homeland, he would definitely say Ua, sige!

Holy Angel University beats DLSU

Congratulations to the Holy Angel University (HAU)!

Trivia: When I was taking exams for College, I only took the UPCAT (for the University of the Philippines) and HAU's College Entrance Exam. I passed in both; BA Psychology in UP Pampanga and Computer Engineering in HAU.

My preference of HAU among all other universities in Pampanga is not because of my mother being an alumna of HAU (Commerce), but because I, a computer geek back then, saw the school's promise in the realm of computer technology. Plus, I was able to read their college school paper; the articles generally were somewhat bolder than the content of others'. It was a symptom of the intellectual freedom of the studentry there, I thought.

However, I chose UP because I was at that time itching to try studying in places outside Pampanga and meet a student-sea of diversity. Plus, I wanted to enroll in a non-Catholic school to study religion objectively. HAU is a Catholic university while UP enjoys religious freedom.

While I only passed for UP Pampanga, after a year, I transferred to UP Diliman. Anyway, here's the news.

Holy Angel U tops national robot design tilt
By Dante M. Fabian

ANGELES CITY -- Three Electronics and Communications Engineering (ECE) students from the Holy Angel University (HAU) beat their counterparts from the De La Salle University (DLSU) and other schools in the recent Robotics Mini-Olympics held at DLSU.

An international panel of jurors adjudged the HAU entry as the best in the national competition sponsored by the Mechatronics and Robotics Society of the Philippines (MRSP) as part of the third International Conference on Humanoid Nanotechnology IT and Communications Environment Management (HNICEM).

The HAU delegates -- all graduating students from the College of Engineering and Architecture -- are Hernani Catacutan, Alvin Calma and Jerick Penano.

Engineer Arnold Santos, the trio's faculty adviser, revealed that it took them two months to design the winning entry, which was a pair of synchronized dancing robots. He said the students designed the robots, including the software that enables the robots to perform according to instruction.

Ioan Marinescu, director of the Precision Micro-Machining Center of the University of Toledo in the US, was said to have been very impressed with the ingenuity and energy of the HAU entry.

MRSP vice president Jimmy Itao commended HAU students. "Filipinos are learning fast in robotics," he said.

HAU is the biggest university in Central Luzon and one of 20 universities in the country granted autonomous status.

March 21, 2007

Kamaru flies to Ateneo

Last Pebreru 9, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the Ateneo De Manila University held Feast for the Eyes: A Visual Anthropology Festival at the MVP Building, as organized by the students of Dr. Ana Labrador.

The event featured exhibits, film-viewing, and talks about the roles of visual media and culture in an interconnected world. The following were the speakers and the title of their respective talks.

PAMANA: A Short Documentary
Dr. Fernando Zialcita, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Ateneo de Manila University

Visual Anthropology Projects of the UP Asian Center Students
Dr. Floro Quibuyen, UP Asian Center, UP Diliman

Consumption Patterns: A Brandlab Video Project
Mr. Jos Ortega, Brandlab

The Current State of Kapampangan: An Audio-Visual Presentation
Mr. Jason Paul Laxamana, KAMARU
Mr. Gaspar Vibal, Vibal Publishing House

I actually showed the students video projects which different organizations in Pampanga had produced in attempts of promoting Kapampangan to Kapampangans and my personal attempts of cultural dissemination through new media, particularly the Internet through YouTube.

One of the videos I showed was the Pampanga tourism music video produced by the local government of Pampanga, featuring the ArtiSta. Rita song Maláus Ka Pampanga (Welcome To Pampanga).

Haven't seen it yet? Do now. See the clip at the end of this post. I wrapped up the talk by giving an analytical interpretation of the Kapampangan film Kaleldo by Brillante Mendoza, which I shall be doing here misan a aldo. I also showed a few scenes from the movie.

March 20, 2007

Totoy Bato could be my distant relative

I am posting this article by Mr. Robbie Tantingco of the Center for Kapampangan Studies. It talks of the current condition of the art of Basulto and Polosa in Pampanga. Regarding the title, well, abalu yu mu rin bakit (you'll know why).

The Kapampangan Polosador

The proliferation of Kapampangan polosa and basulto CDs is both boon and bane to Kapampangan culture -- boon, because at least the songs help promote the language and popularize a traditional Kapampangan musical genre; and bane, because most of them have bad production values, have been pirated, and give the impression that Kapampangan music is all novelty and bawdy.

After Sapni nang Crissot, Cris Cadiang, Arti Sta. Rita, and Mon David produced their respective CDs which reminded us how beautiful and sublime Kapampangan music used to be and can still be, Totoy Bato and other polosador (or mamulosa) followed suit but since they lacked access to funding and recording studios, recorded their performances under the worst possible recording environment and using probably no equipment other than a cassette recorder. Someone later burned this on CD and distributed copies to sidewalk vendors, most likely without the knowledge or permission of the performers, who got no payment and will collect no royalties.

The music of Totoy Bato is interchangeably called as polosa and basulto. According to one polosador, polosa is defined by its content and basulto by its beat.

Polosa is a tribute; thus, a polosador is someone who sings in honor of a birthday celebrator, a guest of honor, a guest speaker, or a newly crowned beauty queen. The polosa is sung extemporaneously, and this is where the genius of a polosador comes out: all he needs to do is take a quick look at the honoree, or get a quick interview with him, and the next moment he is already singing praises to his looks and his accomplishments in life.

Basulto, on the other hand, refers to all Kapampangan songs sung with a fast beat, similar to the yodeling style of Fred Panopio (who is a Kapampangan from Bacolor) and to ditties performed by guitar-toting door-to-door beggars; papalatuk la tonu is a good description.

The word polosa is probably a corruption of prosa, or prose, which is the opposite of poesiya, or poetry. In the early days, people considered poetry "the language of angels" and prose "the language of men," i.e., appropriate for the masses, not for the upper class.

Totoy Bato, who in real life is Rodolfo Laxamana of Tokwing, Porac, is the known Kapampangan singer in Pampanga today. I have to qualify "in Pampanga" because I doubt if he is as popular outside the province as, say, Mon David, but here, among his kabalen, Totoy Bato has achieved cult stature. In fact, his name is already generic: anyone who sings in Kapampangan is a Totoy Bato.

Fellow polosador Ruth Lobo complains he is often introduced as Totoy Bato. And then there are two or three other singers who go by the name of Totoy: Totoy David of Potrero, Bacolor; Totoy Negro (or Totoy the Third) of San Pablo, Guagua; and then there are those who go around claiming to be the original Totoy Bato so that they could collect advance payment for singing engagements. These extortionist activities of his alter egos have embarrassed, infuriated and sometimes got the original Totoy Bato into trouble.

Because they are vanishing breed, Kapampangan polosador can dictate their own price. For a 30-minute to one-hour live performance in a program or private party, they charge P6,000.00, which is reasonable considering they bring their own guitarist who brings along his own sound system. If they perform beyond one hour, they charge P8,000.00.

If it's the mayor inviting a polosador to a townfiesta (variety show, or "jamboree"), it's usually a package deal in which the polosador brings along an entourage of 12 people composed of comedians, poets, dancers, the emcee and of course, two or three polosador and the guitarist. They take care of the entire show (usually lasting no less than five hours) and they charge P27,000.00, each getting about P1,500.00 (Totoy Bato, the star of the show, getting P2,000.00).

During this campaign season, politicians get the services of polosador not only to perform during rallies but also to compose campaign jingles. For six different jingles (original lyrics, borrowed music), a polosador charges P8,000.00 to P10,000.00, including the singing and recording.

The ditty is usually brief and repetitive, sung to the tune of whatever tune is popular at the time. Example: Daratang ne naman/Aldo ning alalan/Magbotu tana/Agkatan da ko ngan/Ikong kabaryu ku/keni manuknangan/ Robin Nepomuceno/Atiu ne't daratang.

Nowadays, some polosador resort to undignified ways of soliciting public attention and funding. They volunteer to perform in programs, only to be turned away. They use bawdy lyrics to elicit audience response. The worst indignity of all is when they have to haggle the price of their talent which, when you come to think of it, is more valuable than the rarest gem.

A polosador is a living legend, a survivor from the golden age of Kapampangan literature. Even if they act in a less than dignified way, due to poverty, we should treat them with respect and gratitude, because instead of making a living for their family, they chose the spend the rest of their lives singing the songs of our ancestors and keeping our Amanung Sisuan alive in the hearts and minds of our kabalen.

I would like to end this article by enumerating the names of the last of these great folk minstrels as a way of honoring them:

  • Totoy Bato (Rodolfo Laxamana) of Tokwing, Porac
  • Ruth Lobo of Pulungbulu, Angeles City
  • Joker Villamor of O'Donell, Capas
  • Bong Manalo of Bacolor (now Bulaon Resettlement)
  • Totoy David of Potrero, Bacolor (now Madapdap Resettlement)
  • Monching Basilio of Potrero, Bacolor (now Pandacaqui Resettlement)
  • Rico Dizon of Magalang (Monching and Rico together are known as Pusoy Dos)
  • Rene Reyes of Bagumbayan, Angeles City
  • Rodolfo Basilio of Potrero, Bacolor (now Pandacaqui Resettlement)
  • Jimmy "Bini" Baul of Pulung Masle, Guagua
  • Totoy Negro (or Totoy the Third) of San Pablo, Guagua
  • Al Angeles of San Jose, Angeles City
  • Luisa Macapagal of San Luis
  • Lina Agorto Bautista of Mabiga, Mabalacat; Renie Salor of Cutcut, Angeles City
  • Rommel Basulto of Cutcut, Angeles City
  • Milo Valencia of Tokwing, Porac
  • guitarist Oca Esguerra of Mabalacat (now Amsic, Angeles City).

End of article.

Actually, I personally tried to tap young Kapampangan music makers (rock, acoustic, and alternative bands) to keep the art alive by composing new basultos and polosas. Not everyone was interested, of course, since some of these so-called "Kapampangan bands" can't even speak Kapampangan, making them apathetic of the language deterioration issue. Understandable. Yet sad.

However, there are those who became interested and -- not only that -- shared sentiments regarding the Kapampangan rock scene being left behind by the Chavacanos of Zamboanga, the Davawenyos, and the ever-shining Bisaya Rockers (Cebuano). Oh, Tagalog rockers, too, duh.

KAMARU is planning to head a project that would support these
dayang kua musicians, and at the same time keep basulto and polosa alive and un-alien to the current generation. Maybe if new Kapampangan songs were born, radio stations in Pampanga would finally air Kapampangan music. We'll work on it.

March 19, 2007

Kapampangan YouTube magazine show

Mayap a kabengian!

I have uploaded the first episode of this Kapampangan magazine show on YouTube. The title of the show is Meto Kapampangan (literally All The Kapampangan, but if official translation be necessary, I call it Everything Kapampangan in English).

The show is nothing deep, as my resources are limited to travel (I use the same old miniDV), but I hope you'll discover and learn a lot. Or better yet, be inspired. In this show, you'll read Kapampangan words, know Kapampangan fast facts, see Kapampangan places, meet Kapampangan people, hear Kapampangan songs, learn the Kapampangan language a bit, at nung nanunanu pa.

The first episode is Ding pa-relax-relax a damulag Candaba (The lethargic water buffalos of Candaba) which narrates my February amateur visit to Candaba.

Oh yeah, the link: click keni. I'll keep you posted on the future episodes. Watch out for: Crissotan at the University of the Assumption, ArtiSta. Rita's Siwala the Musical, and the behind-the-scenes footages of my short digital film Anak Ning Kapri.

Aren't the houses beautiful? Let's see if this rice plain would indeed turn into a lake as folks claim. The reason why the houses have stilts is the fact that during rainy season, the parang is flooded making it seem like a lake. So, the good old ortelanu (farmers) become fishermen! No wonder each residence has a personal banca.

Now that's raw river action.

March 16, 2007

Hunting Kapampangans at La Paz, Tarlac

Last month, I volunteered to take part in the two-day shooting of my Tarlaqueña friend's film thesis, which was done in La Paz, Tarlac. Tracing her Kapampangan blood from her motherside grandfather, she no longer knows Kapampangan, but occasionally understands it when spoken at home.

The film is not in Kapampangan but the title could be. She consulted me and in the end, fell in love with the words Paninap and Tagimpan - both words having to do something with dreams. She is currently seriously considering the latter.

One of the reasons why I volunteered to take part (I became Camera 2 Operator) is to see what Tarlac is like. I know that Southern Tarlac is Kapampangan territory and the north is home to Ilocanos, so I was expecting to find people who spoke Kapampangan and to observe if Tarlaqueños had a different dialect of Kapampangan.

To my disappointment, I wasn't able to find any Kapampangan-speaking people. Some ortelanu (farmers) I heard conversing along the fishpond were speaking in Tagalog, yet I could tell by their tone and accent that they spoke Kapampangan, too. They have this certain gege that only Kapampangans have the mastery of using. The kids in the rice fields were speaking in Tagalog, too.

One lady in a sari-sari store claimed the place is inhabited by Kapampangans, Ilocanos, and Tagalogs, and that she herself was Kapampangan. Quickly, I shifted in using Kapampangan to converse with her. And she understood me -- but still responded in Tagalog. I could tell that she was Kapampangan by tongue because she inserts kasi in her statements like: "Sino na kasi iyon?"

The word kasi is often misused by Kapampangans when speaking in Tagalog. I myself used to misuse it but ever since I was told by a Tagalog friend that I should be using nga instead of kasi, I have become more conscious. "Sino na nga iyon?"

Southern Tarlac (or at least, the places we went to) geographically is generally like certain parts of Pampanga, like Candaba. The remains of the lahar catastrophe can still be seen, as wide plains of rice stretch in miles.

In fact, on the second day of the shoot, we were right in the middle of the rice field frying ourselves under the sun. I became most fried since I decided to walk far to the other side of the ricefield, trekking in the little piece of land between patches of irrigated rice fields.

Okay, so nothing much happened. But look at what we saw on the night of the first day of the shoot! It landed right in front of a Manilenyo crew member. It was trying to burrow. The creature being alien to him, the Manilenyo screamed in fright and almost killed the poor thing.

Yep, it's the kamaru itself. The mole cricket, after which this blog was named after. Could it be a sign? Hope so.

March 14, 2007

Aljur Abrenica: kabalen to win in Starstruck 4?

GMA-7's fourth season of its Artista search on primetime television, Starstruck, has been host to several Kapampangan star hopefuls.

From the first season, we saw political daughter Sheena Halili. After the whole Starstruck season, we saw billboards of her father with Sheena campaigning for him. However, her acting career in GMA-7 hasn't gone so far as of the moment.

And, of course, we have Kapampangan-speaking and farm boy Tyron Perez from Tarlac, whose breakthrough in the movie industry was Mel Chionglo's Twilight Dancers (where he was delivering Kapampangan lines with fellow Kapampangan Allen Dizon).

The second season was host to not one, not two, not three, but four teen star hopefuls. We saw Ana David of San Fernando (?), Krizzy Jareno of Floridablanca, Benj Pacia of San Fernando, and my first year high school seatmate from Chevalier School about seven years ago, Chris Martin (Marayag) of San Fernando.

None of them was able to penetrate the so-called Final Four, which are traditionally given top priority by the Kapuso management in terms of career buildup. However, Chris Martin became part of Maryo J. Delos Reyes' teen flick, Happily Ever After. Since then, I haven't heard of any appearances from Chris.

No Kapampangans made it to the third season, where Marky Cielo, a proud Igorot, bagged the Ultimate Champion position.

But in the latest season (fourth), three made it, but it seems as though Aljur Abrenica, a young lad from Angeles City, Pampanga who auditioned at SM Clark, could be GMA-7's next teen star sese aside from Richard Gutierrez, Dennis Trillo, and Mark Herras. (Lizzy Pecson and Kiko Junio are the other two who lost along the way.)

A friend of Tyron Perez whom he even accompanied back during the Starstruck 1 Auditions (he was only 13 then), Aljur is still competing in the contest and is proudly showing what Kapampangans can offer showbiz. It's a battle between him, Mart Escudero, and Prince Stefan.

From the judgment of people from all walks of life -- from showbiz biggies to press people, from local TV addicts to Kapampangans themselves -- Aljur could just rise as the Ultimate Starstruck Survivor, and, not to mention, the Ultimate Starstruck Hunk, i.e., the most gorgeous male contestant.

And I can't even protest. Not because I am a Kapampangan, but because he'd win it fairly if ever. Aside from his telegenic looks, his talent is above average, too. He can also sing without splitting my ears in disgust, unlike Rainier Castillo from Batch 1.

Most probably, he got his singing genes from his Ibpa (father), who used to play in a band in Japan. In fact, it was in Japan where his father met his Inda (mother), also a singer. So that's musical genes from both parents. Then during high school, he was also part of the school band as vocalist.

There's this rumor spreading that the crowd during the Starstruck mall tour at SM Pampanga was not big.

The interpretation of others, especially non-Kapampangans, is that Aljur was shamefully not supported by his kabalen. But in one forum, a poster made this remark (which I, in a way, agree with):

"I am also a Kapampangan and I truly and wholly support Aljur, but I was not there in SM Pampanga. Kapampangans are reserved people and they don't like so much the funfare, unlike other Filipinos... I think it is the pride in us that is working."

Haha, I can't help but laugh. Probably because it's either true, or half-true. Kapampangans have the tendency to avoid being seen on television especially as fans in raging crowds, but they sure know how to recite illustrious Kapampangan names in showbiz, from Sharon Cuneta to Joseph Bitangcol.

In forums alone in cyberspace, Kapampangans express their support for Aljur, on huge basis of his Kapampangan blood. Let me feature some fanatical (and somewhat pidgin) posts:

"hi aljur..kabalen!!..prehu katang kapampangan..samasan mu nehh...busten mo reng abwang a manyira kka..go,go,go!" [We're both Kapampangans. Do good. Ignore those who say bad things about you.]

"hi Aljur!!!musta???ehem ehem,kapampangan ku din pu.hmmp galingan mu pa lalu ne??dont wori full support kami keka ikami reng clasm8s ku hir...basta pray kamu always,think positive--if u think u can do it u can..."
[Ehem, I'm also a Kapampangan. Do better, okay? Worry not, my classmates and I fully support you...]

"wow,now i know may binatbat parin pala ang mga kapampangan,ang galing galing mo tsong.Dito lang ang buong Auf
(Angeles University Foundation -Jason) to support you!!!!!good luck aljur hope namin makasama u sa top survivor!!!!!" [Atin la rin palang binatbat ding Kapampangan! Kagaling mo, tsong. Ati la mu kng gulut mu ding tau AUF para mamiye suporte keka. Miyabe ka sa karing Top Survivor.]

"hello kabalen daka kay botu daka syempre kaparehung kapampangan neh.. eka mag two timer abrem mula ding manyira inggit lamu ren sana manyambut ka neh,,,,,,, paki greet mula ding nursing bsn 3-b king jose feliciano college ne lalo na ku ate eve's amu balu dane byeee,,, good luck" [Hello, you're a fellow Kapampanganm so I'll vote for you. Don't twotime, and don't listen to people who say bad things about you. They're just jealous. I wish for your victory. Please greet the Nursing BSN 3-B class of Jose Feliciano College, especially me.]

"Daratang ne ing delubyu da reng inggit at alang talentu... daratang ne kasi i Aljur nyapin mangayna na la reng inggiteru ampong alang sinabi. We Kapampangans do not like showbiz so much but when we are in it, we dream big and we try to win it all. Keep all those votes for Aljur, fans and Kapampangans alike. While everybody is talking about nothing, let's keep the votes for Aljur coming!"
[Here comes the threat of the jealous and non-talented. Here comes Aljur, that's why the weak and envious are trembling on their knees...]

But then, of course, we also have haters from the viewers. And to no surprise, it's that one word stereotype again for our race - mayabang.

"kaplastikan lang alam ni aljur.ende totoo yan,cnungaling!!!kaya pala mayabang KAPAMPANGAN KC!!!im insulting all kapampanganz but isa na c aljur sa pinkamayayabang!!!ang panget!!!ung double A.para kang battery na load-bat.AA meanz ANG ANGAS..ay aljur abrenica pala.bad luck!!!" [Plastik yamu i Aljur. Ay mali, malaram! Inya pala mayabang ya kasi Kapampangan ya! Ding insultuan ku ding eganaganang Kapampangan oneng i Aljur, yang pekamayabang! Matsura! Bala mu Double A ka. Buri nang sabian ning AA - "Ang Angas". Ay, Aljur Abrenica pala, haha! Bad luck!]

Quite a decent remark we got there, eh?

Anyway, one thing I look for when assessing the social value of Kapampangan teen stars is their ability to speak Kapampangan. So, can Aljur speak the K?

In pursuit of knowing, I took a look at his Starstruck Blog. Understandably, he was writing in Tagalog/English, since traditionally, people used those language in communicating with Filipinos from around the world, regardless of ethnicity.

So the next step for me was to look for a blog entry, or a part of his blog entry, exclusive to his kabalen.

In one of his February entries, I saw this statement:

"Thank you, Lord! Dakal pung salamat!"

In another entry, I saw this:

"Sa mga kaibigan, ka Bosconian (he's from an all-male school in Pampanga: Don Bosco Academy -Jason), sa mga kakilala at sa lola ko na nasa harapan (konting ingat lola) dakal a salamat kekongan!"

To refer to Kapampangans, he also uses the term kabalen.

With these few Kapampangan entries in his blog, it is not safe to conclude he speaks Kapampangan.

But wait! In this "chat transcript" with fans I found in the GMA-7 website, I saw the following:

"Dakal a salamat, kabalen..e ko migaganaka..."

"E na kami munta ken..
di ba mig-mall tour na kami king SM Pampanga?"

I have a strong feeling that he speaks the language well -- probably the same level of proficiency as most Kapampangan teenagers who lived their childhood speaking Kapampangan at home, with relatives, and Kapampangan friends.

I just hope he can be tapped one time to deliver the cause of many Kapampangans: promote Kapampangan in its own territory.

But with GMA-7 holding his neck, perhaps the price would be high. The fee might be affordable only to political candidates.

Nevertheless, I personally root for him to win. 1) For being Kapampangan, and 2) for deserving it. May he never forget his roots when he makes it big in the industry.

[And may he act in one of my digital films, too, hehe.]

Here is a snippet ripped from free TV, where Jolina Magdangal herself (a host of the show) said that the strong support of Aljur's kabalen is one big factor why Aljur of Pampanga stays in the show.

Just pretend it's not a lipped performance. He sings well live, too.

Central Luzon Television

There's this new TV station called CLTV. I got the following information from the Laus Group website:

Central Luzon Television (CLTV 36) is a regional free TV broadcasting over Channel 36. Owned and operated by the Central Luzon Broadcasting Corporation (formerly Radioworld Broadcasting Corp.), the station is located at the CGIC Building, San Fernando-Olongapo Highway, City of San Fernando, Pampanga.

It is duly licensed by the National Telecommunications Commission under Permit No. BSD-0064-2007 dated January 10, 2007. Republic Act 8219 enacted by Congress on September 12, 1997 granted a franchise to the corporation to operate a radio and television network. CLTV 36 is the realization of this franchise with the expansion of operation into television broadcasting.

Virtually a young media company, CLTV36 focuses on a centralized media coverage, starting off with Pampanga and the provinces of Central Luzon or Region III. These provinces include Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Bataan, Tarlac, Zambales and the latest addition to the region, the province of Aurora.

CLTV 36 programming is more into public affairs and current issues, news and information, as well as a substantial amount of features on provincial cultures, events and entertainment.

Like any other station, CLTV36 aspires for continued growth and progress, in terms of quality programming, bringing to the people of Central Luzon in-depth, accurate and up to date news and public affairs and social issues.

Modern broadcasting equipment and technologies assures the public of clear and pleasant television viewing. END

It is awesome that Region III is having a TV station of its own (for the longest time, we only have had cable channels that put SMS chatrooms in music video channels, where various "clans" and "gangs," not to mention, the vain teenagers, post endlessly).

This broadcasting machine is one example of a "cultural entrepreneur," which seeks to balance culture promotion and money. But the question again is: will CLTV show respect to the Kapampangan people by giving our language some significance in its broadcast?

According to someone who was able to view their news, the reporters spoke in Tagalog (big surprise, huh?). However, the interviews in Pampanga were in Kapampangan. Is it a good sign? Or is it just limited to that?

We know it is unfair to ask for full Kapampangan shows, as Region III is composed of Kapampangan-, Tagalog-, Ilocano-, Aeta-, and Zambal-speaking people. But we'd like to see more. Right now, since CLTV is just starting, we'll just have to keep our eyes on their shows. Probably, if demand calls for it, they would produce Kapampangan stuff. (Hey, I can then apply!)

If CLTV fails us, maybe we'll try ABS-CBN. I keep on seeing this signboard in Telabastagan which reads "ABS-CBN Pampanga Channel 46." Will it be a language killer? We'll find out when it comes.

Speaking of Kapampangan production, I'll be running an informal short travel magazine show via YouTube, called Meto Kapampangan. It will, on the side, attempt to widen the vocabulary of Kapampangans my age, My name in YouTube is sisigman by the way.

March 13, 2007

Wanted: Kapampangan superheroes

Wouldn't it be cool if there were new Kapampangan superheroes? And I mean really Kapampangan ones, with powers and abilities inspired by Kapampangan stuff, with weapons like kalai or atkan. Not Wonder Woman or Superman ripoffs.

But before I look for new Kapampangan superheroes, perhaps I should be looking for more Kapampangan heroes first, i.e., those who'd save the Kapampangan people from extinction.

(Note: The image I posted is not a real DVD screen capture. Panupaya for the inconsistent orthography.)

March 12, 2007

Separation from homeland within the country

Makagising ku pa mu rin...

It's two in the morning and I'm still up, trying to form the synopsis and sequence breakdown of this screenplay I plan to submit to a digital movie competition. Its working title is Balas (Sand). Those who will be admitted will be provided funding in turning their respective screenplays into full-blown digital films.

It's a bit complicated though because the competition sort of neglects the fact that there are issues of separation from homeland within the country itself, like province people trying their luck in NCR or poor mothers applying as maids in cities.

The competition seems to be searching for the out-of-the-country type of separation in the screenplays, like fathers toiling in the Middle East or ladies doing Japayuki work. Nevertheless, I'm sticking to my story, in spite of its local scope. If they accept it, then great. If they don't (on the basis of mine being not about an out-of-country character/s), no surprise.

Anyway, I'm repeatedly listening to another fabulous song by ArtiSta. Rita to draw emotion and inspiration in completing my work. Its title is Pamanuli (Homecoming), the carrier single of the group's debut CD. It was composed by the group's founder himself, Mr. Andy Alviz.

I've read that the song was personal, Alviz having been uprooted from Pampanga at the age of 12 and returning home only several years after. Sometimes, the song sends me to teary-eyed mode (probably due to guilt) because I share the same sentiment as that of the song.

Here is the lyrics of the song and the rough English translation. Click Pamanuli on my Podomatic on your right to listen to the song. To avail their Kapampangan CDs and other stuff online, contact



Nanu ing kakung pa'intunan kng kanakung kabiliyan
[What am I searching for in my life]
O't e ku ayasam ing eganaganang kaburian
[Why can't I seem to find everything I desire]
O't nanu't dintang ka king biye ku't sinalbag kang kule?
[Then when you came in my life, colors burst]
Ding abak a maranun, asno sala, makasese
[Early mornings became very bright and gentle]


Nung nu karin mengaparas, ikuang mengalampas-lampas
[Been to countless journeys, passed by a lot of places]
Atiyu ka pala keni kng lele, kakung matimyas
[Never noticed that you were just by my side, my dear]
Tutu kaya ini? Bala ku metung kang paninap
[Can this be real? I thought you were just a dream]
Tuki mu ku't tayiran, miyabe ka ta kng aldong mayap
[Take me with you and hold my hand, let's face the day together]


Ika ing kanakung dalan
[You are my path]
Ika ing kanakung sikanan
[You are my strength]
Kng pangalili, ika ing pamanuli
[In being astray, you are my homecoming]
Ika ing sala ning kanakung biye
[You are the light of my life]

Pasibayuan ing II at Koru


Ala na sanang angganan
[Let it not end]
Ining kakung panamdaman
[This feeling I have]
Akakit ke ing banua keka
[I see heaven in you]
Aslag ka king lulam
[Sunlight through rain clouds]
Mipasno ya ing kakung mauang pilubluban
[My confusions and longings have all been resolved]

Pasibayuan ing koru 2x

Ika ing dalan
[You are the path]
Ika ing sikanan
[You are strength]
Ika ing pamanuli
[You lead home]
Ika ing biye
[You are life]

March 7, 2007

The K in Black Eyed Peas

Where is the Love, My Humps, and Bebot... Recipients of three Grammy awards, Black Eyed Peas (BEP) -- an American hiphop group from the United States -- is quite well known in the Philippines.

But if you think the foursome is all-American, then you might care to know that one of their members is from the Philippines. And not just from the Philippines, but from Angeles, Pampanga.

His real name is Allan Pineda Lindo, but uses APL DE AP for a screen name. APL stands for his real name. A friend of mine said that "DE " was used in a Spanish way, making it mean "of", and the AP at the end stands for his birthplace Angeles, Pampanga. No confirmations yet, but makes sense nevertheless.

APL is indeed Kapampangan, though we have never heard him sing in Kapampangan. His Filipino songs Bebot and The APL Song make use of English and Tagalog. However, in the first verse of the lyrics of the former, he mentions his place of origin, Sapang Bato.

Hoy, pare, pakinggan n'yo ako
[Oy, pare, pakiramdaman yu ku]
Eto na ang tunay na Filipino
[Oyni na ing tune Filipinu]
Galing sa Barrio Sapangbato
[Ibat kng Baryu Sapangbatu]
Pumunta ng LA nagtrabaho
[Mine kng LA, megobra]
Para makatulong sa nanay
[Bang makasaup kang Ima]
Dahil sa hirap ng buhay
[Kng sakit ning bie]
Pero masaya pa rin ang kulay
[Oneng masaya pa mu rin ing kulul]
'Pag kumain nagkakamay
[Ustung mamangan, manggamat]
Yung kanin, chicken adobo
[Itang nasi, arobung manuk]
Yung balot, binebenta sa kanto
[Ing balut, pisasali ra kng dalan]
Tagay mo na nga ang baso
[Itage mu ne pin ing basu]
Pare ko, inuman na tayo
[Abe, minum ta na]

And in The Apl Song, he recounts (in English) how he lived his life in Pampanga. It seems he was very much exposed to the farms and fishponds -- typical of the rural Kapampangan life.

Listen closely yo, I got a story to tell
A version of my ghetto where life felt for real
Some would call it hell but to me it was heaven
God gave me the grace, amazin' ways of living
How would you feel if you had to catch your meal?
Build a hut to live and to eat and chill in.
Having to pump the water outta the ground
The way we put it down utilizing what is around
Like land for farming, river for fishing
Everyone helpin' each other whenever they can
We makin' it happen, from nothin' to somethin'
That's how we be survivin' back in my homeland

Yo, its been a while but...
I been back home to my homeland, (check it out)
To see what's going on
Man, it feels good to be back at home
And it's been a decade, on the journey all alone
I was fourteen when I first left Philippines
I've been away half my life, but it felt like a day
To be next to my mom with her home cooked meal
Meant I felt complete, my emotions I feel!
Now life has changed for me in the US
But back at home man, life was a mess...
I guess sometimes life's stresses gets you down
On your knees, oh brother
I wish I could have helped you out

Ing kutang: So does he speak his Amanung Sisuan? Or is he another lingual turncoat? Before we answer that, let's take a look at his bio first.

Full Name: Allan Pineda Lindo
Alias: Apl de Ap
Birthdate: November 28, 1974
Birthplace: Sapang Bato, Angeles, Pampanga

Allan is one of the founding members of the international hiphop band Black Eyed Peas. Born to a Kapampangan mother and an African-American father whom he never met.

He grew up in a poor but loving family situated in the town of Angeles, Pampanga.

At a young and tender age of fourteen, Allan's mom and stepfather allowed him, with his consent, to be adopted by a kind-hearted American who will then take him to the US to have a promising future. Leaving his family behind really hurt him so much.

Allan believes that he would be better off living in a different country, in order for him to provide his family with all the pleasures that life has to offer.

During his eight-grade being a student, he began performing around Los Angeles district as Atban Klann with his friend Will.I.Am way back in 1989.

Allan poured his heart into singing and dancing for he is good at it. To avoid sadness and viciousness, Mr. Pineda spent most of his time composing some songs.

He originally composed the song Where is the Love, which is included in their latest album, dedicated to his brother who passed away. Second to that he wrote The Apl Song which was a mix of Tagalog and English, the lyrics were about his step father and his life while he was still in the Philippines.

His life was never easy. He experienced so much sadness, longing to be with his family back in the Philippines but despite all these, he survived and tried moving on.

Truly, there’s a rainbow always after the rain. After all that he went through his name is now known in the music industry and his star continuously shines in Los Angeles California. Their group is widely known as Black Eyed Peas and presently popular and enjoying sharing their talents around the world. He also CEO of the record label Jeepney Music, which operates both in Manila and Los Angeles.

End bio.

Pakibat ketang kutang.

YES: He does speak Kapampangan, and still does. For fourteen years, he lived in the balen, so he most likely had acquired Kapampangan, unless he was exposed more to Tagalog.

However, how he recounts his life gives clue that his area was dominated by Kapampangan speakers.

During his interview in MYX, I heard him make a greeting or short message to his kabalen (homies) in his native language, though he sounded balid. That's natural. Being with Americans in the United States, his fluency in the language must have been affected.

One thing is for sure though: He is not ashamed of his roots, of his language.

The next question now is: When will he contribute his talent to his homeland and its deteriorating language?

March 4, 2007

Pictures paint thousands of words

Thus, I have included a captioned photograph section in my blog. I'll be changing the photo every week introducing a word that may expand one's Kapampangan vocabulary. If you want to visit the photo album, do visit the address located below the the photograph.

To make this entry more than a mere announcement, let me post this excerpt from the manifesto of the Foundation for Endangered Languages. Ngada:

There is agreement among linguists who have considered the situation that over half of the world's languages are moribund, i.e. not effectively being passed on to the next generation. We and our children, then, are living at the point in human history where, within perhaps two generations, most languages in the world will die out.

This mass extinction of languages may not appear immediately life-threatening. Some will feel that a reduction in numbers of languages will ease communication, and perhaps help build nations, even global solidarity. But it has been well pointed out that the success of humanity in colonizing the planet has been due to our ability to develop cultures suited for survival in a variety of environments. These cultures have everywhere been transmitted by languages, in oral traditions and latterly in written literatures. So when language transmission itself breaks down, especially before the advent of literacy in a culture, there is always a large loss of inherited knowledge.

Valued or not, that knowledge is lost, and humanity is the poorer. Along with it may go a large part of the pride and self-identity of the community of former speakers. And there is another kind of loss, of a different type of knowledge. As each language dies, science, in linguistics, anthropology, prehistory and psychology, loses one more precious source of data, one more of the diverse and unique ways that the human mind can express itself through a language's structure and vocabulary.

We cannot now assess the full effect of the massive simplification of the world's linguistic diversity now occurring. But language loss, when it occurs, is sheer loss, irreversible and not in itself creative. Speakers of an endangered language may well resist the extinction of their traditions, and of their linguistic identity. They have every right to do so. And we, as scientists, or concerned human beings, will applaud them in trying to preserve part of the diversity which is one of our greatest strengths and treasures.

Read the whole thing keni.

March 1, 2007

Discrimination in the music industry

Another proof of the inequality of languages in the Philippines is the proliferation of only Tagalog and English records. I know that most record labels and music television stations are found in Metro Manila, a Tagalog region, but these labels and stations have the nerve to claim they represent the music of the Philippines.

As regards OPM (Original Pilipino Music), does it also cater to music using other Philippine languages? Does MTV Pilipinas represent the country's music, or does it only favor the Tagalog and the English, as if they're the only important languages in the country?

Will I ever see music videos of artists from Cebu or Davao (not Cebuanos or Davaoenos trying their luck in the metro but musicians in their own respective locations)?

How many songs in other Philippine languages have been nominated in the Aliw Awards? Will CCP stage Kapampangan or Iloko musicals in purity the same way it allows Tagalog stage plays to be staged in pure language?

It's an answer worth the anger: NO, because we live in a country which favors Tagalog, while leaving the others to wither.

Yesterday, I explored the world of Bisrock, or Bisaya Rock. I got hooked to the songs of this certain Cebuano band which goes by the name Mantequilla. To know more about them, you can visit their profile page courtesy of Soundclick.

I'd like to quote them in this statement:

SOUNDCLICK: Would you sign a record contract with a major label?
MANTEQUILLA: If they're interested in us, why not? But our music is written in our own dialect [language], Cebuano. They only want English or Tagalog.

Cebuano is the second most spoken language in the Philippines today. Yet it faces language discrimination. How much more the others?

You can download one of their songs, my personal favorite aside from Ibog-ibog; its title is LQ. For other Bisrockers, do search YouTube. Type the keyword Bisrock.