Alben meng manyaman, boy!

April 30, 2007

Ever performed Kapampangan stuff in your school?

When I was a kid (1990 up), I, together with my classmates, never got the chance to perform anything Kapampangan, especially because performances always employed the use of recorded music.

I remember as a pre-schooler that what we used to sing were Jose Mari Chan's English Christmas songs such as Christmas in our Hearts and other Jackson 5 Yuletide classics. Not to mention, the popular Tagalog Christmas songs. Then, our commencement exercises for Pre-school employed Ako'y Munting Tinig (I Am But A Small Voice) as our graduation song.

Came Elementary, we became more exposed to what the Western recording industry could offer. Calisthenics were done using Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, and other foreigners' music. During Linggo ng Wika, of course, Kapampangan was nowhere to be found, as all the performances came in Tagalog recordings too.

With no Kapampangan poems or declamation pieces, teachers and students rode with the flow of celebrating Wika instead of Amanu. Our graduation song, then, was in English: If We Hold On by Diana Ross.

It's the same bubble when I got into High School at Chevalier School (CS). Even though CS played folk songs every morning at the gymnasium, we would only hear Tagalog songs such as Ang Mga Ibon... and Magtanim Ay 'Di Biro.

Rock shows featured student bands performing Tagalog and English rock songs - all covers - since they couldn't cover any Kapampangan rock song (or were not innovative enough to think of making Kapampangan music). Film screenings never featured anything Kapampangan, since all local films during that time have been always in Tagalog.

But now that Kapampangan is starting to invade the media of film, record, publishing, and Internet, it is now highly possible for younger students and teachers to perform homegrown music and adapt Kapampangan pieces for contests. This is one example, where kids from a school in Sindalan, San Fernando City perform ArtiSta. Rita's rendition of Ing Malsinta/Beria.

Alben keni.

Funny how all these happened when our schools kept insisting Rizal's famous quote: Ang 'di magmahal sa sariling wika mas masahol pa sa malansang isda.

To the Kapampangan artists, especially those involved in verbal art, just continue producing superb Kapampangan material. They will someday be utilized by teachers for their instructional businesses and other extracurricular activities. This, if ever, will be another step in fortifying our native culture in our own land.

Someday, I hope graduation songs, Christmas songs, and even Alma Mater songs would employ the Amanung Sisuan.

Lyrics to Ing Malsinta and Beria

Ing Malsinta

O ba't mo ketang Sabadu
Migpasyal ku keta kekayu
Inyang abatiauan mu ku
Pepatagal mu kung asu

Inya pin pepatagal da ka
Karetang asung de familia
Ban kanita makilala
Ing tune mung pamalsinta


Beria ku, bandi ku
Moderna ning pusu ku
Mate ku, makananu
Nanung iyambag mu kanaku

Pagaua ra kang kabaung
Karetang manibe rutung
Ba'ra kang e ayaun
Ding bulati lalam gabun

Sali kung samientu
Para kng kutkutan mu
At ban nang siguradu
Padobli ke pang kandadu

April 29, 2007

Invitation to join KAMARU Online

Click keni to join KAMARU Online!

KAMARU Online (the e-group) is a cyber club of patriotic Kapampangan Youth who hold dear the cultural heritage and language of the Kapampangans and strive for Kapampangan literacy both in writing, reading, and speaking, and using Kapampangan perspective in producing new Kapampangan art.

KAMARU members bravely accept the responsibility of being involved and active in the cultural and linguistic revival of the Kapampangan nation.

The ugliest trait a Kapampangan kid could have as a Filipino is losing his roots and native cultural identity in the fast-materializing global village.

What do we do?

1 - Study the Kapampangan language, Kapampangan history and cultural heritage, and everything else Kapampangan - culinary art, folk art, literature, etc.

2 - Produce new, modern, and young Kapampangan artworks that are competent enough to represent our homeland locally, nationally, and internationally.

3 - Invite other people to join in our cause of promoting Kapampangan to the youth and representing the Kapampangan race in the global village.

To YOUNG KAPAMPANGAN ARTISTS: If you're an artist (writer, musician, filmmaker, comic book maker, actor, etc.), KAMARU may serve as a support group (promotions, man work, contacts, suggestions, and financial aid, if available) as long as your work is Kapampangan-inspired.



(NOTE: This is just the online club. There is a real club which you might be interested to join. Contact if you're interested)

April 28, 2007

'Anak ning Kapri' trailer

The results of the Cinemalaya 2007 short film category will be out anytime soon. I am deeply nervous as regards the results. Will Kalalangan Kamaru's attempt in making a short film in pure Kapampangan make it?

View the trailer below.

The latest issue of Singsing magazine is also out, where a short writeup on Anak ning Kapri will be found. It features the going-gone folk arts of Pampanga like burarul-making, kuran technology, and pukpuk, plus a great deal of stories regarding the legendary Kapampangan character Suku (Sinukuan).

April 24, 2007

Attempt in Kapampangan Art

Although I have an above average capability in visual art (based in academic reputation), I don't really consider it an ability with which I could go around with enough confidence to claim it's my talent.

But recently, inspired by Mr. Vicente Manansala's artworks, I decided that I would hone it gradually until I can claim visual art a homegrown talent of mine, like writing and theater. For a start, here's what my shaky and uncertain hands were able to churn out.

I call it Ing Magdarame (the flagellants of Pampanga). It's not purely handmade. I made us of my knowledge in digital enhancement, too, which I consider part of visual art.

April 20, 2007

'Atin Ku Pung Singsing' in reggae

So far and as far as I know, there are five contemporary versions of the popular Kapampangan folk song Atin Ku Pung Singsing, each by different acts.

First is Totoy Bato's basulto version which has slight melody modifications in the repetition of the song and acoustic guitar accompaniment.

Second is ArtiSta. Rita's Broadway version which starts off mellow then proceeds to a vaudeville-like version in the latter part.

Third is the acapella version involving the impressive five voices of jazz singer Mon David with a Gregorian monk version inserted in the middle.

Fourth is the Millennium version (piano-laden) released by the Holy Angel University Center for Kapampangan Studies as carrier single to the Paskung Kapampangan CD. It has a Tagalog version sandwiched between the traditional Kapampangan lines, probably to cater to already Tagalized Kapampangans (shame on you!). It's the most emotional version I heard.

The fifth one is what I am actually featuring today. It's a hip reggae version by a band called Tropical Depression, which I commend for modernizing folk songs.

When I heard the song via a Friendster testimonial in the page a person I already forgot, I researched on the source of that version. I found out that it was Tropical Depression, so I looked them up through Friendster and asked them a few questions.

To my surprise, none from their group is Kapampangan by any means! And it's sad how it is a non-Kapampangan band who was able to think of modernizing the endeared folk song of Kapampangans. Here's the exact reply of the band to me:

It has always been the band's thrust to help re-introduce traditional songs to the youth as what we have done with "Atin Cu Pung Singsing", "Baleleng", "Dandansoy", a couple of Mang Levi Celerio's works and, hopefully, more in the years to come.

Although none of us are true blue Kapampangans, and had to learn the dialect [language] in three days, we felt the need to revive the song to show people that if we just took time out to learn the cultures of the different regions, then we might be able to bridge the gap between our divided country.

Mayap ayabak, abe =)


Unity through diversity. That's the way to go.

However, what surprised me more was the fact that it was Grace Nono who did the vocals! Grace Nono is from Mindanao and I, from now on, look up to her for having respect and appreciation to the diverse cultures of the Philippines.

I also read somewhere that she visited the Center for Kapampangan Studies once. Way to go. I hope there were more musicians like her (and Tropical Depression).

But then, there's only boom tarat tarat.

If you want, by the way, to listen to the lovely reggae version of Atin Ku Pung Singsing, click the title on my podomatic on your right.

Susug: Episode 2 of my Kapampangan YouTube magazine show Meto Kapampangan is out! Check out ini.

April 15, 2007

To Kapampangans in UP, please read

I share sentiments with this one.

Do Not Be Ashamed to Save Your People (the case in UP)

By Dr. Jose Palu-ay Dacudao

"Believing in the inviolability of the small set of rules that they have managed themselves to acquire, they condemn others from a different dialect background, or who have not had the same educational opportunities as themselves, for not following those same rules.

Enthused by the Stalinesque policing metaphor, they advocate a policy of zero tolerance, to eradicate all traces of the aberrant behaviour. This extreme attitude would be condemned by most people if it were encountered in relation to such domains as gender or race, but for some reason it is tolerated in relation to language. Welcomed, even, judging by the phenomenal sales of Eats, Shoots and Leaves."

-David Crystal, British linguist

The hypocrisy of so-called Filipino nationalists in the University of the Philippines system sickens and nauseates me. They define their nationalism as:

:: A belief in a strong national (or central) government, or strong central government supervision. (Butuanon) Te, kun pro-Federal ka, indi ka na Pilipino?

:: A belief in imposing a uniform language on all Filipinos, in this case Tagalog. (Butuanon) Te kun indi ka gali Tagalog, indi ka na Pilipino?

:: A belief in anti-Americanism. Ang Amerika may Republican kag Federal nga gobyerno. (Butuanon) Te, kun pro-Republic kag pro-Federal ka, indi ka na Pilipino?

What is really sickening is that many of these so-called ‘nationalists’ fancy themselves as dissidents fighting against a monstrously oppressive system, when in fact they are the ones propagating the ideological basis for the monstrously oppressive internal colonialism to be found in Philippines.

You must be bewildered by now. So I will try to explain by means of concrete examples.

When I was a politically ignorant young Biology student in UP Diliman way back in 1980s, I became fascinated by UP teachers and students who went around proudly proclaiming their ‘nationalism’. It was so in vogue then, so radically chic. One day I attended a seminar by some of these self proclaimed nationalistic teachers. I cannot remember any of their lectures except one.

This nationalist teacher, very much respected by the nationalist students, stood up and right away commenced his lecture on nationalism and anti-American imperialism with the statement (in Tagalog of course):

“Please forgive my Tagalog. I am a Visayan and I cannot speak it well. I have a Visayan accent.”

The other listeners in the audience just nodded their assent as though it were the most natural thing in the world for him to say. I just stared in shock. I think my mouth had dropped open. It was the first time that I had encountered overt discrimination by UP nationalists against non-Tagalog Filipinos.

To make things worse, being a Visayan, I felt the discrimination in my very core, that it was against my person.

The honored teacher was apologizing for being a Visayan! What a dishonorable ethnic traitor he was!

Yet it was so much in vogue in UP then. To be a left-leaning Filipino nationalist (which I soon decided was just the same as being a Tagalista centralist opposed to any form of Federalism or devolvement of state powers to the provinces, and totally devoted to the destruction of the non-Tagalog ethnolinguistic peoples of the Philipines) was the rage, the stylistic fad, the fashionable mode, the trendy craze.

So I attended more seminars. The nationalists harped that American imperialism is bad, that American dominated multinational corporations were gobbling up the wealth of the Philippines and sending it straight to America.

Being of an inquisitive mind, I did not just nod my assent like a tick-tock automaton. I started thinking about the companies and corporations that I encounter everyday in the Philippines.

Eventually, I did a little research in the Securities and Exchange Commission, which lists down all the top Philippine companies. It turned out that more than 90% of the top Philippine companies and corporations were based in MetroManila. Most of the profits that they made in their provincial operations went straight to their executives and stockholders in MetroManila.

I decided to call these companies Manila Based Companies or Corporations (MBCs). Like Multinational Companies (MNCs) that the nationalists so hate, they suck in profits from their operations in peripheral areas and spew them out in their center, which happens to be MetroManila.

For years I waited for the nationalists to criticize MBC’s the way they attack MNC’s. Nothing. It was as though that there was nothing wrong with Manila plundering the rest of the Philippines, because such a thing never existed in the minds of the nationalists.

In additional seminars by UP nationalists, I learned that ‘imperialism’ is more or less synonymous with ‘neo-colonialism’ , and that it is bad. In imperialism or neo-colonialism, one country controls another by indirect economic means.

Even worse was colonialism, which was direct political control of a colony by a ‘mother country’, which placed the colony under the direct supervision and control of a government apparatus whose upper echelons were located in and were loyal to the mother country.

In such a case, the center in the mother country could legally direct events, implements its laws, and unilaterally tax the peoples in the colony.

I was dumbfounded. Using this definition of colonialism, all Philippines provinces are colonies of MetroManila!

As usual I did a little investigation. I learned to my amazement that an article in the Encyclopedia Britannica agreed with me, claiming that when Europeans withdrew direct political control of their African and Asian colonies in the late 1800s and early 1900s, control of the typical colony usually passed on to the city that functioned as the colonial capital. The ethnic group in control of this capital then often became the new colonizers. The Encyclopedia Britannica article called this system of exploitation ‘internal colonialism’.

A bitter hostility to American imperialism coupled with a deliberate obliviousness to the internal colonialism going on in the Philippines was almost pathognomonic of the UP nationalists of the 1980s, and perhaps even until now.

Another characteristic of Tagalista UP nationalists is that they seem to pretend that the Philippines’ non-Tagalog ethnolinguistic peoples do not exist. They go about bashing English, then advocating its replacement by Tagalog, deliberately ignoring the fact that Tagalog was forcibly first imposed by the Manila-based Japanese puppet government of World War II on non-Tagalog Filipinos.

Executive Order No. 44 issued by collaborationist President Jose P. Laurel, ordered the integration of Tagalog into the core subjects of the University of the Philippines.

As usual, in this deceitful act of internal colonialism UP led the way. Other schools followed suit. The above action of the Japanese and their colonial puppets was completely illegal in the sense that the framers of the 1935 Philippine Constitution specifically refused to recognize Tagalog as a national language in the Philippine Constitution, as it was and is clear that doing so would discriminate against non-Tagalog Filipinos and turn them into second class citizens. In imposing and enforcing Tagalog, the Japanese also never held any plebiscite, or any democratic process.

The main motive of the treasonous World War II Filipino ‘nationalists’ (who were actually Tagalistas) then were the same as now: the replacement of English by Tagalog as the Philippine’s lingua franca in the name of National Unity and anti-colonialism.

Irony of ironies!

The enforcement of Tagalog was actually not an anti-colonial action, but a weapon of colonialism itself, the better that a central Unitarian government from Manila could colonially control the whole Philippines.

Unlike many UP students who swallowed all the nauseating nationalistic baloney like starving robotic morons, I started analyzing this ‘nationalism’ that many ‘nationalist’ UP teachers and students advocated. As stated above, it seemed to have three main components.

:: A belief in a strong national (or central) government, or strong central government supervision.

:: A belief in imposing a uniform language on all Filipinos, in this case Tagalog.

:: A belief in anti-Americanism.

Blind force feeding of this rotting nationalistic baloney gave me severe indigestion. Where the heck lies the loyalty of the nationalistic UP educator, to Manila or to the rest of the Philippines?

In my opinion, there is a real need to reform the UP system of education in the matter of ideological orientation with regards to the idea of what the Philippines was, is, and should be.

The reader might ask, why am I attacking UP so much when I myself am one of its products? I graduated magna cum laude in Biology in UP Diliman, and finished Medicine in the UP College of Medicine Manila. I have spent more than 10 years of my life in UP.

Naturally, I gain no pleasure in criticizing the school that trained me to be me. I naturally hope and pray that UP would get reformed sometime in the future so that it would cease being the instrument of internal colonialism that it has been since World War II.

The reason is simple enough. This ‘nationalism’ being advocated by many UP teachers and organizations will one day be the death of the non-Tagalog ethnolinguistic peoples of the Philippines. The UP type of nationalism is in essence Tagalista internal colonialism.

In our case here in Iloilo, this type of ‘nationalism’, if unopposed, will cause the Ilonggo people to die out.

History is rife with cases of colonialism. The colonizer normally tried to impose his language, and with it his ethnic identity, on the colonized. Colonized ethnic peoples (captive peoples, peripheral peoples) who could not or would not resist disappeared.

What does this mean?

If you want your people to survive, do not be ashamed to save your people. Speak out for them, however wrong it may seem by society’s prevailing standards.

(And this I am doing; I hope you do it, too, students of 1) University of the Philippines Extension Program in Pampanga, 2) UP Aguman, 3) UP Cabalen. -Jason)

April 11, 2007

Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" in Kapampangan

These two girls made a Kapampangan translation of Beyonce's [English] song Irreplaceable. What can I say? Very nice! Maybe they could also make their own original Kapampangan compositions, which I am certain they will be great.

A few minor corrections though on some Tagalog words used (which I believe were supposed to be Kapampangan, since the song was translated into Kapampangan anyway).

"Kaya e mu isipan" should be "Inya e mu isipan"
"Kahit metung mang segundu" should be "Agyang metung mung segundu"

And then, some grammatical corrections.

"E na ku makanakit kalupa mu" should be "E na ku manakit / makayakit kalupa mu"

Young Kapampangan musicians! What are you waiting for? Go out there and make our Indung Kapampangan proud. Employ your native tongue in what you do.

April 9, 2007

A globally renowned Maléldo tradition

As a child, flagellants roaming around different parts of Pampanga every Maléldo (Holy Week) are not very alien to me. My big brother used to be afraid of them because of their head gear and their gory image.

We call them magdarámé (those having their backs blade-wounded and whipping their backs with bamboo pads while walking half-naked and barefoot on the street) and magsalibatbat (those rubbing their skin against the hot concrete by crawling).

The act of having one's back wounded by either a steel or glass blade and letting it bleed is, according to folks, pamagparaya, from the rootword daya, or blood.

However, it is not until this year that I have decided to know more about them by attending the famous Cutud crucifixion rites last Good Friday, where a number of flagellants -- mostly men -- are literally nailed to the cross generally because it's their religious pledge.

If you've seen the Mark Meily movie La Visa Loca starring Robin Padilla and Rufa Mae Quinto, you'd know what I'm talking about.

(The character of Robin in that movie, by the way, was supposed to be a Kapampangan who lives in Sexmoan, Pampanga; however, he uttered not a single Kapampangan word.)

It was Good Friday, so naturally, there were a few people out on the streets. I equipped myself with my camcorder to document the whole thing so that I may feature it in my YouTube magazine show. Right in front of the gate of our subdivision, I did not expect to see so many magsalibatbat at eight in the morning.

While riding an Angeles-San Fernando jeepney, I noticed that the others inside the jeepney were dressed like tourists. One is even an American. It seemed as though we all had the same destination: Cutud, for also the same motive.

When I and my friend reached the hill where the crucifixion was to take place, I was overwhelmed with the popularity of the event: from the specially-treated tourists from France, Japan, UK, USA, India, Germany, S. Korea, etc. to the footage-craving media men and photographers from different local, national, and even international papers and networks. Not to mention the usual natives watching their fathers, brothers, or friends participate in the event.

The local government probably expected the number of viewers so they took all measures to make the event very organized.

On the right of the hill is a VIP area dominated by foreigners, tourists, and photojournalists. On the left is a moshpit for locals and non-special viewers. TV camera people were also situated there, although put on an elevated stage for them to get a clear view.

Although it was a practice not appreciated by the Church, I saw nuns attend the event, too.

Wanting to get closer shots without the interference of umbrellas in my view, I went to the information area and asked whether I could be admitted in the VIP area.

Fortunately, I was recognized by a certain lady through this blog, as recommended by book writer Dr. Tec Olosa. I begged, "Sigi na, media na ku man. Para kng Internet."

And I and my friend were given our special Maléldo IDs! We were officially media people (which I believe I technically am, for new media).

The crucifixion was to happen at lunchtime, so that meant about 45 minutes of waiting under the sun. One would be foolish to abandon his spot because other tourists would quickly take over, pushing your spot backwards, where your view would be filled with raised cameras, hats, and umbrellas.

While waiting, the announcer was telling the people repeatedly a brief history of the practice.

Unbeknownst to many, the Cutud crucifixion rite is actually theatrical in nature. It's a street play, staging the piece Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) written and began by a certain Tata Legring back in 1955. He's deceased today, so it was his grandson Allan Navarro who continued staging the play.

It's actually a reenactment in Kapampangan language of the crucifixion itself -- Jews, Roman soldiers (borne in real horses and holding their spears), the Virgin Mary, and other essential characters were all present in low-budget costumes.

The play is nothing grand, like there was a story to it or there was lighting and original sound effects (Gregorian music was what was being played). In fact, the people were eagerly waiting for the crucifixion itself, as in the idea of really nailing one's palms and feet, not the reenactment.

Several men were crucified. They were removed from the cross after about ten to fifteen minutes of public exposure.

Surprisingly, news say a woman had herself crucified during the latter part. Sadly I wasn't able to witness that. In a patriarchal tradition such as this, women often take the role of the Virgin Mary and other women below the cross.

Jesus Christ, being male, is understandably to be imitated by men alone traditionally. To my confusion and laughter, some supposed-to-be women roles were acted by straight men, too.

However, the Kristos, more than imitation, engaged in such activity not to reenact Christ's life, but to have a wish granted by God.

For instance, one guy I interviewed (I'm sorry I didn't get his name; it was an experimental crash interview using the Kapampangan language; I went straight to him after he was interview by National Geographic) did it because he wanted certain family members to be cured of certain ailments.

An interesting question raised by the Dulaang UP play Shadows of the Reef (Mga Anak Ng Dagat) which features a similar crucifixion rite in a fishing village: what if it was a Catholic woman who wanted something granted? In the play, the folks didn't want the woman to be Kristo because she simply was not a man.

Anyway, the good thing is, Kapampangans don't care whether it was a man or woman who get themselves crucified.

The bad thing is: some Kapampangan children tend to imitate the relatively violent penitential acts.

A few children I saw days ago were hitting one another with things they imagine as the whips used by magdarámé while shouting, "Magdarámé! Magdarámé!" One kid was even lying down on the concrete with his arms stretched wide, pretending to be a Kristo.

But it's probably normal. One can see more violence -- guns, bombs, knives, and fireballs -- in both free and cable TV.

April 8, 2007

Ing bándang Tibuan

Weeks ago, I searched cyberspace for possible rock or alternative bands whom I might someday tap in a Kapampangan propagation project for the younger generation.

I found a lot of these bands (known as combos to the more elderly, and the music sometimes tagged Satan's music by the ultraconservative), but only a few were enthusiastic with the idea of making Kapampangan songs.

Among these bravehearted and patriotic bands who are not fraidey cats in using their amanung sisuan to express themselves artistically, only one band (so far) has adopted a Kapampangan word for a name: Tibuan. For that, they will be the first young Kapampangan musicians whom I will feature here in my blog.

So to know them more, I asked them a few kutang:

Ninu ko ngan?

Gaddiel "Guido" Cortez - axeman
Ambo Lacap - vocals
Razer Dimabuyu - drums
Merwin Alfonso - bass

Nanung tigtig ing gagauan yu?

Blues and Rock'n roll.

Nu ko ngan ibat a lugal? Nanung iskuela yu?

Guido - Porac; Holy Angel University
Ambo - Pandan; Holy Angel University
Razer - Angeles City; Holy Angel University
Merwin - Porac; Angeles University Foundation

Bakit TIBUAN ing apili yung lagyu ning banda yu?

Maka-relate ke kasi kng lagyu mi; 'Tibuan' means roots/origin, at ing musical influence mi plain old school rock.

Atin kong kantang Kapampangan?

Ala, e mi pa sibukan ginaua pero atin kami mu rin balak gaua agyang mapilan mu, bang agyang mapakananu mu atin yang profoundness ing lagyu mi, hehehehe.

[We haven't tried yet but we plan to make some, so that there would be some certain amount of profoundness in our name.]

Ninu ring titingalan yung tau (e kaylangan musikeru) at bakit?

Dakal. Metung na karin i Gandhi. Simpli mu ing sangkan mi, uling metung ke kareng taung papabor kng lugud ampong kapayapan.

[Lots. One of them would be Gandhi. Reason is simple: we're one of those bunch who favor love and peace.]

Nanung asabi yu kng
Kapampangan music scene, pelalu na ing rock scene?

Malalam ing musikang Kapampangan, tutu ampong e maglaram. Oneng pangaras king rock scene keti, asabi ku na alang kakuenta-kuenta. Uling bala mu eganagana kareng artist tamu keni mangalili la kareng mismung daramdaman da.

Metung pa, alang pamisasanmetung kareng musikeru. Imbis na sana miyabeyabe la, ing malilyari mipapagmayabang la. Kayi, marinat ing palakad da ring manibala karing events keni. Pati ing marinat a pulitika liban na ning music scene keni inya mababauas ing artistry da ring kayanakan a musikerung Kapampangan.

[Kapampangan music is honestly deep. But when it comes to the rock scene, it's crap. Almost all of our artists are confused themselves with the things they're hearing. Also, there is lack of unity in the part of the musicians. Instead of fostering harmony, they often boast at one another. Then, people holding events and concerts run shows the dirty way. Even dirty politics has entered the Kapampangan music scene. That is why the artistry of young Kapampangan musicians is decreasing.]

Nung sumulat kong Kapampangan, nanung buri yu: K-Orthography o C/Q Orthography?

K-orthography siguru, oneng siguru magamit la ding adua mu rin. Mengari ya king Biblia, C/Q ing magagamit, lalu na kareng dalit.

[Maybe K-Orthography, but perhaps, we may just use the two. Like in the Bible, C/Q is what is being used, especially in dalit.]

Nu karin kng Pampanga masanting tutugtug?

E maulaga kekami talaga nung nanung lugal ing tigtigan mi, basta makatugtug ke mung masalese kng arapan da ring tau ampong aparamdam mi ing music mi, okay ne kanita.

[We don't really care about the venue where we play, as long as we play well in front of the people and let other people hear our music. That'd do.]

Nung gaua kong Kapampangan rock album, nanu ing palagyu yu kng album?

Self titled siguru. Ala kung aisip ngeni e, hehehe.

[A self-titled one, probably. I can't think of any right now, hehehe.]

Nanung pamiyaliua ning Kapampangan karing aliuang Pinoy?

Ala. Ing amanu mu siguru.

[None. Just the language perhaps.]

(To say ing amanu mu [just the language] is ironic, because amanu is like 85% of what makes culture, and culture is what gives identity to a certain social group. -Jason)

Nung gaua kong music video, nu karing kng Pampanga ye buring i-shoot?

Kng asikan, kaibat malangi ing gabun atsaka madalumdum. Kayi panayan ming sumala ya ing aldo.

[We want to make our music video in a place where the earth is dry and the sky is gloomy. Then we wait for the sun to shine.]

Sikat yang Kapampangan quote ing: "Nung kng leun at tigri, e ku tatakut, keka pa?" Kaninu ye buring sabian ini?

Kareng tau sigurung e maniuala kng gagauan mi.

[We'd love to say that quote "I don't even fear the lion and the tiger, so why should I fear you?" to people who don't believe in what we do.]

Sanu ing mas Kapampangan? Indung Tibuan (place where one grew up) o Indung Ibatan (place of origin)?

Pareju lang Kapampangan ren! END

[Both are Kapampangan.]

Check them out at

Regarding the handlers of concerts and events, they indeed need some ego-busting food sometimes.

I heard that the Kapampangan production group who declined my project for a Kapampangan rock album (and even dared to tell me that he and his group only works for big companies) is now secretly pursuing a similar project, the idea of which he got from me. Worse, he's saying bad things about me.

Say whatever you want to say, however untruthful, but make sure you sincerely support young Kapampangan musicians. If your motivation for doing that album is ego and glory alone instead of cultural empowerment, shame on you. Instead of supporting your fellow Kapampangans, you prefer to trash them away then pirate their ideas, all because of selfish motives.

Nonetheless, a huge thank you to you if you make a Kapampangan rock album, after all the years of Tagalog-dominated Tigtigan Terakan concerts that you held. It's at least still an empowerment.

[ANNOUNCEMENT: In case I don't perish or become victim of pestilence in the following days, the second episode of my YouTube magazine show Meto Kapampangan will be out by next week. The episode is about children engaging in Crissotan, a poetic debate named after Juan Crisostomo Soto.]

April 3, 2007

Early Kapampangans already knew how to count

[An article titled Counting in Kapampangan by Robby Tantingco]

Quick! Translate this into Kapampangan: one million six hundred fourteen thousand, nine hundred and forty-two (1,614,942).

Metung a milyun, anam a ralan labing apat a libu, siyam a ralan apat a pulu't adua. Correct?


It should be: Sangyuta lauit anam a gatus metung lacsa apat a libu, siyam a ralan mecalimang adua.

That's the total population of Pampanga today in the original Kapampangan numerical system, which was recorded by Augustinian missionary Fray Francisco Coronel in 1617, and which has since disappeared.

Ancient Kapampangans did not learn how to count from the Spaniards. By the time the invaders came in 1571, Pampanga had already been a fully functioning civilization, with community life, commerce, religion, calendar of festivals, agriculture that produced surplus (which enabled our ancestors to trade with other nations), a writing system and yes, a counting system, just like many other ethno-linguistic tribes in the archipelago.

When the Spaniards landed in Luzon, they noticed with amazement that "every man, woman and child could read and write." And of course, they could count as well.

Subsequent generations of Kapampangans unlearned the traditional counting system and adopted the Western way. Too bad, because our Kapampangan counting system could count all the way to one million. This means our ancestors had built a society large enough and sophisticated enough to contain concepts and objects that necessitated a word for million.

Here are the Kapampangan words for numbers one to one million, as documented by Spanish missionary Fray Francisco Coronel in a Kapampangan grammar book written in 1617, barely 50 years after the Spaniards first sailed into Pampanga:

Isa, adua, atlu, apat, lima, anam, pitu, walu, siam, pulu.

Isa (one) is used in counting, while metung is used as an adjective to describe something (as in metung a bulig, not isang bulig). Similarly, pulu (ten) is for counting while apulu is for describing (as in apulung biabas, not pulung biabas).

To continue: Labingmetung, labingadua, labingatlu, labingapat, labinglima, labinganam, labingpitu, labingwalu, labingsiyam, aduangpulu. That's 11 to 20.

And then comes the weird part: mecatlung metung, mecatlung adua, mecatlung atlu, mecatlung apat, mecatlung lima, mecatlung anam, mecatlung pitu, mecatlung walu, mecatlung siyam, atlung pulu. That's 21 to 30.

Ancient Kapampangans used the prefix meca to mean "leading to;" thus, mecatlu is "leading to 30," and therefore mecatlung adua is 22 and mecatlung atlu is 23, and so forth. Meca is used only starting with mecatlu (20 plus) because there is no mecadua (10 plus) since they used the prefix labing for numbers between 10 and 20.

Fray Coronel explained, however, that even in those days, Kapampangans were already using what he called "the Spanish way," e.g., aduang pulu ampon adua (22), aduang pulu ampon atlu (23), etc. which is what survived to this day.

The prefix meca applied to the rest of the numbers until 100: mecapat metung (31), mecalimang adua (42), mecanam atlu (53), mecapitung apat (64), mecawalung lima (75), mecasiyam anam (86) and mecarinalan pitu (97). Mecarinalan is short for meca plus dinalan ("leading to 100").

Once the counting reached the hundred mark, our ancestors dropped meca and the concept of "leading to" and used either lalu (more) or lauit (over) to mean "in excess of."

Thus, 101 is not dinalan ampon metung but lalung dalan metung or lauit dalan metung. The number 183 is lauit dalan ampon mecasiam atlu, 326 is atlung dalan mecatlung anam, and so forth, until you reach 1000, which is libu. Lalu and lauit are again useful here: 1100 is lauit (or lalung) libu dinalan; 1736 is lauit (or lalung) libu pitung dalan mecapat anam; 2007 is lauit aduang libu ampon pitu (which is how the current year should be said in Kapampangan) .

Today, Kapampangans have dropped both lauit and lalung and simply say aduang libu ampon pitu.

Ten thousand (10,000) was lacsa. Eleven thousand (11,000) was lalung (or lauit) lacsang libu; 12,000 lalung lacsang aduang libu; 13,000 lalung lacsang atlung libu, etc. Notice that lauit (or lalung) was again used for compound numbers in excess of lacsa. When they reached 20,000 they said aduang lacsa; 21,000 was lauit aduang lacsa metung libu; 30,000 atlung lacsa; 33,000 lauit atlung lacsa atlung libu, and so on.

The number 42,923 would be lauit apat a lacsa aduang libu, siam a ralan mecatlung atlu.

One hundred thousand (100,000) was gatus; 200,000 aduang gatus; 250,000 lauit aduang gatus limang lacsa; 924,257 lauit siyam a gatus aduang lacsa apat a libu aduang dalan mecanam pitu. Again, lauit (or lalung) was used for compound numbers exceeding gatus.

One million (1,000,000) was sangyuta. The fact that the word was coined meant our ancestors had needed it for something that reached the million mark, most likely bartered goods.

For things that could not be counted anymore, like the stars in the sky, the ancient Kapampangans used the word catacata, which is still being used today, as in Catacata la ring taung dinaun king misa nang Fr. Ed Panlilio. (Countless people went to Fr. Ed Panlilio's mass.)

When the Spaniards came, they probably scratched their head and decided to just impose their own counting system on the natives. Thus, Kapampangans gradually unlearned their ancestors' way of counting as they learned the colonizers' system. By the turn of the 18th century, confusion had set in: while some Kapampangans, for example, still used lacsa for 10,000, many others were using the same word for 100,000 instead of gatus, as recorded by Fray Diego Bergaño in his Arte de la Lengua Pampanga (1729).

Today, Kapampangans count the way the rest of the country (and the world) does, which of course facilitates transaction, but the loss of a unique and truly indigenous way of counting, a real legacy from our ancestors, is something to be sad about.

In one of her recent regular visits to Holy Angel University, Dr. Milagros Ibe, one of the country's most respected mathematicians and current Graduate School Dean of Miriam College and the Department of Education's consultant for math (who is, by the way, a Kapampangan) , expressed genuine surprise and delight when shown a copy of the traditional Kapampangan counting system.

I asked her to study it and see if it can be popularized again especially among schoolchildren in Pampanga, as part of the intellectualization of our language.

It would only take some getting used to.