Alben meng manyaman, boy!

August 28, 2007

My first Kapampangan-related Award!!!


My whole spirit is currently wiggling in glee. This is so because this afternoon, I was phoned by the chairman of the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF), Mr. Ricardo Nolasco, and was informed that I landed third place in the recently concluded Gawad Komisyon 2007 - the first ever literary tilt in the Philippines in 11 languages.

Naturally, I entered the Kapampangan category. Under it, there is only one subcategory: poesya (poetry). I titled my poetry collection Ing Pamiakit Ming Miyindu (Our Meeting, Mother and Child). I actually misspelled my entry's title; I indicated Pamiyikit instead of Pamiakit, and it wasn't until I submitted my papers that I realized my error.

These are the poems included in my collection:
  1. Pun A Matua (Tree of Old)
  2. Ligligan Pangadi (The Prayer Contest)
  3. Sanu Ing Matimbang: Ing Milabas o Ing Bukas? (Which Matters More: The Past or the Future?)
  4. Karing Bungang Pasuku na Lulut (For Fruits About to Fully Ripen)
  5. Dumulung Ka (Go Buy)
  6. Ing Anak a Tagak (The Little Egret)
  7. Manukluan (Squatter)
  8. Atin Ku Pung Singsing 2 (I Had A Ring 2)
The winners of Gawad Komisyon will be awarded this Friday at Dayview Hotel, Kalaw, Manila. I'm going to be wearing one of my Kapampangan shirts. Probably the one that says Karag TM, with a caricature of a bullfrog. :)

August 26, 2007

Kapampangan Dictionary and Grammar Book launched

Holy Angel University Chorale singing Himno Ning Kapampangan.

Luid ka! Luid ka! Palsintan me ing Kapampangan!

Last August 24, 2007, the Holy Angel University Center for Kapampangan Studies in cooperation with the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) launched the English translations of the dictionary and grammar book written by Fray Diego Bergano, the Augustinian friar from Spain who studied the Kapampangan language way back.

The launch was held at the San Agustin Church in Intramuros (the walls of which were erected mostly, if not absolutely, by Kapampangan workers. Being a Kapampangan concerned on language, I attended the event and was glad to see the turnout and the support we are getting from the government, especially Dr. Nolasco of KWF, who has finally made clear that what we call Filipino and Tagalog are practically the same.

Estelito Mendoza, Ambeth Ocampo, Bishop Aniceto, ABS-CBN (Pampanga?), Prof. Albina Peczon Fernandez (author of the anthology Ten), Tonette Orejas, Andy Alviz of ArtiSta. Rita, and other prominent people were there. Some members of UP Aguman were also there to support.

Now that we have the books translated, scholars may now study them to further develop the Kapampangan language and grammar. It is my wish that it would be Kapampangans who would do the study, since they are the ones who'd understand the texts and who'd be able to pinpoint where Bergano might have erred in his conclusions.

For instance, I want to propose a breakdown of some pronouns, which seem complex at first, but if one breaks them down in their theoretically original form, it could lessen lapses in writing down the language.

To answer questions of WHOM / WHOSE (KANINU), use KANG + PRONOUN.

Ninu (Who)
Kaninu / Kenu (Kang + Ninu) (To whom / For whom / Whose)

KANINU ya payung iyan?
Whose is that umbrella?

KANINU me ibiye ini?
To whom will you give this?

KANINU la ren?
For whom are those?

First Person

Kang + Aku / Ku
Kanaku / Kaku
(Sa) akin

Kang + Ikata / Kata
(Sa) ating dalawa

Kang + Ikatamu (Itamu) / Tamu
(Sa) atin[g lahat]

Kang + Ikami (Ike) / Kami (ke)
(Sa) amin

Second Person

Kang + Ika / Ka

Kang + Ikayu (Iko) / Kayu
Sa inyo

Third Person

Kang + Iya
(Sa) kaniya

Kari (Kang + di) + Ila
(Sa) kanila

For non-human possessions

Kang + Ini

Kang + Iti

Kang + Iyan

Kang + Ita

Kang + Deni (Ding ini) / Kari (Kang + di) + Ini
Sa mga ito

Kang + Den (ding iyan) / Kari (Kang + di) + Iyan
Karen / Karean
Sa mga iyan

Kang + Deta (ding ita) / Kari (Kang + di) + Ita
Sa mga iyon

August 23, 2007

Digital Photography: "Amanung Sisuan"

This piece of digital photography is by Pampanga Arts Guild member Dennis Borja Meneses.

Its title is Amanung Sisuan, and as a Kapampangan, one should know that Amanung Sisuan is how we figuratively call our mother language Kapampangan.

Among the terms used to describe mother languages, the Kapampangan has so far been the most figurative. Amanung Sisuan literally means "the language/word from which one suckled," which is not the traditional "mother language" (Inang Wika in Tagalog). In fact, Kapampangans never used Indung Amanu to refer to the Kapampangan language.

It is interesting to note that what Kapampangans treat as mother is their homeland and nature herself, as show in the following terms: Indung Kapampangan (Mother Kapampangan), Indung Balayan (Mother Land), and Indung Tibuan (Mother of Origin). The language then serves as the milk that the mother land feeds her children, Amanung Sisuan.

August 19, 2007

Establishing a band scene independent of Manila

We are in this period which communication theorist Marshall McLuhan calls the Global Village. With the high rate of cultural exchange as brought forth by information and communication technology, a poorly empowered cultural identity would not be able to contend in the battle for cultural survival.

With the presence of new media that make other cultures accessible, a child could get lost in the global village or join another cultural group (in simple terms, colonial or foreign mentality) consciously or subconsciously if he finds no distinction or prestige in the culture of his homeland.

This cultural confusion can be prevented though by making his native culture preferable and competent in this era of globalization and by making it thrive in these new media.

One of the observable symptoms of cultural deterioration in Pampanga is the gradual language shift happening to the younger generation, especially in the more industrialized areas like Angeles City, Mabalacat, and City of San Fernando. Tagalog is becoming the more preferred language, aside from English. This is evident in the youth’s heavy borrowings of Tagalog and English words in their daily conversations.

If left unopposed, Kapampangan is bound to be a dead language where no new generation speaks it anymore; only fossilized in heritage museums and libraries. Then, we will be able to appreciate how Kapampangan used to be, but can never really experience living with it. Memories won't suffice.

According to some alternative linguistic theories, language shift may be reversed if the speakers:

1. increase their prestige within the dominant community
2. increase their wealth
3. increase their legitimate power in the eyes of the dominant community
4. have a strong presence in the education system
5. can write the language down
6. can make use of electronic technology

We cannot do all of these at the same time, but taking things one by one will eventually lead us to the fulfillment of our vision.

A number of projects seeking to revive Kapampangan have been launched in the recent months. These establishments, however, are usually headed by the older Kapampangan generation.

While there is no hard evidence, it is the opinion of many observers, including yours truly, that there is a generation gap between the preference of the current Kapampangan youth and the pre-Mt. Pinatubo eruption generation. The said gap even extends to language preference, making young Kapampangan writers, musicians, speakers, filmmakers, etc. take little initiative to use their Amanung Sisuan in their craft.

If this is left unchallenged, the Kapampangan language will die in the next generation, because no one would pass it on.

Several months ago, I made rounds on the Internet, personally observing Kapampangan rock/alternative bands (from Mabalacat, Guagua, Angeles City, and San Fernando City) whether they played Kapampangan songs and wrote their own music in their native language or not.

Sadly, I saw NONE. The songs that they play and/or make are either in English or Tagalog.
In contrast with young Cebuano bands, the idea of "Kapampangan band music" -- as a whole -- has not had an identity of its own hugely because the musicians don’t even use the Kapampangan language in their music.

Cebuanos are known for Bisrock, or Bisaya Rock, and are patronized well in their region. In fact, they, along with other Visayan languages, are beginning to penetrate MYX, the Manila music video channel, without dropping their Sugbuanon.

I made rounds in cyberspace again and was able to view how Cebuano bands lead the youth—I’ve seen clips of well-attended rock concerts featuring Bisaya rockers singing original compositions. What melts my heart is that the audience even knows their songs, as they sing happily with the musicians.

In short, the Cebuano band scene is alive and kicking—as energized as the Manila band scene. This, on the side, makes the Cebuano language alive, too, in the realm of the Cebuano youth.

The GENUINE Kapampangan rock scene, is, in my opinion, dead, or is still premature, because it does not acknowledge the use of its Amanung Sisuan. In several venues where Kapampangan bands are the main offering—such as Tigtigan Terakan, Fiestang Kuliat, and other beauty pageants, one would barely hear a single, originally composed Kapampangan song.

I’ve heard of some bands planning to compose some original Kapampangan rock songs, but with reasons such as discouragement from organizers and illiteracy, they never pushed through.

Clearly, young Kapampangan artists—despite their inherent talent—especially in the urban areas of Pampanga, refuse to express themselves in Kapampangan for a couple of reasons.

One reason why they don’t seem to use their language in making young, hip, and popular music is because it’s still taboo to use Kapampangan in more advanced media such as: blogs, websites, film, music, and TV and radio productions. I myself felt uncomfortable when I first heard ArtiSta. Rita’s pop song Pamanuli. But as time went by, I learned to love it. And now, I’m even yearning for more stuff, more Kapampangan songs, in different genres!

Such poor perception roots from the displacement of Kapampangan in schools by the appointed National Language and the other official language English, making the youth think that Kapampangan is a language unfit for higher forms of art and science.

With no promising future in the proficiency or even just the continued use of Kapampangan, parents have been raising their children in Tagalog and English, because they are seen as the “languages of progress and/or prestige” in the country.

Having said all that, my proposal is: let’s spearhead projects that would campaign for the idea that the Kapampangan language is an equally rich and beautiful language, competent enough to be used in these modern times.

This Kapampangan rock album I'm directing seeks to provide a venue for our talented musicians to make them do new Kapampangan songs. I have contacted several bands and they are more than enthusiastic with the concept of making Kapampangan music.

It might be asked: why rock bands? This is in acknowledgment of the ability of bands to make their own music with freedom in asserting their respective styles. In other words, they are not merely singers, but song makers and performers in one package. They can perform independently and they basically decide for their own (minus the social or corporate constraints in some events).

Elders would sometimes cringe when they hear the word "rock," thinking it's all about drugs, skateboards, and body piercing. Rock is merely a music genre and should not be attached with explicit and vulgar lyrics.

Allow me to feature the response of the vocalist of one Kapampangan band called Tibuan when I contacted them for the album project:

My man, you rock.

I've been looking for such group who can help boost what the Kapampangans should be boasting of—talent, and love for their language. I won't lie to you. Although I am a pure Kapampangan, I can't write in straight Kapampangan. I can't understand the older Kapampangan words but I know it's not that hard to go back and learn... I believe you when you say that our native language gets a little beating from other languages in the country.

...Well, thanks again and it's a pleasure to meet a fellow who advocates the ability of local talents and everything about our roots. -Ambo Lacap, Vocalist, Tibuan

The point of the project is to allow the Kapampangan language to enter the fast evolving popular culture as brought about by the global era; for if the youth fails to see the possibility of using Kapampangan in their surroundings, they would really not care to use Kapampangan to express themselves anymore.

With the songs preserved digitally on record, they will find it easy to penetrate local radio stations, Internet sites, and other forms of mass communication that can employ the use of recorded music.

In summary, we wish to materialize this project to achieve the following goals:

MUSIC: To release modern songs catering to the teenagers and young adults, who are into the following genres: pop, rock, mellow rock, alternative, reggae, jazz, emo, and rap
  • To release Kapampangan songs for FM radio stations to play, for TV stations to use, and for locals to enjoy listening to
  • To serve as additional to the currently small number of modern Kapampangan records.
  • To propagate the idea that the Kapampangan language is not just for folk songs, church hymns, and schools, but also for mainstream genres

BANDS: To ignite the Kapampangan soul in local bands.
  • To make them comfortable singing and playing their preferred music style in their mother language
  • To increase the prestige attached to the Kapampangan language by young rock/alternative music lovers/makers
  • To inspire the bands to compose their original Kapampangan songs in the future—thus, the birth of genuine Kapampangan rock.
  • To make the bands sing with confidence appropriate Kapampangan songs in their individual gigs
  • To mobilize the artistic youth and tap their skills to forward our advocacy on Kapampangan cultural heritage

INDUSTRY: To take initial steps in trying to establish a local music industry
  • To give due recognition to our local music-making talents
  • To give birth to a distinct brand of Philippine rock: K-Rock, which we may export outside the region, if already in a state of popularity, thereby making our mark in OPM (Original Pilipino Music).
  • To propagate the idea that we can establish a strong music industry independent of Manila
  • To attract local audience to patronize their kabalen
  • To attract entrepreneurs to consider investing in local music production services and facilities
Even though the project is not yet done, I'd like to congratulate the following bands for participating in the project. After this, may they continue to take pride and develop our language through their musical skills. You have the electrocuting power of music -- our Indung Balen is calling out to you to serve and revolutionize!

Five Against The Wall



Chocolate Factory


Late Jammers


Mental Floss






High Times

August 17, 2007

Philippine Paradigm Shift on Language

After many, many years, the government's arm in Linguistic Development has acknowledged the important fact that we are a multilingual country, and each language must be preserved for many reasons.

This will upset many National Artists like Almario and Lumbera, but, hey, that's the reality. The Tagalog monopoly of literature and other crafts that make use of language is not a very nice idea, don't you think?

Actually, if Almario and Lumbera (and other Tagalistas) insist that only Tagalog should be given significance, then they're the regionalists -- not us.

What we want is to preserve and develop what we have and respect the cultures of others. They, on the other hand, want to imperialize.

This is the poster of Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF) for this year.

Note that although I am happy with this move, I still am fighting for language EQUALITY. No Tagalog Imperialism.

As an example, I often cite popular music. Because anomalously, Tagalog is the national language and has been deviously injected in the Filipinos' brains, they now possess the biggest market in the country. They can sell their crafts from Luzon to Mindanao, and they will keep on influencing non-Tagalog children to patronize Tagalog because that's where the gold is.

This is because Filipino - a premature Tagalog ass-kissing version, completely NOT what the national language should be (based on all the major languages, not Tagalog only) - has been taught to many generations already even though it's not yet what it's supposed to be.

Oh well, welcome to the Fourth World.

August 12, 2007

Katimauan para king sariling Amanu!

Para king Bulan ning Amanu, yayampang ke ining makuyad kung kauatasan e pemagatan kung MÁNUKLUAN. Para ya ini karing anggang Kapampangan a kayanakan a mengaparusan king iskuela iniang gagamitan de ing sarili rang Amanu king kilub ning silid-aralan.

For the Language Month, I present this short poem the title of which is SQUATTER. This I dedicate to all the Kapampangan children who got punished at school for speaking their own language inside the classroom.

Kailangan da nang abalu ring anggang Pilipinu king meto yatu na e kailangan ing paten ta ra ring aliuang amanu keti Pilipinas ban mung mikamasikan a bangsa.

It's high time that all Filipinos around the world know that we don't have to kill our linguistic diversity in the Philippines just to uphold a strong nation.

Misasanmetung king pamimialiua!

Unity in diversity!

neng Jason Paul Laxamana

Oyta i Ginang Nacionalista
Ngana king ulaga ning salita
"Ang `di ma-al ang sariling wika
Masa-ol pa sa malansang isda"
Ita kanu'ng amanu nang Pepe
Inia mag-Filipinu king bale
Sibuknan, oneng dipan-ning-alti!
E pa rin asalikut ing gege

[There goes Mrs. Nacionalista
She stated regarding the importance of language,
"Ang `di ma-al ang sariling wika
Masa-ol pa sa malansang isda"
That's what Rizal said, she asserted
So we should speak Filipino (Tagalog) at home
I tried, but God-damn-it!
I can't hide my native accent]

Misan a aldo merakap kami
Rugu ning kasiping kung kaklasi
Kákanta keng `Atin Ku Pung Singsing'
`Nia balugbug mi tinakam pitik
Di Bokbok at Ketuy naman gulut
Pepamayaran dong limang pesus
`Tse e la kanu mig-Filipinu
Ing magdusa ing karelang gradu

[One day I was caught
Along with my seatmate
We were singing 'Atin Ku Pung Singsing'
So our ears got some striking
Then Bokbok and Ketoy at the back
Were made to pay five esos
If they wouldn't start speaking Filipino (Tagalog)
Their grades would suffer]

"Painuman na," ngaku king kakasi
"Mauo ku't dila ku asne langi"
Kabirabira itang mestra mi
Ing patilya ku kayang penabit
Uling pane kung mángapampangan
"Sa labas ka ng silid-aralan!"
Ala ku kanung lugal king "bayan"
Metung ku mu yatang mánukluan
Kapilan na ku kaya paluban?

["Can I have a drink," I told a friend
"I'm thirsty and my tongue's all dried up"
Suddenly, our teacher
Pulled my hair hard
Because I often used Kapampangan
"Sa labas ka ng silid-aralan!"
She said I have no place in the "bayan"
I'm just a squatter after all
I wonder when she'd let me in] | Pinoy Bloggers Society (PBS)


Wika2007 Blog Writing Contest

Theme: Maraming Wika, Matatag na Bansa

Sponsored by:

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RocKapampangan Tracklisting

The Center for Kapampangan Studies and Kalalangan Kamaru decided to add five more tracks to the initial eleven we were targeting before. In no particular order, these will be the songs:
  1. Indung Balayan
  2. Ika Ing Pangarap
  3. Sibul Na Ning Arayat
  4. Istorya Nang Raffy Balboa
  5. Kasamsaman
  6. Atsing Rosing
  7. Lugud Na Ning Indu
  8. Mekeni King Siping Ku
  9. Aro!
  10. Dalumdum ning Bengi
  11. Iniang Minuran 40 Aldo
  12. Ing Kakasal
  13. Deng Pamilyang Kuriput
  14. Saug a Malati
  15. Abak a Maranun
  16. Atin Ku Pung Singsing 2
You may listen to the preview of Tibuan's Ika Ing Pangarap in my Podomatic Player on the right.

August 8, 2007

Kapampangan Acoustic Pop, soon!

ArtiSta. Rita will be releasing its third album soon.

Unlike the past two albums Pamalsinta Quing Milabas and Kapampangan Ku, the third album contains nine new original compositions in acoustic pop genre aimed at Kapampangan acoustic-pop lovers.

The carrier single will be Paralaya, a mellow song of a lovesick boy gazing his object of affection from a distance. Lumaue ka king uanan / Papuntang paralaya / Manenaya kung tumiman ka / Pabanglu mu / Ababau ku / Arap ning bale / Magdilidili ku

Other songs include a song appreciating the deeds of a mentor Mayap a Oras, a youth empowerment song Siwala, a second acoustic version of the homecoming song Pamanuli, a romantic and relaxing song on distant or forbidden love Ing Bulan, the fast-tempo friendly advice Abe, Pakakalale (correcting that irritating wrong-grammar signboard by Lakeshore: 'Abe, Pakakalale, Mahalaga Ing Biye'), a Father's Day song Talaturu, the poetic Akasya, and an emotional, acoustic version of Abe Mu Ku, which is my personal favorite. It was originally done by Mon David in his album of the same title.

Here is a teaser I made on video. Go keni and watch!

August 5, 2007

Institutionalized "Speak Tagalog anywhere in RP" behavior

Last night, a fellow Kapampangan fighter and I dropped by at the Sto. Rosario branch of Ministop of Angeles City. We were ordering midnight snacks and the person at the cashier was talking to us in Tagalog. We have made it a habit to speak in Kapampangan in our own homeland. Turned out, he speaks Kapampangan, too.

This "speak Tagalog" ideology that has brainwashed almost every Filipino has gotten institutionalized. It is oppressive if you look at it, but, as Neo-Marxist theory says, ideology (such as Tagalog nationalism) is meant to oppress people without them feeling they are being oppressed.

What's good though is that with little empowerment efforts, non-Tagalog speakers are becoming more aware of their own language. I just suddenly remembered this anecdote because I read this article:

Foreigners Who Respect Us More Than We Do

By Dr. Jose Palu-ay Dacudao

August 5, 2007: As I sat in Pizza Hut Gaisano Butuan, a female service crew member showed up to take my order. As usual I talked in Bisaya. Normally, most service crew in the fast foods I patronize would talk back in Bisaya. This one talked back in Bisayan-accented Tagalog. In order to stop her from further insulting her own native tongue, I immediately asked her to talk in Bisaya as we were both Bisaya. Instead she first evinced surprise. According to her, the other customers always talked in Tagalog.

After a few minutes, about five white foreigners sat on the table next to mine. To my amazement, they started ordering (from another service crew member) in Bisaya. Later I approached them, heartily thanked them for promoting the dignity of our culture and people, and asked about them.

I managed to talk to David Johansen (an Australian) and Richard Gappmayr (an Austrian). They were from the New Tribes Mission, on Christian missionary work in Mindanao . They had been in Butuan for only a year.

Wow! Tagalogs who have been in Butuan for 30 years often cannot not speak fluent Bisaya. In fact, some children raised by parents brainwashed in Tagalog Nationalism cannot speak Bisaya, even after having been raised up in Butuan. The problem is not learning Bisaya. The problem is Tagalog nationalism, an ideology that teaches us that all Filipinos should be Tagalog speaking.

Before I left Pizza Hut, I talked with the manager. I told him these foreigners eating at his restaurant had more respect for the Bisayan culture, people, and language than his own Bisdak crewmember. He profoundly apologized for the latter’s behavior.

Below is a reprint from a previous article.

December 14, 2006

Make Service Crews and Waiters Respect Our Language

Last week as I went to McDonald’s Butuan and ordered breakfast. The manager and the service crew were apparently new, as I did not recognize them. I ordered, speaking in Cebuano Visayan. The cashier kept on talking in Tagalog with a strong Visayan accent. In exasperation, told her to quit insulting me. I am talking in Binisaya, and you are replying in Tagalog. What are you trying to prove, that you are superior to me because you speak in Tagalog while I do not? I find your behavior extremely condescending.

My action, which was witnessed by the new manager, had immediate effects. I took a seat near the cashier. The next customers were greeted by a hearty “Maayong buntag” (Cebuano for Maayong aga). As I left, the service crew told me ‘Balik balik lang, pag ayo ayo.”

This is not the first time that this has happened. Apparently, many service crews of establishments owned by Manila-Based Corporations in non-Tagalog areas are instructed that they should speak to their customers in Tagalog.

The problem with this is that such behavior by service crews and waiters tend to change social standards with regards to the public use of a non-Tagalog language in its own traditional territory. Such behavior, if widespread enough, would tend to induce a change in the prevailing lingua franca, from the traditional languages of the region to Tagalog. Socially concerned linguists have warned time and time again that the first symptom of a dying language is a lowering of its social status, resulting in its disuse as public lingua franca in its traditional community. Once such a stage is reached, it is only a matter of time before the traditional language disappears. Only government policy requiring its usage in public institutions and schools could save it.

Last year, I had the occasion to speak to the manager of Pizza Hut Dumaguete, about a waiter who also was insisting that he speak in Tagalog. I had requested that he instruct his crew to talk in Binisaya to customers speaking in Binisaya as a matter of respect for the local culture. The manager was apparently inexperienced as he had the temerity to argue with me in public, that it was alright that his crew speak in Tagalog because everyone understood it anyway. I flatly told him I was his customer, his establishment was in Visayan territory, his customers were practically all Visayan, and he should listen to what his customers wish or they would never eat in his establishment again. I then wrote and gave him a letter that he and his crew were making me feel discriminated in my own territory.

I had practically the same experience with the manager of Greenwich Robinson’s Bacolod . The Ilonggo manager would talk in Ilonggo Visayan to his Ilonggo crew, then talk in Tagalog to his customers. The awful implication is that Ilonggo is good only for his lowly subalterns and not for his precious customers. This guy was behaving like an ethnic traitor in his own place, discriminating against hius own people. I was in a hurry then, and so I was not able to give him a formal letter of complaint.

What could you do as a paying customer in helping preserve our language and ethnic identity?

You should verbally complain (as I did), and if possible write and submit a letter of complaint.

This could be done quickly, at no expense and little hassle, and such actions would go a long way in uplifting the social status of our languages. In general, businesses adhere to the rule that ‘the customer is always right’. We are the customers, and we certainly have the right to have our own language used in business establishments in our own territory, if only we would stand up for it.