Alben meng manyaman, boy!

May 31, 2007

Kálam: Wield the Blessing

ANIMAX is holding the 2007 Animax Awards Pan-Asia Competition. People who wish to have their dream story animated are invited to join (the deadline is today, hehe). There is the regional level, the victor of which will proceed to the Finals.

And as I said, the winner's work will be turned into one anime episode! Anime/manga, I believe, is one industry that keeps Japan's sense of cultural identity alive. I wish each ethnic group in the Philippines would start their own, even just the comics (manga).

This is the anime story -- inspired by Kapampangan mythology and culture and my sociological imagination -- that I submitted. It was sort of rushed (done non-continuously within three weeks), but behold anyway.

Wield the Blessing

In the land of Kapangpangan (the Great Riverbank), the legendary brothers Lord Sinukuan and Lord Namalyari—the two mountain gods that represent the Sun and the Moon—have provided the natives Nature’s gifts and wisdom for them to thrive. As centuries went by, man has grown impatient with Nature’s ways and sought for life where he was in control.

Such motivation gave birth to urbanization, slowly transforming the vibrant lands around it into manmade cities where people depended heavily on money, causing people to turn greedy, destructive, and selfish. For life in the city seemed deceptively more convenient to most rural folks, they began abandoning their ethnicities and cultural heritage to try their luck living in Clarkfield, the capital city.

Bothered, the two legendary lords argued. The wizened Lord Sinukuan wanted the destruction of all the cities, for it was the only sure way to protect Nature and man from being devastated. Lord Namalyari, secretly jealous of his brother’s power over daylight, preferred to support man’s actions.

Finding themselves in disagreement, they went in separate ways and searched for people whom they could grant their power-enhancing kálam (gift) to deliver their respective causes.

Lord Sinukuan sent his daughters into the city to seek for innocently oppressed and dissatisfied people, who were formerly living in the rural parts of the land.

In the biggest shopping mall of the capital, they encounter Jester, the vain and comic caretaker of a toy store, who was often scolded by his employer. A messenger shares to him the mission and remind him of his past—that as a boy, his community was driven away from its original habitat at the foot of an inactive volcano due to new laws and were relocated into the southern plains where they were heavily taxed by the government for the construction of their new village.

Financially insufficient, Jester fled to Clarkfield in hopes of acquiring wealth to someday uproot his family from such condition. However, city life was harsher than how he expected it to be, making Jester trapped in working for a demanding yet low-paying employer.

Jester finally accepts the mission. He was granted Lord Sinukuan’s kálam, inscribing in Jester’s back the codename Timáua (written in ancient Philippine script baybayin), or “free man.” Bearing the mission of destroying urbanization’s oppressive atrocities and liberating the people from social injustice, he acquires the strength and traits of the volcano.

Now he must face not only the most powerful man in the city, but also those who received Lord Namalyari’s kálam.

May 29, 2007

Make Kapampangan comics/graphic novels!

Made this a few days back.

I wish to delve into independent publishing today. I also hope that Pampanga, which is -- believe me -- home to a lot of craftsmen and visual artists would give birth to an industry related to it.

I envy the independent comic industry of Japan. Every teenager seems to know how to draw and write, which is a great contribution in reflecting, preserving, and promoting an ethnic group's culture. In case one artist specializes in drawing/comic layouting and the other specializes in story development and writing, the two artists often collaborate to produce material.

In the Philippines, almost all independent publishers and young comic book artists I know hail from Manila (or at least, come from provinces but have fled to Manila), and not even they are already that blooming and appreciated in their chosen field.

Anyway, the picture I uploaded is my own [amateur] work. He is one of the characters I am designing for my dream comic book story, KÁLAM, which I am slowly developing alongside my visual art capabilities. It is an action-fantasy story set in a modified "Kapangpangan" land. Stuff are inspired by Kapampangan lore, mythology, and culture (Apung Sinukuan and Apung Namalyari are the highest characters).

Check out for info about it and my other digital works.

May 27, 2007

Copyreading a Kapampangan poem

While taking a look at past issues of Chevalier School's school paper, The Clarion, of all the poetry submissions, I only saw one in Kapampangan (all else were in Tagalog and English).

I don't think the one who submitted it was the composer, but I'll feature it here nonetheless.

By the way, poetry in Kapampangan is kawatasan.

Let me copyread it, too. The words highlighted are a bit erroneous. Let's take a look at each.

Ating should have been atin. Self-explanatory.

Emu should be two separate words: E (ali) mu.

The same applies with balamu: it should be bala mu.

Maiinis, from the word inis, is Tagalog. In Kapampangan, we use masosora, makukulami, or masisnuk.

Cabiro should be cabiru. Kapampangan words that end in "-u" used to end in "-o" (as recorded by Fray Bergano in the 17th century) and contemporary "-o" ending words on the other hand used to end in "-ao," like aldao (aldo), galao (galo), and ibabao (ibabo). So if you spell cabiru as cabiro today, it means it should have been formerly cabirao, a word which does not exist. So use cabiru.

I can't make a stand on this one. Should yaku be aku or y aku? My reason for the former is that Kapampangans frequently use the "y" sound to connect a word that ends with a vowel and a word that begins with a vowel, like anam a aldo, which is read anamayaldo. So it is possible that it is enough to write aku instead of yaku because of the natural presence of the "y" sound in such cases.

My reason for the latter is that the word y ["i" sound] is used in Kapampangan to refer to people: y Carol, y Jesus, y Lester, etc., like the equivalent of si in Tagalog. Since aku refers to a person, too (the speaker himself), it could be that yaku is a product of y aku, and thus, ila a product of y ila, ika a product of y ika. The difference is: the y and the first syllable of ika and ila both sound "i" that's why the y is not noticeable, as in yika or yila. But aku starts with a, which doesn't sound close to y making the "y" sound noticeable: yaku.

Queng, some say, should be quing because the difference between the two is that the former is used to refer to time like queng Lunis while quing is used for location and non-temporal objects like quing kilub, quing pusu cu, quing capamilatan na, etc.

Magba[ca]sacali is obviously Tagalog because it comes from the expression "baka sakali," baka being a Tagalog word (in Kapampangan, it's pota). I can't think of a Kapampangan equivalent for magbacasacali right now but I believe there is.

Minsan should have been misan.

Ceng is a misspelled version of queng. If one is using C-Q Orthography, he should take note that "c" (and "g" too) is used if the vowel that follows after it is either -a, -o, or -u, like cambing, comanggui, and cutang. Then, "qu" is used for -e and -i, like quilala and quebiawan.

Biro-biro should have been biru-biru, for the same reasons as that of cabiro.

May 23, 2007

Scottish teenager revives Gaelic

May this article inspire my fellow Kapampangan youth.

"I feel that Gaelic gives us an identity as a people" Jayne McCleod Teenager Jayne McCleod is bringing the ancient dialect of Scottish Gaelic back into the hearts of local young people, through a combination of radio broadcasts and traditional dance.

Jayne lives on the Isle of Lewis off the coast of Scotland. In her hometown of Ness, the green rolling hills, the trademark of the Scottish highlands, meet the undulating blue waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

The oldest language spoken in Scotland, Jayne is one of the few people who fully understand Gaelic. She speaks Gaelic at home with her family, especially her grandmother, but not with her friends.

Jayne explains that Gaelic suffers from an image problem amongst the younger generation: "Most young people think Gaelic is old-fashioned so they don't speak it. It's very sad".

Passionate about her language and her heritage, Jayne is working hard to bring Gaelic back into the community. Every Wednesday, as part of her work at the local radio station, Jayne reviews alternative rock and pop CD's in Gaelic.

She hopes that using the language to address subjects that matter to young people, the language will seems relevant and useful to them.

Jayne also believes that Highland dancing is a way of getting young people interested in Gaelic traditions and culture. "When I dance I feel part of where I'm from. It strengthens my bond with the language and culture. Dancing is something that everyone can connect to", says Jayne.

Many Highland dances are connected with ancient Scottish folk customs and history. The 'Old Trousers' for example, came from when the men went to war and were made to wear trousers instead of the traditional kilts.

The dance mimes a Scot shedding his trousers (during the slow, first part of the dance) and returning to his traditional kilts and tartan (during the final, up-tempo fling-like step).

Jayne has been learning dance from the age of 11 and now teaches it to others in the local community arts center. There are about 25 pupils in her weekly dancing class, ranging in age from three to 12 years old. She performs and teaches a variety of dances and, like 'Old Trousers', all of the dances have a story behind them.

Once widespread in both Scotland and Ireland, Gaelic is slowly disappearing and today most Scots speak English. Part of the Celtic language family, it first made its appearance in Scotland around the third century A.D. By the fifth century, coinciding with the end of the Roman occupation of Britain, Gaelic had become the majority language of Scotland.

The spread of Gaelic in Scotland was accelerated by waves of immigration from Ireland, just across the channel. It was for a long time the court language of the Scottish rulers and possesses one of the oldest bodies of literature in Europe.

However, Gaelic saw a decline in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its forced absence from schools and areas of public life meant that it increasingly became disassociated with progress and everyday life.

Jayne is part of wider renaissance of the Gaelic language that is currently taking place. Since the 1980s, there have been numerous steps taken by the British and Scottish governments to preserve and promote the Gaelic language and culture.

Although they are having some effect, as it stands only 1.4 percent of the Scottish population above the age of three can speak, write and understand Gaelic.

Jayne's commitment to Gaelic extends beyond her home and working life, she is also studying for a BA degree in Gaelic language and culture at a college on the Island.

She took the decision to stay and study in Lewis, when most people her age leave the island when they finish school, because she thought that staying would be more beneficial to her, being close to the histories of her family and the language she is studying.

"I haven't traveled much" she admits, "I would like to at some point. But I'm happy here for now".

May 20, 2007

Governor Ed Panlilio

Leading with barely a thousand votes against Kampi's Lilia Pineda, wife of an alleged Jueteng lord, priest-turned-politician Among Ed Panlilio is now the governor of Pampanga.

A promising future for the province is seen by people. In about ten years, as Dong Puno prophesied, our homeland may become Metro Pampanga, especially with the presence of the Clark Ecozone.

Anyway, watch a clip of people rejoicing Fr. Panlilio's victory!

Alben keni.

I would also like to commend Among Ed's undying use of the Kapampangan language in his campaigns -- a symbol of his love and pride of the Kapampangan's native tongue. Not like Lapid who has Kapampangan titles for his campaign materials but if you proceed to read them, you'll see another language. And it's not English.

May 7, 2007

Ancient Kapampangan writing system

Contrary to popular belief, we weren't savages when the Spaniards got here. The Kapampangan people then had a thriving civilization--and that includes a writing system. No, it's not Alibata (Arabic), contrary to popular belief. It's also not the Baybayin text found in the sablay of UP graduates, which is Tagalog.

Kapampangans then used what researchers call Kulitan or Baybayin Kapampangan. The writing style is closer to most Asian writings such as Brahmic and Chinese, including the vertical way of writing instead of horizontal.

A lot of us complain that it's very tedious writing in Filipino because words are so long. Well, that's because our natural way of spelling our own words is not in Roman alphabets. It's actually quicker to write native words using our native script. Writing "KAPAMPANGAN" for instance would require 11 characters from the Roman alphabet. In Kulitan, just seven. Seven Kulitan characters for MAKAPAGTAKA, 11 from Roman alphabet.

So how could I live without knowing how to write in Kulitan?!

In fact, I got myself a henna tattoo a while ago in a beach resort in Olongapo (we visited my father-side uncles and aunt) that reads "Kapampangan." Of course, the artist had no idea how to write the word, since all of his character templates are Chinese, Japanese, etc. I wrote the word myself and had him transfer it to my unevenly colored arm a la 'Flame of Recca'.

If you wish to learn it, I can gladly teach you. Just send me an email. In case you haven't noticed yet, the vertical writing in my blog's banner is how you write KAMARU using Kulitan. Cool, ne?

Susug: Check out my father-side pisan (cousin). He acts timid when you ask him to be photographed, but once you aim the camera, he acts Mr. Pogi faster than lightning. Sadly, he will grow up a Tagalog since his parents talk to him in Tagalog in spite of his being a Kapampangan.

Anyway, check out my Kamaru shirt. It actually reads "Mulala, oyni ing singsing mung mebating" (Stupid, here's the ring that you lost). My father-side relatives quickly knew that the statement was referring to the singsing lost in the folk song Atin Ku Pung Singsing. I wonder if the rest of the Kapampangans in that beach resort (there were a lot!) knew that, too.