Alben meng manyaman, boy!

December 30, 2007

Senator slams ‘ethnic slur’ in Juday movie

Allow me first to say that I am laughing with all what's happening, as I am one of the people, if not the original person, to report the racist scene in Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo to concerned citizens, as the general moviegoers, in my opinion, are least likely to see the politico-linguistic dynamics of that certain scene in the movie. Below is one of the articles now circulating the news media.

I would like you to see Jose Javier Reyes' rebuttal with the issue. Isn't it so... lame? It proves no point and evades the question. It's like asking a person "why did you ruin my dress" and he answers "I hope you take time to check out my bathroom."

It's not about being too sensitive. But we should start being politically correct, especially regarding ethnic relations, IF we want this quasi-nation called the Philippines to be a real, strong one. If not, then let's all bomb the local Imperialists.

Some Manilenyo producers are just insensitive. Those not affected by the issue are selfish brutes who enjoy hitting on their fellow non-Tagalog Pinoys. They don't see the effects of such portrayals, especially to non-Tagalog children who are still on their years of self-identity formation. And it makes me hate Manilenyos in general more.

Senator slams ‘ethnic slur’ in Juday movie
Gil C. Cabacungan, Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines -- It is supposed to be a joke but the Visayans are not laughing.

A Mindanao senator denounced on Thursday a scene in the Judy Ann Santos starrer "Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo" that suggested Filipinos who spoke the Visayan dialect were second-class citizens to the Tagalog.

The movie, written and directed by Jose Javier Reyes and produced by Star Cinema, is one of the top grossing movies in the ongoing 33rd Metro Manila Film Festival.

Senator Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr. said the scene "smacks of an ethnic slur" and "offends the sensibilities of the Visayans and other non-Tagalog speaking citizens."

In the movie, a character played by Gloria Diaz, scolds the nanny of her four-year-old grandchild by saying: "Bakit pinapalaki ninyong Bisaya ang apo ko? (Why are you bringing up my grandchild as a Bisaya?)."

The child’s mother, played by Santos, butts in and tells the nanny: “Speak to the kid in Tagalog. Para Pinoy. (So he grows up Filipino)."

Pimentel said the conversation was "insensitive'' and "arrogant" and called on the Lopez-owned Star Cinema, to apologize and delete the scene from the movie.

Reyes, the director of "Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo," said he was thankful Pimentel went "out of his way to watch ‘SSS’ and for being supportive of the movie industry."

"I wish he would also watch the movies of Senators (Ramon) Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, his peers in the Senate," Reyes, who also wrote the movie script, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Thursday, "After that, magpahinga na siya (he should rest). With the country's many problems, I'm sure he'd be really busy after the holidays."

Pimentel, who was acting on numerous complaints from viewers offended by the slur, said: "The film is conveying a wrong message to Filipinos by denigrating the use of the Visayan language, which is most widely spoken in the Visayas and large parts of Mindanao. It offends the sensibilities of the Visayans and other non-Tagalog speaking citizens by making them feel they are less Filipino than the Tagalogs. It creates useless hatred in the nation."

He added: "The Tagalog [always] joke about how the Bisaya speak Filipino and English with a funny accent. That's fine, we can live with that but to come out in the open and say that the only real Pinoys are those who speak Tagalog is wrong."

Pimentel said Filipinos, both Tagalog and Bisaya, should be outraged at the film's ethnic slur. "It should elicit the same, if not a louder howl of protest [than the one brought against] American television series ‘Desperate Housewives’ wherein one of the characters made remarks maligning Filipino health professionals."

In the said episode, aired in the United States on Sept. 30, character Susan Mayer, played by actress Teri Hatcher, told her doctor: “OK, before we go any further, can I check those diplomas? Because I would just like to make sure they are not from some med school in the Philippines.”

Malacañang said the remarks were tantamount to a racial slur and asked the show’s producers to apologize to Filipino medical professionals for putting them down.

Pimentel also slammed the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) for failing to spot the derogatory remark while reviewing the film. With a report from Marinel Cruz

December 28, 2007

Visayans always portrayed as maids in Manila films

Gotten sick of Manila films always portraying Visayans as stupid household helpers, I started to distribute a text message regarding another racist scene in the MMFF 2007 entry Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo and my message has gotten flame, especially from the Visayans.

Sure, some would say it's no big deal. I say it's because they don't see the bigger picture of it all. It's not just about the film. It's something more, and to explain it in one sentence is almost impossible. One has to be schooled radically about the dynamics of dominant and regional cultures. It manifests even in film.

One can either pursue studies in this area to politicize his view, or turn away and reject what we are fighting for. Most likely, the members of the dominant culture will be the ones who will reject our ideology (because, duh, they will be brought down from their pedestal), along with the "indoctrinated" ones, even if belonging to the non-dominant cultures / ethnolinguistic groups.

Below is a newspaper article regarding the issue written by the founder of Save Our Languages Through Federalism (SOLFED).

Protest Against A Racist Film

By Jose Palu-Ay Dacudao

There is a war that is going on for the souls of our culture. What we do in this war will determine whether our diverse peoples would be alive and well a hundred years from now, or as dead as the dodo.

The latest round in the language war involves a racist film that openly insults Visayans. Below is a letter to Senator Pimentel a Sugbuanon-speaking Visayan from Mindanao.

To the Honorable Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.
Senate of the Philippines

This is a protest letter against the film, ‘Sakal Sakali Saklolo’, written and directed by Jose Javier Reyes, which opened on 25 December 2007 in movie houses all over the Philippines, and also serves as a petition for further action to stop discrimination against non-Tagalogs in the future.

Herein below is an excerpt from the said film that goes like this:

Yaya to grandchild: “Ayaw ug dagan, basin madam-ag ka.”

Grandchild: “Kadyut lang, nagduwa pa ko.”

(Grandfather with bulging eyes grimaces incredulously at the Visayan words of his grandson.)

Yaya: “Anhi dinhi.”

Grandmother (with a pained expression) to Grandfather: “Carlo, did you hear that?”

Mother: Ay naku Ma. Nakuha ho niya ‘yon sa yaya niya. Sinabihan na namin si Susan na huwag niyang Binibisaya si Rafa. Dapat Tagalog.”

Grandmother: “But the boy should be talking in English.”

Mother: “Hayaan niyo na sa eskwelahan matutunan ‘yon Ma. Dapat Tagalog kasi Pinoy ang anak namin eh.”

The above excerpt is defamatory, discriminatory, racist and an open insult not only to all Visayans but all non-Tagalogs as well. It conveys the message that if a person is not Tagalog or Tagalog-speaking, then he or she is not Filipino. To ask a rhetorical question, are non-Tagalogs aliens in their own country?

The Philippines is a member of the United Nations and thus its Government institutions including the Philippine Congress has an obligation to implement and follow the UN’s declarations. (See Appendix A) Moreover, the UN General Assembly has voted to declare 2008 to be the international year of languages. (See Appendix B.) The film directly contravenes UN declarations.

You, speaking for Visayans who have complained, have rightfully denounced this film in public (Appendix C). In line with this correct action we petition you to call for a Congressional hearing regarding this issue of discrimination and hatred against non-Tagalogs, and possibly sponsoring an anti-hate and anti-discrimination bill to protect the non-Tagalog peoples of the Philippines from the hatred and discrimination of Tagalistas in the future.

This is another protest letter addressed to government bodies that could possibly do something about racist films in their assigned functions.

Ma. Consoliza P. Laguardia
Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB)
6th Floor President Tower
#81 Timog Avenue Cornewr Sct. Ybardaloza, Quezon City
Phone: 925-5006, 925-5007


Purificacion C. Valera Quisumbing
Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
Phone: 928-5655, 926-6188, 929-0102
Email: drpvq@...

With copy provided to the
Honorable Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.

This is a protest letter against the film, ‘Sakal Sakali Saklolo’, written and directed by Jose Javier Reyes, which opened on 25 December 2007 in movie houses all over the Philippines, and a petition to have it banned.

Hereinbelow are some important facts.

1. There is an excerpt from the said film that goes like this:

Yaya to grandchild: “Ayaw ug dagan, basin madam-ag ka.”

Grandchild: “Kadyut lang, nagduwa pa ko.”

(Grandfather with bulging eyes grimaces incredulously at the Visayan words of his grandson.)

Yaya: “Anhi dinhi.”

Grandmother (with a pained expression) to Grandfather: “Carlo, did you hear that?”

Mother: Ay naku Ma. Nakuha ho niya ‘yon sa yaya niya. Sinabihan na namin si Susan na huwag niyang Binibisaya si Rafa. Dapat Tagalog.

Grandmother: “But the boy should be talking in English.”

Mother: “Hayaan niyo na sa eskwelahan matutunan ‘yon Ma. Dapat Tagalog kasi Pinoy ang anak namin eh.”

2. The above excerpt is defamatory, discriminatory, racist, and an open insult not only to all Visayans but all non-Tagalogs as well. It conveys the message that if a person is not Tagalog or Tagalog-speaking, then he or she is not Filipino. To ask a rhetorical question, are non-Tagalogs aliens in their own country?

3. The Philippines is a member of the United Nations and thus its Government institutions including the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) have an obligation to implement and follow the UN’s declarations. (See Appendix A) Moreover, the UN has voted to declare 2008 to be the international year of languages. The film directly contravenes UN declarations.

4. Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., speaking for Visayans who have complained to him, has rightfully denounced this film in public (Annex B). In line with this correct action by the Senator, have petitioned the honorable Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. to call for a Congressional hearing regarding this issue of discrimination and hatred against non-Tagalogs, and possibly sponsoring an anti-hate and anti-discrimination bill to protect the non-Tagalog peoples of the Philippines from the hatred and discrimination of Tagalistas.

We therefore protest this film and petition that it be banned from the movies and TV.

December 25, 2007

Telabastagan wins Ligligan Parul 2007

Masayang Pasku at Masaplalang Bayung Banua kekatamu ngan!

This is the winning giant lantern in the recently concluded Ligligan Parul 2007 held at the City of San Fernando. The entry was by a new, young artist representing Telabastagan. Let us hope that more young people would know the technology behind the creation of giant lanterns, so more of them could participate in such events of tradition.

Once again, Happy Holidays!

December 24, 2007

2008: International Year of Languages

Message from Mr Koïchiro Matsuura,
Director-General of UNESCO,
on the celebration of
“2008, International Year of Languages” “Languages matter!”

The year 2008 has been proclaimed International Year of Languages by the United Nations General Assembly. UNESCO, which has been entrusted with the task of coordinating activities for the Year, is determined to fulfil its role as lead agency.

The Organization is fully aware of the crucial importance of languages when seen against the many challenges that humanity will have to face over the next few decades.

Kews Mallari, vocalist of Asthma band @ SM Clark RocKapampangan concert

Languages are indeed essential to the identity of groups and individuals and to their peaceful coexistence. They constitute a strategic factor of progress towards sustainable development and a harmonious relationship between the global and the local context.

They are of utmost importance in achieving the six goals of education for all (EFA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on which the United Nations agreed in 2000.

As factors of social integration, languages effectively play a strategic role in the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger (MDG 1); as supports for literacy, learning and life skills, they are essential to achieving universal primary education (MDG 2); the combat against HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases (MDG 6) must be waged in the languages of the populations concerned if they are to be reached; and the safeguarding of local and indigenous knowledge and know-how with a view to ensuring environmental sustainability (MDG 7) is intrinsically linked to local and indigenous languages.

Moreover, cultural diversity is closely linked to linguistic diversity, as indicated in the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity and its action plan (2001), the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005).

However, within the space of a few generations, more than 50% of the 7,000 languages spoken in the world may disappear. Less than a quarter of those languages are currently used in schools and in cyberspace, and most are used only sporadically. Thousands of languages – though mastered by those populations for whom it is the daily means of expression – are absent from education systems, the media, publishing and the public domain in general.

We must act now as a matter of urgency.

How? By encouraging and developing language policies that enable each linguistic community to use its first language, or mother tongue, as widely and as often as possible, including in education, while also mastering a national or regional language and an international language.

Also by encouraging speakers of a dominant language to master another national or regional language and one or two international languages. Only if multilingualism is fully accepted can all languages find their place in our globalized world.

UNESCO therefore invites governments, United Nations organizations, civil society organizations, educational institutions, professional associations and all other stakeholders to increase their own activities to foster respect for, and the promotion and protection of all languages, particularly endangered languages, in all individual and collective contexts.

Kews Mallari, vocalist of Asthma band @ SM Clark RocKapampangan concert

Whether it be through initiatives in the fields of education, cyberspace or the literate environment; be it through projects to safeguard endangered languages or to promote languages as a tool for social integration; or to explore the relationship between languages and the economy, languages and indigenous knowledge or languages and creation, it is important that the idea that “languages matter!” be promoted everywhere.

The date of 21 February 2008, that of the ninth International Mother Language Day, will have a special significance and provide a particularly appropriate deadline for the introduction of initiatives to promote languages.

Our common goal is to ensure that the importance of linguistic diversity and multilingualism in educational, administrative and legal systems, cultural expressions and the media, cyberspace and trade, is recognized at the national, regional and international levels.

The International Year of Languages 2008 will provide a unique opportunity to make decisive progress towards achieving these goals.

Koïchiro Matsuura

December 20, 2007

Kakatak - acoustic Kapampangan song

A friend of mine wrote a poem and transformed it into a song. Then he contacted his singing cousin, and then I shot it on video. And now you're watching/reading it!

Kakatak (Whining)
Composed by Diego Dobles
(Additional lyrics by Jason Paul Laxamana)
Sung by Mika Dobles

December 18, 2007

The Tagalog Monopoly of NCCA

For Printing in the Western Visayas Informer Newspaper column LANGUAGE TRADITIONS & FEDERALISM and Negros Daily Bulletin Newspaper column SAVE OUR LANGUAGES THROUGH FEDERALISM

By Dr. Jose Palu-ay Dacudao

December 17, 2007

Short Story of a Scandal in the National Commission on Culture and the Arts
(Based on Ongoing Actual Events)

NOTE: The letters in this short story are actual letters that have been submitted to the real National Commission on Culture and the Arts

November 2007 Butuan City , Agusan del Norte, Mindanao Island , Philippines:

Last November 2007, a SOLFED member in MetroManila proposed that I apply for SOLFED and myself to the NCCA National Committee on Language and Translation. That caught me by surprise.

“Huh what’s this? Doesn’t the Commission focus only on the Tagalog (honey-coated as ‘Filipino’) language?”

“No, it’'s now open to non-Tagalog writers. Better submit your applications quick.”

Next day on 17 November, after finishing rounds of my patients and seeing referrals, I emailed hurriedly made applications to the NCCA official email address, both for SOLFED as an organization and for myself. For the blanks on achievements, I placed in the Butuanon syllabus/ grammar book and our recently finished translation of the Department of Education’s Basic Learning Literacy Materials into Binutuanon.

In truth, I really did not think that the applications that I submitted had an iota of a chance at being accepted in a Manila-based institution teeming with Tagalistas, oh all so willing to ground non-Tagalogs to dust and extinction, but there was no harm in submitting. So submit I did.

13 December 2007

An NCCA member friendly with SOLFED called me up.

“Hello Doc Joey. Have you heard anything new with your applications?”

“No,” was my flat reply.

“Hmm, I heard that they were rejected outright.”

“Why does that not surprise me?”

His next words did surprise me. “Let’s fight it out. Why don’t you re-submit another set of applications both for yourself and SOLFED? If they don’t even bother to communicate with you, better file a formal protest. I suggest that you obtain the endorsements of two NGOs active in preserving non-Tagalog languages.”

I better get this done quick, I thought. First I contacted Jorge, the force behind Butuan Global Forum Foundation Inc. BGF and SOLFED have been cooperating in the organizing of Butuanon language camps in Baranggay Babag, the last Butuanon-speaking area of Butuan, that teach Binutuanon to young people in Butuan, mostly students on vacation. Since he was out of town, he called up Owen, the Executive Director of BGF, who was in Butuan. In short order, I made an appointment with Owen

Next, I contacted Dr Rene, President of Ivory Charities Foundation Inc, which together with the Butuan Charities of Southern California, had started the ‘Alfonso R. Alaan Moral Intervention for the Youth’ project, formerly called the ‘I Love Butuan’ project, which among other things, teach Binutuanon to students in the Butuan Central Elementary School . This program uses the Butuanon syllabus that SOLFED and I made. Dr. Rene invited me to speak before the Ivory Charities Board meeting scheduled next day.

Noon of 14 December, Montilla Boulevard , Butuan City :

Both Owen and I arrived nearly at the same time in our meeting place in front of Equitable Bank.

The genial Owen greeted me. “What can I do to help?” I had previously primed him of SOLFED’s situation in the NCCA.

I went straight to the point. “As I have said, we need the endorsements of two NGOs who are active in promoting non-Tagalog Philippine languages.”

Owen also went straight to the point. “OK, where is the letter of endorsement? “

Owen accompanied me to my apartment. Several SOLFED choir members were practicing Butuanon carols there, including Cathy, the contact person of Owen and BGF in Babag for the language camps. Cathy served him ice cream from my freezer. I printed out the letter. My computer’s sound system played Butuanon songs that the SOLFED choir had previously recorded. The other choir members politely conversed with Owen, who signed the endorsement letter when it came out of the printer.

Evening of 14 December, Doongan Road Butuan City :

I attended the Ivory Charities Board meeting. The Board members were conducting the meeting in Binutuanon, one of the dying languages of the world. The wonder of it, to hear a dying tongue come alive during a meeting of one of the most active NGOs in Butuan! Dr. Rene graciously let me say my piece at the outset of the meeting.

“First on the agenda is what Doc Joey has to say,” Dr. Rene announced.

“Madyaw nga duum” I commenced, good evening, and explained the situation, also in Binutuanon. The Board was happy that someone was fighting for the preservation of their precious and irreplaceable but alas dying language, the language that had given the Butuanon people their identity for more than a thousand years, in a Government body at the national level. Without much ado, they unanimously agreed to endorse SOLFED. I produced a pre-printed endorsement letter, which Dr. Rene signed.

Afternoon of 15 December 2007:

I meticulously filled up the NCCA application forms, attached the two letters of endorsements, and emailed them to the NCCA.

Night of the 15th and morning of the 16th, a flurry of texts and calls:

It had become obvious to everyone in the business of language preservation in the past week that the language killers, Tagalistas affiliated to WIKA NGO, had rigged the National Commission on Culture and the Arts -National Committee on Language and Translation December 10 election of officers. If successful, and they ‘won’ the rigged elections in a farcically convincing manner, they would sit in and control the Committee until 2010. Efforts to preserve the non-Tagalog languages of the Philippines at the highest government levels would suffer a severe setback.

A friend from the NCCA called me.

“Doc Joey. We have no choice. We have to protest.”

Sometimes we just get caught in an evil morass from which only one true path leads out. Often such path unfortunately looks like mud. Hypocrites and fools might take the easy way out, but those who are touched by fate know that they really have no choice.

The Komisyon Sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) had already filed a protest written by its Chairman Dr. Ricardo Nolasco.

Is it a choice between protesting and not protesting? No choice really. I started turning the wheels that would lead to the following letters:

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -------

Letter 1:

Usec Vilma Labrador
National Commission for Culture and the Arts
Intramuros Manila
December 16, 2007


A SOLFED member in Metro Manila has informed us that the applications to the NCCA Committee for Language and Translation of SOLFED and I were rejected. No reasons have been sent to us, as for instance what specific rules or criteria were violated by us, so we must assume that we did not satisfy the of the Committee form their point of view.

We informed Dr. Nolasco of the KWF as he was one of the people who recommended our application, as can be seen in our application forms. We learned that he too was dissatisfied with the electoral proceedings, and that KWF has lodged an official protest to NCCA. (Appendix A)

SOLFED and I support the KWF protest, and we would also like to file our own protest.

Save Our Languages Through Federalism Foundation, Inc. (SOLFED) is protesting the elections of the NCCA Committee for Language and Translation; and would recommend that it be cleared invalid and a fair election be held sometime in January or February 2008, based on the following grounds:

1. SOLFED and I were not informed of the rules and criteria for membership in the above Committee. For instance, we did not know at first that the NCCA Board has opened membership in the above Committee to non- Tagalog translators and writers for the purpose of developing non-Tagalog Philippine languages in a pluralistic setting, as is clear from the KWF protest letter. As such we did not have sufficient time to adequately prepare our applications.

2. There is gross misrepresentation of the ethno-linguistic peoples of the Philippines in the above committee as is clear from the KWF protest letter that lists the interlocking directorates of Tagalog writers that control the above committee. In particular, the non- Tagalog Peoples of the Philippines have been left without a valid voice.

This gross misrepresentation of our peoples could be regarded as an outright violation of the United Nations declarations on Human Rights, in particular linguistic rights, to which the Philippine Government is signatory to. In brief, the Philippine Government has an obligation to adequately represent all its ethno-linguistic peoples in its governmental bodies such as the NCCA. What is happening in the NCCA Committee for Language and Translation could be regarded as such a violation. Appended to this letter are the said UN declarations. (Appendix B-1, B-2, B-3)


Jose Palu-ay Dacudao(sgd)
SOLFED President,
In behalf of SOLFED and myself as an individual

Appendix A of Letter 1:

Tanggapan ng Pangulo

G/F Watson Bldg., 1610 J.P. Laurel Street San Miguel, Manila P.O Box 2282 Manila

13 December 2008

Usec Vilma Labrador
Acting Chairperson
National Commission on Culture and the Arts
Intramuros Manila

Dear Usec. Labrador :

This refers to the undersigned’s letter dated 10 December 2007 expressing his protest over the election of officers of the National Committee on Language and Translation Executive Council (NCLT-ExeCon 2007 - 2010 held on even date. (Please see Annex “A”.)

It may be important to note at the outset that through a letter dated 06 December 2007, the undersigned, for and in behalf of the Komisyon sa Wikang Filpino (KWF), moved that National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) defer the said election (Annex “B”). Hereinbelow are the grounds:

(a) Failure to communicate with the stakeholders the rules on application for membership to the NCLT; and

(b) Gross under representation of the sector and mass disenfranchisement.

Failure to Communicate the Rules on NCLT Membership

In a letter dated 07 December 2007, Dr. Galileo S. Zafra, NCLT Secretary, rebutted the claims of the undersigned (Annex “C”). Concerning the first allegation, he asseverated that the rules on the application for membership to the NCLT were published in three (3) newspapers (i.e., Manila Standard, Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Manila Bulletin). The same were also reportedly posted at the at NCCA website, and announced during the television and radio programs (i.e., Sining Gising at Channel 4 and DZRH)

Contrary to the claims of Dr. Zafra, however, the specific rules on application for membership to the NCLT (i.e. well known in language teaching, not limited to the Filipino language) were never published (Annex “D”). What the NCCA published in the newspapers are the 2007 Amended Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 7356.

Thus, while the NCAA Board has widened the criteria for membership in the NCLT to include thereto those in the language teaching and translation professions (not only involving the national language), the same has been rendered meaningless because such information did not reach and was not widely communicated to the stakeholders. Consequently, the KWF received many complaints from institutions, organizations and individuals saying that they were not able to apply for membership with the NCLT because of lack of knowledge and information, thereby requesting the postponement of the election of officers for the NCLT ExeCon 2007 – 2010 (Annexes “E” to “M”).

Gross Under-representation Inequitable Distribution and Disenfranchisement

The ineffectual promulgation of the rules on application for NCLT membership resulted in gross under representation, inequitable distribution and disenfranchisement of stakeholders in Philippine languages and translation.

Per records, only 37 applicants applied for the NCLT membership, with only 27 were found to be qualified as election participants for the Executive Council (ExeCon ) 2007-2010 (Annex “N”). Of this number, 20 are representatives of the Tagalog/Filipino language. Moreover, the so called eligible voters form no more than six (6) interlocking directorates/ affiliates in a common entity or association (Annexes “O”,”O-1”TO”O-10”. These six interlocking entities consist of UP, SANGFIL, FIT, the WIKA network, PSLF and SALIN.

To illustrate, Dr. Zafra , a Tagalog, is a faculty member of the University of the Philippines Departamento ng Filipino, permanent secretary general of SANGFIL, (Sanggunian sa Filipino), Katipong Tagapagpaganap of FIT (Filipinas Institute of Translation) , and signatory to the WIKA (Wika ng Kultura at Agham) petition. He cannot hide his affiliations by simply saying that he registered as an individual applicant, (Look at Annex “O” for more cases.)

No representative from the indigenous peoples of Mindanao and the Muslimized groups involved in language work and translation was able to vote and be voted upon in the elections. As expected, the six (6) interlocking entities led by Virgilio Armalio “won” in the uncontested election.

As submitted by the different stakeholders in the Philippine languages and translation petitioning for postponement, the election of officers for the NCLT ExeCon 2007 - 2010 held on 10 December 2007 runs counter to the very principles to which the NCCA policies and programs are ought to be governed, i.e., “pluralistic” (by fostering deep respect for the cultural identity of each locality, region or ethno linguistic locality, as well as elements assimilated from other cultures through the natural process of acculturations), ”democratic” (by encouraging and supporting the participation of the vast masses of the Filipino people in each programs and projects), and “non-partisan” (by being open to all people and institutions, regardless of creed, affiliation, ideology, ethnic origin, age, gender, or class, with no organized group or sector having monopoly of its services).

In view of the foregoing, the undersigned respectfully moves that the NCCA Board of Commissioners: (a) declare a failure and / or nullification of election for the officers of the NCLT - Execon 2007 - 2010; (b) formulate rules which will ensure the democratic participation of the different stakeholders in order to prevent a repeat of the December 10 farcical election, and (c) authorize the conduct of a new one after proactively inviting stakeholders in the different regions and ethnolinguistic groups and effectively disseminating the rules on application for NCLT membership to allow all the interested parties to submit their respective applications therefor.

It is further prayed that the election for the representative of the Subcommission on Cultural Dissemination to the NCCA Board scheduled on 14 December 2007 be held in abeyance until after the resolution of the controversy at hand.

Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Acting Chairperson

Copy furnished: Executive Director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez

10 December 2007

National Committee for Culture and the Arts


I am putting this election under protest for the same reasons contained in my letter to USEC Labrador, dated December 6, 2007. I requested that this letter be made part of the minutes of the proceedings of the illegal and fake election.

Truly yours,

Chair, Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino


  1. Virgilio Almario, Tagalog, Dean of the UP College of Arts and Letters, faculty member of the UP Departamento ng Filipino, founding member of SANGFIL, katipong tagapayo of the Filipinas Institute of Translation (FIT), signatory to the WIKA petition;
  2. Galileo Zafra, Tagalog, faculty member of the UP Departamento ng Filipino, permanent secretary general of SANGFIL, Katipong Tagpagpaganap of FIT, signatory to the WIKA petition;
  3. Pamela Constantino, Tagalog, current UP Registrar, faculty member of the UP Departamento ng Filipino, SANGFIL president (1999-2003), katipon of FIT,
  4. Vina Paz, Tagalog, chair of the UP Departamento ng Filipino, SANGFIL treasurer, signatory to the WIKA petition;
  5. Rosario Torres Yu, Tagalog, faculty member of the UP Departamento ng Filipino, signatory to WIKA petition;
  6. Jovy Peregrino, Tagalog, faculty member of the UP Departamento ng Filipino, katipon of FIT, SANGFIL member, signatory to the WIKA petition;
  7. Romulo Baquiran, Tagalog, faculty of the UP Departamento ng Filipino, president of FIT, signatory to the WIKA petition;
  8. Jimmuel Naval, Tagalog, faculty member of the UP Departamento ng Filipino;
  9. Severino Capitan, Tagalog, faculty member of the UP Los Banos which is a SANGFIL affiliate;
  10. Trinidad Regala, Tagalog but teaches Spanish, faculty member of the UP College of Arts and Letters;
  11. Lourdes Barcenas, di- Tagalog, faculty member of UP Visayas, UP faculty regent;
  12. Purificacion Delima, di- Tagalog, katipon of FIT, faculty member of UP Baguio which is a SANGFIL affiliate;
  13. Corazon Santos, Tagalog, SANGFIL president;
  14. Michael Coroza, Tagalog, katipong Tagapagpaganap of FIT, faculty member of the Department of Filipino (Ateneo) which is a SANGFIL affiliate, signatory to the WIKA petition;
  15. Aurora Batnag, Tagalog, katipon of FIT, SALIN president, PSLF vice-president, signatory to the WIKA petition;
  16. Teresita Fortunato, Tagalog, PSLF president, faculty member of DSLU ( Manila ) which is a SANGFIL affiliate;
  17. Rolando Bernales, Tagalog, Press Relations Officer ng PSLF.
  18. Leuterio Nicholas, Tagalog, Board member ng FIT;
  19. John Barrios, di-Tagalog pero nagtuturo ng Filipino, katipon ng FIT, faculty member ng UP High School sa Iloilo ;
  20. Imelda de Castro, Tagalog, SANGFIL board of directors;
  21. Perla Carpio, Tagalog, SANGFIL board of directors;
  22. Abdon Balde Jr., di- Tagalog, signatory to the WIKA petition;
  23. Isabel Martin, Linguistic Society of the Philippines president;
  24. Erlinda San Juan, Tagalog, representative of the Pangrehiyong Sentro sa Wikang Filipino based in the Palawan State University ;
  25. Narrisa Gangoso, Tagalog, representative of the Pangrehiyong Sentro sa Wikang Filipino based in West Visayas State University ;
  26. Ma. Luz Andal, di-Tagalog, representative of the Pangrehiyong Sentro sa Wikang Filipino based in Cotabato Polytechnic College ;
  27. Lededica Leyson, di- Tagalog, representative of the Pangrehiyong Sentro sa Wikang Filipino based in Cebu Normal University (CNU);

(NOTE: Letter 1 Appendix B1, B2, and B3 will be appended to this as attachments since they are quite long.)

Letter 2

17 December 2007

Usec Vilma Labrador
Acting Chairperson
National Commission on Culture and the Arts
Intramuros Manila


This is a follow up to the letter sent by SOLFED and I to the NCCA on 16 December 2007 protesting the NCCA-NCLT 10 December 2007 elections.

Below are some important points:

1. Virgilio Almario is listed as representing WIKA organization. (Appendix A)

2. There is an NCCA-NCLT rule that says that such an organization must exist for at least 1 and 1/2 years, to quote:

“The institution/ organization should be in existence for at least

1 1/2 years.” (Appendix B)

3. WIKA was registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission on 3 January 2007, less than 1 and 1/2 years ago. (Appendix C)

Therefore, by their own rules, NCCA-NCLT should disqualify Virgilio Almario and WIKA.

We must state that we are dismayed by the double standards that the NCCA-NCLT is exhibiting in choosing who or who not to qualify as members.

Again we reiterate our protest that the December 10 elections be declared invalid and a fair one be held sometime in January or February 2008.


Jose Palu-ay Dacudao (Sgd)
SOLFED President
In behalf of SOLFED and myself as an individual

(Note: Letter 2 Appendices A, B, and C are appended to this in attachments. )

Night of 17 December 2007:

How will this story end? I don’t know. Some might say it would depend on what purpose and serendipity blows our way. Which reminds me to remind the reader that my purpose is really for you to see the purpose of this story. And the purpose of this story? That’s for you to answer. And if you see it, I hope you act on it!

(For comments please email to docjedpensar@ ph or text to 09274489818. )

December 16, 2007

RocKapampangan Christmas Concert

The cult hit 'O, Jo, Kaluguran Da Ka'

What kind of Kapampangan wouldn't know this cult hit by this local stand-up comedian named Ara Muna with his partner Jumari?

O, Jo, Kaluguran Da Ka reminds me of one of the common practices of polosadors which drive their Kapampangan songs instant hits: adapting the melody of a popular Western song (Sometimes When We Touch in this case) and turning it into Kapampangan.

Ara Muna's song however is in Tagalog-Kapampangan, but at least, he brought Kapampangan back to the masses on its verge of loss in the busy urban streets. May Ara Muna contribute to the saving of the Kapampangan language by making more novelty songs in Kapampangan!

Alright, so you haven't heard the song yet. Search the net. It's everywhere, even in the pirated CD-infested streets of Angeles.

Tinatanong kung mahal kita
At bakit nagkahiwalay
Sa puso ko’y di natanggap
Pagkat mahal kita
Ako’y nananalangin
Na makapiling ka
Ang ibig kong sabihin
Lahat ay gagawin ko

O, Jo, kaluguran da ka,
Kaluguran sobra sobra
Kasara da ring mata
Pantunan da ka
Lawen da ka angga king mate ku
Uling ika ing lulugud kaku
Lawen da ka, o, Jo
Anggang atin ka pang tau

Kapag naaalala
Ang kahapong kaysaya
Unti unting bumabalik
Ang tamis ng pagsinta
Ako’y nananalangin
Na makapiling ka
Ang ibig kong sabihin
Lahat ay gagawin

Ninais ko lang isuko ang ‘yong pagmamahal
Ako’y lalaki lamang, marunong magmahal

December 14, 2007

Kayanakan, learn how to write in Kapampangan

Diego Dobles, current bassist of the Asthma band (Angeles City), has started practicing writing literary works using the Amanung Sisuan! Being a musician, he also is beginning to make new Kapampangan songs.

Hopefully, more young writers from the Kapampangan region would take the initial steps in making new literature that would mirror the current society. It will be hard in the beginning, yes, because there are not a lot of books that would aid you, but you may start by observing your own language, reading Kapampangan texts (search the Internet, you'll find a lot), and getting acquainted with people who know the Kapampangan language more than you do.

To visit Diego's blog, go to (Melyari / Apaninap). To visit mine, go to (Kulang King Yumu).

Also, watch this performance of Atin Ku Pung Singsing, the additional lyrics of which in the end were written by Diego himself.

December 8, 2007

Day of the Kapampangans

By Robby Tantingco

This week, I urge all Kapampangans in the world—all one million of us—to celebrate Aldo ning Kapampangan (Pampanga Day) by making just one solemn commitment: to be proud of our history and to trust our destiny.

For indeed, we Kapampangans probably got more blessings than other people in this country did, and probably more blessings than we deserve. Our luck should give us enough confidence that we are destined not only to survive but also to prevail.

Ilocanos, for example, got a craggy strip for a homeland, and Visayans got scattered islands and Tagalogs a disorganized territory, but in the case of Kapampangans, God put us all together in one spot and in the best possible location—the central plain of the largest island, protected by mountain ranges on both sides and irrigated by a network of rivers and streams that empty into a bay. From the riches that the land easily yielded, we learned to be more traders than farmers, and developed a cuisine that's unlike any other.

God also gifted us with a beautiful language which the colonizers reconfigured by imposing on it an alien orthography. Instead of withering, our language thrived and even bloomed, producing a sublime literature whose volume and variety invite comparison with that of Elizabethan England.

Surrounded by a sea of different ethno-linguistic tribes, which made us insular in our world-view, we became patriotic and fiercely protective of our independence and way of life, so that when the Spaniards came in 1571, we were the only ones on this island who fought them. The first Filipino to give up his life to preserve his people's freedom—the first stirrings of nationalism—was a Kapampangan.

Our belligerent ancestors were eventually pacified, but in the end, they still outsmarted the enemy—because they proved that Kapampangans could defeat them even in their own turf. When they allowed us to train in their royal army, for example, we became so good that they totally depended on us in their expeditions and military campaigns; they even entrusted the capital city's entire royal army under the care of a Kapampangan (Francisco Laksamana in 1662).

When the Spaniards allowed us to study in their exclusive schools, we turned out to be brighter than they were and soon, the slaves they had thought were only good for cutting timber for their shipyards were graduating as doctors of laws and doctors of sacred theology. The country's first priests, first nuns, first missionaries, first president of the archdiocesan seminary, first woman authors and founders of orphanages and religious congregations— yes, they were all Kapampangans.

As Prof. Randy David puts it, Kapampangans became "the brown bearer of European culture and Enlightenment reason… who did not deserve to be enslaved by a foreign power" because they could beat that foreign power "in all the things by which human achievement is measured—art, education, engineering, philosophy, literature."

All Kapampangans should read the story of Martin Sancho, the Kapampangan who recited the entire catechism (in Spanish!) before an astounded King Philip II in 1587, barely 16 years after the Spaniards landed in Luzon. And he was only 10 years old.

Or the story of Phelippe Songsong of Macabebe, whose sanctity was already so well known while still doing missionary work in Guam, that when he died in 1684 at age 73, the Spanish Governor and military officials of that island carried his coffin on their backs and buried him with all the pomp and pageantry befitting a canonized saint of the Catholic Church..

The Spaniards themselves recognized Kapampangans as unique among the natives. King Charles II of Spain cited Kapampangans and only Kapampangans "for making important contributions to the defence of the entire colony." Fray Gaspar de San Agustin called us "the Castilians of these islands" and invented the formula "one Spaniard plus three Kapampangans equals four Spaniards." Jose Felipe del Pan referred to us as "the loyal companions of our disgraces and of our glories. Kapampangans, and only Kapampangans, were with us in that century of frustrations when we were harassed on all fronts. Brave people!" Juan de Medina wrote that Kapampangans always left their villages to join the army "in a fine appearance, for the villages donate money for their uniforms." Even the British journalist A.P. Thorton wrote in 1762 that the British were amazed by the military skills of Kapampangans, "who repeated the assaults (unlike Indians who fled at the sight of better armed British) and died like wild beasts, gnawing the bayonets." Kapampangans, del Pan wrote, were "the grand curiosity" of the region.

Other Filipinos today mock us for this loyalty, but loyalty was a sentiment expressed by only one sector of Kapampangan society. Another sector consistently expressed another sentiment—rebellion— and these two sentiments and two sectors coexisted throughout history. It is this dichotomy that makes our role in history truly colorful and unique. We were loyal where loyalty was deserved, or necessary, or expedient, and we severed our ties when it was time to do so. In the tradition of that Macabebe chieftain who became the country's first martyr for freedom, Kapampangans rose in arms whenever the conditions outraged their sense of justice, as in their revolts against the encomienda system in 1585, against the unpaid rice supplies in 1660, and finally against the cumulative abuses of the Spaniards in 1896.

Through the years of American colonization and Japanese occupation, Kapampangans— again, ahead of their compatriots in other regions—burned with fervor for social justice. It was Kapampangans who founded the country's first labor union (Union de Chineleros y Zapateros de Filipinos, by Felixberto Olalia in 1920), the socialist party (Partido Sosyalista ng Pilipinas, by Pedro Abad Santos in 1932), the guerilla movement in World War II (Hukbalahap, by Bernardo Poblete in 1942), the communist armed forces (Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan by Casto Alejandrino in 1950 and the New People's Army, by Bernabe Buscayno in 1965), the Kabataang Makabayan (by Nilo Tayag, in 1970) and the National Democratic Front (by Satur Ocampo, with Joma Sison, in 1973).

Warriors and defenders of the poor and the oppressed—this is the true nature and true calling of Kapampangans. God may have pampered us with natural resources and the colonizers may have treated us with favoritism, which gave us a veneer of vanity, conceit and softness, but deep inside, we are intensely altruistic, even heroic, maybe even messianic (which is why we left our Muslim and pagan ways in 1571 to embrace the religion which appealed to us, Christianity) . The boast Queng leon queng tigri e cu tatacut, queca pa? probably comes from the land itself—so beautiful and so vulnerable that we must defend it at all costs.

We nearly lost it all when Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991. Now, in the midst of a cultural renaissance, our provincial and municipal leaders have chosen to waste their energies on a senseless duel-to-the- death that threatens to bring the entire province down with them.

I hope that our province's 436th founding anniversary will be an occasion for them to finally work together, instead of making it yet another battleground for their bitter, senseless fight.

December 4, 2007

Kapampangans on "Kababayan LA"

Mon David and other Kapampangans interviewed in a Filipino talk show regarding the celebration of Pampanga Day in Los Angeles, USA.

Watch the video here:

‘Parol’ a big hit in Austria

By Cynthia D. Balana, Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine “parol” or Christmas lanterns are a big attraction at the annual Wiener Christkindlmarkt (Vienna Christmas Market), a popular and centuries-old Austrian holiday tradition that attracts millions of local residents and tourists.

A report from the Philippine Embassy in Austria said the event was highlighted on November 19 by the ceremonial lighting of 60 colorful Philippine parol on a specially-designated “Philippine tree” at the Wiener Rathausplatz (Vienna City Hall square).

Ambassador to Austria Linglingay Lacanlale and Vienna City Councilor Elisabeth Vitouch presided over the ceremonies witnessed by members of the diplomatic corps, Vienna City officials, members of the Filipino community in Austria, as well as Christkindlmarkt’s crowd of promenaders and shoppers.

In her remarks, Lacanlale traced the origins of this most celebrated symbol of Filipino Christmas and the special place it occupies in Filipino families’ homes during the holiday season.

The ceremony was followed by a reception that treated guests to traditional Filipino Christmas delicacies such as salabat (ginger tea) and kakanin (rice cakes).

The event was a joint project of the Philippine Embassy in Vienna and the Vienna City government, with the support of the city government of San Fernando, Pampanga, and the Filipino community in Vienna.

A separate parol display featuring 30 Pampanga lanterns was inaugurated in another historic Austrian city, Salzburg, on November 22.

The Philippine Embassy first introduced the Philippine parol in Vienna in 2006, when it opened a parol exhibit at a prominent Viennese Palmenhaus (tropical greenhouse) in an event that also commemorated the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Philippine-Austrian diplomatic relations.

December 3, 2007

Why national unity is so hard to achieve

INSIDE CEBU By Bobit S. Avila
Wednesday, November 28, 2007

In last week's briefing by the Strategic Studies Group, I was given a copy of the National Security Review, a publication of the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), for the month of August. I was lucky to be sandwiched by Comm. Mariano Sontillanosa (ret.), AFP vice president for research and special studies of this publication, and Dr. Cesar Pobre who wrote a very interesting article, "The Quest for National Identity: An Imperative to Building the National Community."

Dr. Pobre told me that he was also a historian and thus we do have common interests, plus the fact that he is a neighbor of my first cousin, Gen. Rufino Ibay Jr., a retired police director. Dr. Pobre asked me to make objective comments about his piece. However, since it is quite long, I will only make one comment on this piece. So allow me to reprint excerpts of his article.

Dr. Pobre wrote: "A nation strongly built is a nation secure. To be strong, it must have unity. In addition, to have unity, it must have, among others, a national identity. Hence the quest for national identity is an imperative to building a strong national community."

I fully agree with his observation; after all, there should be something that ought to unify all Filipinos for as long as everyone is given equal opportunity, as a nation ought to give its citizenry.

However, in his chapter about the lack of unifying symbols, Dr. Pobre said, "One such symbol is a common language… we need to have one, which we can speak and write, and by which we can connect 'our inner selves to the realities of community life." This is where I differ from Dr. Pobre's thoughts.

There are many in this country who still insist on having a single national language policy, which groups like the Save our Languages through Federalism (Solfed) or those who belong to that Internet group dubbed Defenders of Indigenous Languages throughout the Archipelago (DILA) strongly believe is detrimental to the many cultures that have survived in the Philippine archipelago long before the name Philippines was even invented.

In fact, when this issue surfaced during the SSG conference, Atty. Manuel Faelnar of DILA clearly pointed out that having a common language that is forced upon non-Tagalog-speaking Filipinos have only disunited this country.

The reason is very simple. As the old saying goes, we had 400 hundred years in the convent and 50 years of Hollywood until we finally got Philippine Independence. An ethnic group composed of Tagalog nationalists is now forcing its own language to those of us who do not speak that language. This is why we look at Imperial Manila as another colonizer!

In his column (I'm sorry, I only have a printed copy that has no date or what newspaper it was published), "Fastfood for Thought" written by the late Vicente Albano Pacis entitled "Conceived in Sin, Reared in Ignorance," he wrote about the national language: "After Linggo ng Wika, the truth must be told that the so-called National Language was conceived in unmitigated sin, reared in total ignorance, and maintained in style through constant constitutional dodging."

Mr. Pacis added: "According to official records and documents, the language provision approved by the Constitutional Convention of 1934-1935 was as follows: 'The National Assembly shall take steps towards the development and adoption of a common national language based on existing native languages. (Concon record, Vol. IX, pp.470-471). When the Constitution was printed, this provision was tampered with to read, 'Based on one of the existing native languages.'

Somebody had inserted 'one of the' between the words 'on' and 'existing.' The simplicity of the insertion of only three short words, one of only two letters and two of only three letters each, might have been additional temptation to the crime's perpetrator. This was the unmitigated 'Original Sin.' But who was the original sinner? Abangan!"

This article proves that someone monkeyed around with the 1935 Constitution and today those who continue to espouse a national language based on the Tagalog language has to look into this article and tell us honestly if the tampering of the 1935 Constitution was done in good faith. I have written volumes that having a common language is no guarantee for having a national unity. God knows that the American Civil War killed five million Americans who spoke the same language. So, too, with the Spaniards.

National unity will come with the recognition of the other major spoken languages of this country. It's high time we accept the reality that Filipino is nothing but Tagalog in disguise. Call it what it really is… Tagalog, then allow Cebuano, Ilonggo, Waray, Kapampangan, Bicolano and Ilocano as the national languages of this country and we shall see national unity.

* * *

For e-mail responses to this article, write to Bobit Avila's columns can also be accessed through He also hosts a weekly talkshow, "Straight from the Sky," shown every Monday, 8 p.m., only in Metro Cebu on Channel 15 of SkyCable.

December 2, 2007

The Lahar Sculptures of Dapyo

Dapyo is a Kapampangan sculptor who molds creations using lahar material. Check out some of his works which he puts on sale.

Dapyo, his lahar sculptures, and his bonsai may be found at Kilometer 95 (past the Kamikaze Shrine), National Highway, Mabalacat, Pampanga.