Alben meng manyaman, boy!

January 31, 2008

Australia apology to Aborigines

The Australian government has announced it will issue its first formal apology to Aboriginal people when parliament resumes next month.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said the apology would be the first item of business when the new legislature convened on 13 February.

It is aimed at the "Stolen Generations" - Aboriginal children taken from their parents to be raised by white families.

It was the "first, necessary step to move forward from the past", she said.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced plans to apologise after his victory in last year's general elections.

The move is a highly symbolic one marking a definitive break from policies of previous administrations, correspondents say.

Ms Macklin said that the content of the apology had been determined after wide consultation with Aboriginal leaders.

It would be made "on behalf of the Australian government and does not attribute guilt to the current generation of Australian people", she said in a statement.

"Once we establish this respect, the government can work with indigenous communities to improve services aimed at closing the 17-year life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, " she said.

Thousands of Aboriginal children were forcibly taken from their parents and given to white families or institutions to raise between 1915 and 1969.

The policy was aimed at forcing assimilation between Aboriginal and white communities.

Indigenous campaigners have been seeking a billion-dollar nationwide compensation package for the policy.

But the government has ruled this out, instead promising to fund improved education and health care facilities for Aboriginal communities.

January 26, 2008

Manong Manong

What happens when you can't decide whether you're endorsing yourself to Kapampangans or Tagalogs?

Haha. No offense to Mr. Norman Manabat, but for a Kapampangan like me, the poster is funny (manong in Kapampangan means ugly, awkward, grotesque). Well at least I'll recall you from now on.

January 24, 2008

"Big Girls Don't Cry" in Kapampangan

Here is another collaboration with the Mernuts girls Jhaye and Chao. Translated for them Fergie's 'Big Girls Don't Cry,' so here is 'E Na Ku Kikiyak.'

Mernuts is part of the RocKapampangan album which is coming out anytime soon.

E Na Ku Kikiyak
Performed by Mernuts
Kapampanganized by Jason Paul Laxamana

La Da Da Da
O't ababau da ka pa mu rin keni
Pasulapo na ka siguru pauli
Dian nang tuknangan bilang kalasag ku, bingut
Kailangan magdili-dili
Banayad at tayimik pa

Balu mu sa, balu mu sa
E ra ka pamansalanan
Atiu kaku, kakung dili
Kailangan ta nang itulid ini
Kabang makawale ka kanakung anting anak
A likuan da dapat na kung sumulung
Matua na ku at dapat mung
E na ku kikiyak
Kikiyak, kikiyak, kikiyak

King dalan kung ini dapat aku mu
Masaneng alang tataid anggang dagul ku, dagul
Ding kuentung diwata e la laging masaya kayarian
'Stung e pa meko, lulam ing dasnan

Balu mu sa, balu mu sa
E ra ka pamansalanan
Atiu kaku, kakung dili
Kailangan ta nang itulid ini
Kabang makawale ka kanakung anting anak
A likuan da dapat na kung sumulung
Matua na ku at dapat mung
E na ku kikiyak

'La mu 'nyang malati ka king iskuela
Mamialung katang alang paynawa
Pamikalugud tang anggang banua, sinta
'T'e me talnan gamat ku nung lub mu
Ita rin kasi'ng lub ku
Maging tau't kakialung, sitsitan sikretu
Sayang mu't oras nang muli
Lon ing aldo lulbug ne
Kailangan magdili-dili
Banayad at tayimik pa

Balu mu sa, balu mu sa
E ra ka pamansalanan
Atiu kaku, kakung dili
Kailangan ta nang itulid ini
Kabang makawale ka kanakung anting anak
A likuan da dapat na kung sumulung
Matua na ku at dapat mung
E na ku kikiyak
E na kikiyak, kikiyak

La Da Da Da

January 20, 2008

The Remaining Kapampangans of Bataan

I have long heard about Bataan (or large parts of it) being a former part of the pre-Hispanic Kapampangan Empire, along with Bulacan, Tarlac, and small portions of nearby provinces.

Even though the original territory of the Kapampangans have shrunk throughout the colonial times and Kapampangan nationalism has been de-imagined by the contemporary political structuring which resulted from the Spaniards' carving out of provinces from the larger "La Pampanga," Kapampangans still remain one of the major ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines.

Out of the towns of Bataan, Calaguiman and Mabatang (a barangay in Abucay) are the places known to be dominantly Kapampangan. Twice already, I, along with fellow curious ones, have engaged in exposure trips to the place to check out our kabalen there.

The place names in Bataan seem to come from different languages. It is to no denial though that some of them are in Kapampangan. For instance, there are also a Paroba and a Paralaya in Abucay, Bataan, like in Pampanga. Both are Kapampangan words which are directions: either going to Mount Arayat (paralaya) or away (paroba).

We were able to speak with the employees--who were not to our surprise Kapampangans--in the Barangay Hall of Mabatang on our first trip. From a Northern Kapampangan point of view, the first thing to quickly notice about their speech is that their Kapampangan accent is very different.

But aside from that, what surprised us more was the fact that the Kapampangans of Mabatang still employ what appears like 17th century Kapampangan (as recorded in Fray Diego Bergano's Vocabulario). Take a look at a small list of words comparing the Kapampangan dominantly employed in Pampanga, the Kapampangan of Bataan, and the Kapampangan as noted in Bergano:

Pampanga - Bataan - Bergano
bale - balay - balay
alto - altao - altao
bigak - abiak - abbiac
biye - biyay - biyay
imi - ingi - iyi
pate - patay - patay
tete - tetay - tetay

If you want to listen to a recording of our conversation with them to hear for yourselves, click on "Mabatang Dialect of Kapampangan" in my Podomatic player on your right.

Aside from these, they also use Kapampangan words and expressions not familiar to Pampangans. For instance, what we would say as "Tuki ku" (I'll come [with...]) in our dialect, they would say "Musi ku" (usi - to go with). We say: lintik (drizzle), they say: tigatik. We say: magobra ka (you work), they say: galao ka. We say: manyese na ka, they say: magtrabahu na ka. We say: manugtu ku (I'll eat lunch), they say: manabak ku. We say: ila pin den (those are it), they say: ila pin dean.

What does this imply? It means it is politically incorrect to assert that Bataan/Bergano Kapampangan is a dead form of Kapampangan, because it is still alive. It would be arrogant for us in Pampanga, too to say that our style of Kapampangan is "truer" and should be followed and theirs is wrong and should be corrected.

As a valid language, it is natural for Kapampangan to have its own dialects. With what we witnessed, it is safe to conclude then that Kapampangan in Pampanga is young compared to Bataan/Bergano. However, no dialect is correct because both are under one language: Kapampangan. It's just a matter of the one being older and the other one younger, and that is part of language evolution.

This discovery will pose a problem to advocates of Kapampangan standardization, as the choice of dialect will be an issue. The appointed standard Kapampangan will be elevated in higher status, while the other dialects will be deemed incorrect by society, especially by the academe, as in the case of formal English and Black American English.

However, I deem it more practical to base standard Kapampangan from Pampanga Kapampangan, not because I am a speaker of the dialect, but because most, if not all, Kapampangan literary pieces, including the Christian Bible, are in the Pampanga dialect. Mabatang Kapampangan, while still existing, seems to be limited only to speech and crude non-governmental vandalisms.

Even the eldest Kapampangans of Mabatang--Jose "Apung Moises" Bautista, 95 and a sister-in-law, 98--have no pieces of Kapampangan writing. Apung Moises, who told us in an interview that he used to be a writer of, director of, and actor in zarzuelas during his younger days never wrote a single Kapampangan literary piece (all are in Tagalog).

What is then to be avoided is the arrogance of calling other dialects of Kapampangan mistaken. Languages after all are standardized usually for academic purposes, like research papers, essays, etc., and for formal negotiations (but never for the literary arts and casual conversations). This is just my opinion; if you have a better suggestion, do propose it.

Back to Apung Moises. He is a well-known person in their place, not only because of his literary and theatrical engagements back in the day, but also because of his old age, making him a treasure trove of historical information.

According to him, Bataan used to be part of Lubao, making the place indeed dominantly Kapampangan. He said, too that according to oral history passed to him from the elders of his time, including his parents, the Kapampangans in Bataan sailed from Macabebe through the Pampanga Bay. Tagalogs began to spread when Chinese migrants from Manila (with surnames like Lim and Ong) brought with them Tagalog laborers to create plaisdan (fish ponds) out of the fields.

Apung Moises still has a lot of stories to tell, including those about the World War II. These are tales of great importance especially in the formation of the local history of the Kapampangan race. He had also encountered well-known people such as Luis Taruc (a fellow zarzuela participant) and Fernando Poe, Sr., whom he claims knew how to speak Kapampangan.

A huge number of children still speak Kapampangan. Like in Pampanga, some no longer speak it, either because they are children of Tagalog migrants or were socialized to speak Tagalog by the parents, regardless of ethnicity. It is hard to say that their dialect is endangered, but nevertheless, it should be protected from further language shift, should be empowered among its speakers (because some think their dialect is a tainted type of Kapampangan), and should undergo intellectualization through time.

January 19, 2008

'Ing Bangkeru' cast

Jim Paolo Salvador is an actor of Teatro Tomasino from the University of Santo Tomas (Nursing). Alexandre Tiotuico is an actor of the Academy of Performing Arts in Angeles City, currently an Architecture student at the Holy Angel University.

Below is the original poem/song of the same title. We won't exactly be faithful to the details and lines and everything else mentioned in the original text.

Ing Bangkeru

Iniang bayu pamu ing Menilang ciudad
Tingca na't lelangan ning maki-pacultad
ating escuelahang carelang telacad
pipagaralan da ding biasa at pantas.

Ding escuelang deti atlu la capinduan
itang Sto. Tomas at San Juan de Letran
Sta. Teresita Colegio ya naman
pitatanacan dang isip ding magaral.

Capupus ning banua, misara ing clasi
masipanuli no sablang estudiante
caring sibabalen at tagle ra reti
ing sablang cabiasnan, dangalan at puri.

Metung ya careti ing mintang dalakit
malapad nang pangpang ning ilug Calumpit
minaus yang bangca caya midalakit
ngana mamayad cu caras casumangid.

Sinake ne keta itang estudiante
linucluc maratun ketang taburete
lidlad neng payung na at saca miniabi
ustan mu bangkeru ing anti canini.

Iniang mamagse ne libutad ning ilug
nganing estudiante ustan mu bangkeru
ding Angeles banua pilan latang Coruz
ding Santos at Santas pilan nomang tapuc.

Mipamulala ya ing bangkerung anac
ketang estudiante ngana ping mekibat
pagdamutan yupu ining ipakibat
uling yang caguiwan na nining pobreng balat.

Anti king acu pu ecu ibat banua
ecopu binilang Coruz nung pilan la
ila pang balu cu ding Santos at Santa
metung cung calulung meragul king lauta.

Nung ing icutang yu cacu usisan
ing sumanga't muli ning bangcang secayan
saca ining bagse ampon ining atcan
ila pung balu cu ilang keragulan.

King bista't mababa ining pegaralan
suguing Pilosupu acu namong cutang
manibatan keti angga king sadsaran
ing pamamagse cu pilan cawaswasan?

Balubuc ning danum pangalto ning bula
king panga-tumpuc na pilan libu caya
canacu mu igcas ban cung ausisa
anti king Pantas ca biasa ampon sita.

Micamacama ya itang estudiante
cutang ning bangkeru emecapaniabi
dinalan king lub na saca ya sinisi
nung bat acutnan ne ing bangkerung iti.

Ini mu pala pung asuas ning bagse cu
alimu asabi cacu asuertu
ding Angeles banua ilapang balu mu
eca naman ibat banuang anti acu

Tantuan daca ngeni Pilosupung mambang
tandanan mu iti emu cacalinguan
nung eme cayabe king clasi magaral
king matas a argu eme cucutnanan.

Iniapin pu ngeni culdas nacong bigla
ding kecong panupa paburen yunopa
king pasisibayu ing alinaco pa
maniabing palalu king matas a bina.

Lon ye y Luzifer canitang minuna
sulu yang meyakit king tronos banuas
ing cayang depatan ing migpalalu ya
ewari menacbag king Impiernong lasa.

Icong makiramdam tutulad ecosa
ketang estudiante a palalung bina
megaral yang ditac at miras Menila,
cabalic na niti, tane mangastila.

January 15, 2008

Asthma band performs Kapampangan song

The Asthma band performs Atin Ku Pung Singsing 2, their contribution to the RocKapampangan project, at SM City Clark last December 21 and 23.

January 12, 2008

More on Tagalogs' discrimination of Visayans

A letter written by Gerald Misa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
917 Palawan St., Sampaloc, Man

Ethnic slur against the 'Bisaya'

The ethnic slur against Cebuano-speaking Filipinos, (commonly referred to as "Bisaya") in the Filipino movie "Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo" does not come as a surprise. (Inquirer, 12/28/07)

The Tagalogs have long taunted, mocked and shown prejudice against the peoples of Mindanao and Cebuano dialect-speaking provinces of Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Negros Oriental, Siquijor and Southern Leyte.

And Sen. Aquilino Pimentel should not have complained that the slur hinted that only the Tagalogs are the real Filipinos. Indeed, the real Filipinos are only those who speak or write the Tagalog language -- those in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and other Tagalog-speaking areas.

Having been born in Marawi City and raised up, studied and finished my education in Cebuano-speaking, predominantly Christian Iligan City, I have never considered myself -- since childhood -- a "Filipino."

I am known as a "Filipino" because of an imposed citizenship, but by heart and by choice I am a proud Mindanaoan who longs to have a separate republic for my fellow Cebuano or Bisaya-speaking Mindanaoans, who would be better off governing themselves than be subjects of the imperialist North.

Why join the Tagalogs in proudly proclaiming themselves Filipinos when they do not even consider us, "mga Bisaya" their equals and fellow Filipinos? A Tagalog mocking a Bisaya's flawed Tagalog does not shock me. He hurts and offends me. Hearing or seeing a Caucasian discriminate against a Filipino - meaning, a Tagalog -- does not affect me. But when a foreigner heaps racial slurs on a fellow Cebuano-speaking Boholano or Davaoeño, I am deeply saddened and offended.

Every day, bigotry is committed against a Bisaya -- on TV shows, on radio programs, on the streets and inside buses, trains, passenger jeepneys, malls, department stores, even churches.

Everywhere. It pains me to hear the deejay of an early morning FM radio program having fun emulating the way a Bisaya speaks Tagalog with a distinctly heavy or regional accent. When a Bisaya mispronounces a Tagalog word or two, a Tagalog bursts into laughter.

Tagalogs joined those who demanded an apology from a Canadian school where a Caucasian teacher called a child of a Philippine immigrant couple a "pig" for eating with a spoon. The child's mother came from Misamis Oriental, a Cebuano-speaking province. Why did the Tagalogs feign sympathy for the family with a Bisaya blood? It was a classic display of Filipino hypocrisy, the same "plasticity" Tagalogs show every time Manny Pacquiao beats his opponents. They "rejoice" although they laugh at him because of his Bisaya accent.

January 11, 2008

Digital Film Workshop @ HAU

From January 10-14, the Office of Student Affairs of the Holy Angel University is holding a filmmaking workshop.

It will orient the participants, mostly student-neophytes in the field, on the different aspects of filmmaking such as script and story development, cinematography, directing, and acting.

I was the first resource speaker discussing to the participants the importance of story and script and oriented them about cinematography (art/science of capturing moving images on film/video). I told them the importance of realism in filmmaking, and so, if the setting of their story is in Pampanga, it will be outrageously awkward that Kapampangan will not be the language.

January 11 and 12, it was/will be my personal idol Brillante Mendoza (directors of internationally award-winning films, mostly with lots of Kapampangan elements: Masahista, Kaleldo, and Manoro; also Foster Child and Tirador) and also independent actor Coco Martin. He mentioned that he makes sure there are Kapampangan lines in his films when they are set in Pampanga, because filmmaking is capturing as much as possible honest reality.

(L-R: Coco Martin, me, Brillante Mendoza)

May the contestants in the digital film festival at HAU realize those things we mentioned not only about Kapampangan, but about realism in independent filmmaking.

January 9, 2008

2008: Languages Matter! More on ethnic slurs

UNESCO's International Year of Languages
INSIDE CEBU By Bobit S. Avila
Monday, January 7, 2008

No doubt, when the US TV series "Desperate Housewives" featured actress Teri Hatcher making an offensive remark against Philippine medical schools, an indignant Filipino nation came up with a united stand to ensure that this insult didn't go unanswered. To think that that TV episode insulted only Filipinos in the medical field. So when the movie "Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo" of Star Cinema showed actress Judy Ann Santos, in a conversation with Gloria Diaz, complaining that her child was learning to speak "Bisaya" from her yaya, saying, "Dapat Tagalog para Pinoy!" where she was practically saying, "You should speak to the child in Tagalog, otherwise, it's not Filipino!"

That movie no doubt insulted the Visayan-speaking people and we hope that our Cebuano congressmen would issue a statement condemning that movie. That's what we wrote in this corner last Friday, which apparently elicited a barrage of angry e-mails both here and abroad.

Call it a coincidence that last December, the director-general of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, issued a message that 2008 is the International Year of Languages, where he wholeheartedly encourages taking measures for the promotion and protection of all the world's languages, particularly those in danger of vanishing. In this country, there are a lot of vanishing languages due to the pro-Tagalog policies of previous administrations. In fairness to the GMA administration, Buwan ng Wika last October had the theme "Maraming Wika, Matatag na Bansa." That's why she's popular here.

UNESCO is the world organization responsible for coordinating all the activities that will be carried out this year, under the slogan "Languages matter!" If you didn't know, Cebuano is a separate and distinct language distant from Tagalog. On the other hand, Pilipino, as it is spoken, is 99.9 percent taken or derived from the Tagalog language, hence it is right to say that Pilipino is a dialect of Tagalog, while Cebuano, Ilonggo and Waray are not dialects of Tagalog. Anyway, allow me to reprint some of the e-mails I got on this issue.

"Re: your article today. I'm not amused, too, of the dialogue from that movie you had watched. Good that I'm not fond of watching Tagalog movies after some bad experience way back in my college days with similar dialogues which put down non-Tagalog-speaking citizens of this country. My whole family had just spent the New Year's break in Cebu where my in-laws are settled (actually the home is in Marigondon, Mactan Island, a 100-meter walk from the gates of Plantation Bay Resort).

"It was a relief from the chaotic life in Manila and we were grateful for it. It had been seven long years since we last visited the matriarch and it was worth spending a vacation. It was also an educational tour of our two teeners who do not know a single Cebuano word (our fault, my wife Marilyn grew up in Labangon and I, a full-blooded Davaweño and Cebuano speaker, too, has not taught them the language). I made it clear to their happy and excited Cebuano cousins the moment we arrived that they must speak Bisaya and teach their Tagalog cousins or they would become proficient in Tagalog instead.

"I believe if we have Visayan TV and radio program/news in the Manila airwaves, the Tagalogs would appreciate the beautiful language. It would also encourage Bisayans whose tongues had loosened and who had 'forgotten' the language they had woken up to in this world (due to long residency, work environment or simply to be 'in'? Ay sus, ginoo!!).

"Thanks, Bobit for this article. Bisayan speakers must raise this concern and tell Judy Ann and her scriptwriters to refrain from these slurs. Paul R. Fabiaña, San Antonio Valley I, Parañaque City.

Here's another e-mail from an indignant Bisaya living in Manila:

"Dear Bobit, I was shocked reading your today's column about the movie 'Sakal, Sakali, Saklolo' where the conversation between Gloria Diaz and Judy Ann Santos insulted the Visayan-speaking Filipinos – the real Pinoy. The director and the writer of said movie not only lack delicadeza but they also have no knowledge of history. They are blinded to the premise that when you are speaking Tagalog you belong to the upper class of the society.

"What a poor state of mind! I suggest that the director and writer and all those who want Tagalog as the national language must go back to the elementary grades so that they will learn that while Manila was yet a swamp, Cebu already had a university. Cebuanos were already living in the lowland and developed a better language than the apes. Jose B. Nacilla."

Indeed, languages are the source of pride and culture of the people who speak them.

January 6, 2008

'Ing Bangkeru' to be adapted into film

We are currently on the pre-production stage in making another Kapampangan digital short film, the title of which is Ing Bangkeru, a screen adaptation of an old anonymous ballad of the same title. See the full script at

The story is set in Pampanga River during the Spanish occupation when Kapampangan children had the opportunity to study in the schools in Manila. One homecoming student rides a boat from the dock of Calumpit to Macabebe. During the course of the trip, the student grills the boatman about the philosophical things (ding Angeles banua pilan lang Korus, ding santu at santa pilan no man tapuk?) he had learned in Manila schools, which the boatman had no idea about.

However, when the boatman asks the student about things related to boats and the river, the student fails to answer back as well. Hence, the moral: do not challenge a person about things he has not studied.

Our production team will be shooting the entire film at Masantol on the whole day of January 26, 2008 (Saturday). We are collaborating with the Holy Angel University, asking them if they could lend us its 3CCD digital camcorder during the said shooting day.

One of the lead actors in the film is Alexandre Tiotuico, an HAU Architecture student, known in his own right for his outstanding performance in The Academy of Performing Arts’ play “Ang Lihim”. Bajun Lacap, Vice Mayor of Masantol, will be a supporting actor.

Here are some pictures we took in the target location (taken in Masantol along Pampanga River):

Observers are free to join us in our shoot.

January 5, 2008

Kapampangan Shirt Family???

Hehe. Actually, the following pictures come from a friend who goes by the name Samuel Venzon. He ordered Kapampangan several shirts from me for a couple of relatives, and now allow me to feature those fabulous photos strutting them, hahaha. Click to enlarge.

January 4, 2008

Pampanga thru Google Earth

Have you taken time to check out how Pampanga looks like in a satellite's point of view? The images one will see on Google Earth are not really real-time, but I'd like to show you some of the screen captures I took.

Mount Pinatubo


Balibago (see Saver's Mall)

Angeles City (see Nepo Mall and Holy Rosary Church)

Villa Angela Subdivision

An overview of Pampanga; lots of farmlands and plasdan (fishponds)

Pampanga Bay, Manila Bay, and nearby regions (Bataan, Manila)

Pampanga Bay; check out the lahar that needs to be desilted

Abacan Bridge

Angeles City

Angeles City (see Carmelite Monastery and Sto. Domingo Mart)

Nayong Pilipino / Expo Filipino

Fontana villas