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REGIONS

AND
REGIONAL
CULTURE
The Philippines has a unique cultural landscape, one
shaped by a myriad of languages and traditions
determined by their geographical and linguistic regions.
It is not quite right to say that there is just one Filipino
culture, because there are so many different cultures in
the country, and they are all considered to be Filipino.
These many regional cultures, however, do all come
together to create the colorful tapestry that we call
Filipino culture.
As discussed by National Artist
Bienvenido Lumbera, the reason for a very
Manila-centric view of Philippine culture
and cultural development has to do with
the fact that Manila remains the center of
power in the Philippines.
While Manila is definitely the center of the
country, it cannot be denied that the largest
territory of the country lies outside this center, in
the “periphery” as it were, of national
consciousness. The periphery’s effect on the
“center” is inevitable as these various regions do
interact and therefore exert some form of
influence over Manila as well.
Lumbera further stated that “…as it turns out,
literary, musical, visual, and theater arts away from the
primate city (Manila) form a considerable part of the
culture of the Filipino.
Now it has become all too clear that the question of
a national identity for the Filipino cannot be discussed,
much less resolved, only within the narrow confines of
the center. And so need to “de-Center”.
Our exploration into Philippine literature,
therefore, will be a de-centered one,
exploring regional writing to see not only
how it differs from what is normally seen
in Manila, but also how it contributes to
Philippine culture through its unique voice
and style.
BIKOL LITERATURE
It is both to the advantage and detriment of
Bikolanos that a good number of them are
multilingual and are normally proficient no only
in Bikol, their regional language, but also in
English and Filipino. Prominent writers such as
screenwriter Ricky Lee and poet Marne Kilates
are both natives of Bikol, and yet are not known
as Bikolano writers.
It is also sad that there are very few Pre-
Hispanic Bikol works that have been collected
and published. What has been left behind,
however, are some forms which still exist today.
There are still the proverbs, riddles, and
sayings that have remained in use, such as “An
matakot sa doron/Daing aanihon” or “Those afraid
of locusts/Will not harvest anything”.
There is also the tradition of tigsikan, or
a game of creating witty, versified(in verse)
extemporaneous toasts during a round of
drinking.
Bikol writers have adopted forms of
literature for their own enjoyment, however.
There are many corridos and religious
works, coming from the press owned by
Mariano Perfecto.
These eventually led to the creation and
enjoyment of other forms of entertainment, such as
the comedia and the zarsuela in the 1800s and
early 1900s. There are works in Bikol during this
time, as there were Bikol-based publications, and
the production of poems and fiction grew.
Literary production continued via varied
publications until the 1960s when the last Bikol
magazine stopped production. Production then
slowed, but did not completely stop.
It has since proceeded slowly, but persistently, owing
to the renewed interest of schools and writers who have
since embraced the task of building on their literary
achievements and are writing new work, such as the text
we have for this lesson.
MAP OUT
This lesson examines the elements of poetry by looking
at an example of Filipino regional poetry.
Essential Question:
How does contemporary regional Filipino poetry apply
the elements of poetry?
LEARNING POINTS:
1. Identify the geographic, linguistic, and ethnic
dimensions of Philippine literary history from pre-
colonial to modern.
2. Appreciate the application of imagery in the text
provided, paying particular attention to the regional
origins of the poem.
3. Respond critically to the poem and articulate this
response through a presentation showcases regional
culture.
Trackback
On Mayon Volcano
Mayon Volcano is renowned around the world for its
nearly perfect shape. It is also one of the most active
volcanoes in the world and erupts regularly. Provinces
near Mt. Mayon are already very accustomed to
evacuating periodically because of the eruptions which
occur. Despite the constant threat of danger, however,
the volcano remains one of the most popular tourist
destinations in the Philippines.
Like many locations in the Philippines,
Mt. Mayon has a fascinating legend which
tells the story of its creation. The legend of
Daragang Magayon is a romantic and
exciting story telling of how the volcano
came to be.
IN SMALLER GROUPS:
1. How do the characters in the legend
correspond to the behavior of the volcano in
real life?
2. What does knowing the legend do to your
appreciation of the volcano?
3. How would the legend of Daragang Magayon
be told today? What changes would there be in
how the story is told?
MAYON
KRISTIAN SENDON CORDERO
CAMARINES SUR
A VOLCANIC POET
Kristan Sendon Cordero is widely described as
the “enfant terrible” of Bikol writing. The term
enfant terrible usually refers to person who is
controversial, often by being innovative and
questioning of the establishment, both of which
Cordero has done.
He has multiple Palanca awards in poetry, fiction, and
the essay.
Awards received:
 National Commission on Culture and the Arts Writer’s
Prize for Bikol poetry in 2007
 6th Madrigal Gonzales First Book Award

 Maningning Miclat Poetry Prize in Filipino in 2009

 Premo Tomas Arejola Literary Prize

 Homelite Poetry Contest


He is a well-anthologized poet, and has published
collections of his own, such as Canticos: Apat na Boses
(UST Publishing House, 2013), and Labi (Ateneo de
Manila Press, 2013).
He is also a filmmaker; his film Angustia was released
in 2013.
He has edited a number of collections, such as The
Naga We Know, a collection of essays co-edited with Paz
Verdadez Santos, as well as Sagurong which he co-edited
with Santos as well.
He is an educator, being an assistant professor
at the Ateneo de Naga University. He writes a
column in the Bicol Mail.
He is an active advocate for the growth of
Bikol Literature, not only in terms of the form
flourishing in number, but also in terms of its
beyond its current traditions.
BIKOL LITERATURE
 Cordero’s writing, both in terms of his poetics
and his articles, point to a turn in the
development of Bikol literature.
 The region has always had a strong writing
tradition predating the arrival of the Spanish.
 While stymied for a time under Spanish rule,
when the traditionn did return, it did with a
critical attitude as can be seen in Bikol’s writer
Mariano Perfecto’s An Pagguiao kan mga
pastores can pagcamondag ni Jesus duman sa
portal sa belen. This play was about the
awakening of the shepherds during Jesus’s birth,
but also stated that while the Catholic faith was
embraced by the people, the Spaniards were not.
 Bikol writing also featured the corrido and the
comedia, the former being a metered romance and the
latter being plays performed to local audiences.
 Typical of the Bikol writer, the critical attitude
manifested itself in the writing of protest comedias.
Even during the highly productive Commonwealth
period, when Bikol writing flourished, poems such as
the rawitdawit continued to showcase a Bicolano
penchant for examining and criticizing society.
 Nowadays, writers such as Cordero have continued the
Bikolano critical attitude, through with Cordero, he
brings it a step further by fixing a critical eye on Bicol
itself.
 In a recent paper he delivered, he traced the
movements of Bikol Literature via transition, saying
that the influence of the Catholic church, given that
there was a prevalence of works translated into the
Bicol language during the Spanish era, nonetheless also
points to a continuing tradition of literary production in
the region.
 While the transitions have become a key part
of the Literature of Bicol, he also contends
that this is the reason for its continued
survival, even in the light of what has been
seen as a “thin” literary production.
Ayon sa alamat, lason ng pana ni Pagtuga,
Ang lumikha sa bulkan---- libingan ito
Ng dalagang namatay sa isang digmaan.
Ngayon, ano ang tutubo sa paanan ng Mayon
Gayong nagiging malawak na itong sementeryo
Ng abo, ng tao. Manganganak na kaya ito?
Tinitigan ko ang nakangangang bulkan---- binabalot
Ng ulap at ng sariling usok ang tuktok, gatas sa labi
Baka sakali, magpakita, nang may silbi ang kamera.
Sa isang retrato na ibenebenta ng mga bata sa Cagsawa
Lusaw na tae ang nagliliyab na lava, dumadaloy pababa.
Matandang nag-nganganga ayon naman sa isang makata.

Sa isang lumang postcard na nakita ko sa Antigo Merkado----


Kapag sa malayo, isa siyang magandang sikyung nakatanod,
Handa sa pagkapkap, naghihintay sa iyong pagpasok.
WHAT’S IN A POEM?
Characteristics:
1. Meter-is the basic rhythmic structure of a line in
poetry.
2. Image-is the use of figurative language to represent
objects, events, actions, or ideas in a way that is
physically appealing.
3. Figurative language-is when the words or phrases
used go beyond their literal meaning so that they are
not merely literal but become figurative.
4. Dramatic situation- a situation which calls for
the audience to relate to the poem emotionally.

5. Theme- a general idea, often about human


experience, which, in the end, it wants to share
with the audience
RESPOND CRITICALLY TO THE
FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

1. According to the poem, what led to the


creation of the volcano?
a. The arrow used by Pagtuga
b. A war which led to Magayon’s death
c. The poison of the arrow of Pagtuga
d. The legend of Daragang Magayon
2. In the second stanza, the area around
Mayon’s foot is described as
a. A graveyard
b. A farm
c. A disaster zone
d. A myth
3. What is the persona in the poem waiting for
in the third stanza?
a. For the volcano to erupt
b. For the volcano to show its peak
c. For the volcano to blow more smoke
d. For the volcano to be covered in clouds
4. List at least three images found in the poem. Cite the lines
where they appear
5. State the dominant physical sense being used by the poem to
create the images you listed in the previous question.
6. Examine the images in the poem and determine whether the
impression being conveyed by the image is positive or negative.
List those images in the table below.

Positive Negative
7. The first stanza of the poem shows the death of
Magayon as the cause of the birth of the volcano.
Carrying this reasoning through to the second stanza,
what is the persona implying with his se of image of a
graveyard? Discuss.
8. The fourth stanza presents an image of the poem
which was viewed differently by two different people–
the personan and an unnamed poet, or makata---who
gave a very different interpretation of the image. Defend
the choices of both poets in light of how Mount Mayon
is seen in the poem.
9. Discuss why the author used a security guard as the final
image of the poem. What does this seem to imply about how
security personnel are viewed?
PIT STOP
 Cordero’s poem is a very rich one, carrying a very
distinct view of Mayon Volcano. He, as a native of
Bicol, writes with a certain level of familiarity with the
volcano.
 The poem presents the volcano first via allusion,
referring to its myth, particularly to Pagtuga’s arrow
which killed Magayon.
 Allusion-is a figure of speech that refers to another
textual work, leaving the reader to figure out the
connection between the current work and the work
being referred to.
 The death of Magayon and her lover Panginoron in
the poem become more than just an end, but also a
beginning.
 The poem proceeds from there using an image of
death to imply possiblity and life. Images play a very
siignificant role in this poem, as the volcano is
described in many different ways. Images are not only
visual; they can present their sensory impressions
using any of the five senses.
 These images do more than just present sensory
impressions to the reader, however, but go beyond
that, expanding from merely descriptive to becoming
figurative.
 The images vary widely, from having the lips of a
young child in the third stanza, to having the lava of
the volcano look like excrement, or having the same
image look like betel nut juice (nganga) in the same
stanza.
What becomes clear by the last stanza, is
that all the images tie in together.
There is the impression of beauty and
danger, as the final image, that of a
beautiful security guard waiting to frisk
the viewer of the volcano, becoming both
warning and invitation at the same time.
MARGINAL NOTES
 NEGATIVE CAPABILITY
Cordero’s poem showcases a quality that poet John Keats
said was essential to people who want to write and read
poetry. He called it “negative capability”.
It was the capability to be face to face with uncertainty and
not need to grapple with what that uncertainty could mean,
but be comfortable just facing the situation. Forces of
nature are one such event.
 Cordero, in his mixing of both positive and negative
images of the volcano, showcases this idea very
handily. In the face of a force of nature such as Mayon
Volcano.
 It would not be correct to term the volcano as either
good or evil, because it is neither. Instead, the volcano
is merely being a volcano.
 Cordero showcases that fact by intentionally ignoring
either the formulaic description of the sheer
destructive nature of the volcano or the commonly
admired beauty of its “perfect cone”.
 Instead, he simply presents us with images that shift from one
extreme to another, allowing us to see both “faces” of the
volcano.
 Are there other situations/events in your life that force you to
face them with negative capability? what are they?