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UST’s English Department hosts first treasure language storytelling in PH

The event also featured discussions on endangered languages in the country and the flaws of the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education in schools.

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Photo by Deojon Elarco/TomasinoWeb

UST’s Department of English and the UST English Language Studies Society (UST- ELSSOC) organized “Wikang Yaman: Kuwento at Kwenta” which featured storytelling through indigenous languages Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020.

It is the first treasure language storytelling event in the Philippines and in Asia which is now on its second year as part of UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages.

UST-ELSSOC gathered storytellers to share stories like the legend of Maria Cristina Falls, Sirena, and the epic of Ibalon which were told in different languages in the country such as Bikolano, Chavacano and Ilocano.

Thomasian professor Jonathan Geronimo discussed about endangered indigenous languages in the country and the flaws of the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education in schools.

“Ang wika ang ekspresyon, identidad at puso ng bansa. Ito ay karapatang-pantao. […] Mahalaga ang papel na ginagampanan nito upang patuloy tayong maging malaya at sumusugo sa lipunan na wala dapat naiiwan,” Geronimo said.

According to him, aside from the conflict on which language should serve as mother tongue among the hundreds of dialects in the country, the current curriculum in schools focuses more on English language rather than the native language due to the indirect colonialism which is still very much present in the country.

In addition to this, he suggested that the government should not just adopt and implement rules from foreign countries that does not even fit in the Philippines’ situation for what works within foreign countries does not mean that it will also work for the Philippines. H. Camba and C. Bautista.

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Literary

Nagmamahal, Anak ng Bayan

Ang mga bituin at araw na sa iyo nakaburda,
walang kawangis sa giting at pagkakaisa
Alab ng pusong buwis ay huling hininga,
ningas ng pag-irog sa kalupaang sinisinta

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Dibuho ni Tricia Jardin

O aming sansinukob ng kamulatan,
sa’yo’y lugod ang luwalhati’t paggalang
Mahal naming kandungan ng pangarap
Ang bukas nami’y sa iyo ang tanaw

Dalisay ang puri mong hindi mabahiran
ng sinumang mangahas na ika’y sugatan
Nakaukit na sa lahing pinaglaban
ang mamatay para sa iyong pangalan

Ang mga bituin at araw na sa iyo nakaburda,
walang kawangis sa giting at pagkakaisa
Alab ng pusong buwis ay huling hininga,
ningas ng pag-irog sa kalupaang sinisinta

Lingkis sa ugat ng mga dapat mabatid
ang kilusang sinimulan ng mga ninunong kapatid
Lahat tayo’y supling ng Inang mahabagin
Susugod, malulumpo
Kakambal na ang panulat at patalim

Ang dangal ay mananatiling nakatalaga
Hindi ipagpapalit ang mga siglong pag-aalsa
sa tinik na nananalaytay sa lalamunan,
sa mapanglamang dayuha’t kababayan

Ikaw na s’yang duyang nag-aaruga
sa lipi ng bayang kislap sa Silangan
Ang bawat tibok ng aming pulsuhan,
dugo’t pawis para sa tapat na limbagan
ay hindi magpapalupig sa anino ng sinuman
Walang higit na mas makapangyarihan
sa sinumpaan ng makabayan

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Literary

A Letter To Cupid

He was sure that the man was perfect for her but why did she walk away? Cupid checked his arrows to see if they work. With his target locked, he released the string with grace and let the arrow flew through the wind and into a man’s heart.

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Artwork by Tricia Jardin

When Corazon was young, her mother told her a story about a being named Cupid, she said that he was sort of an angel that shoots people with arrows and if you get shot by him, you instantly fall in love. As a child, Corazon was awestruck by romance, especially how people would buy flowers, chocolates, and huge stuffed bears for their partners. 

Growing up, she wondered about love, she fell hard and fell out of it in the same way. She was convinced that it wasn’t entirely her fault, maybe Cupid had a bad aim that led her to a bit of misfortune. If there was a list of ex-lovers, hers would be long enough to wear as a scarf.

Corazon had a heart like a child’s, even in her twenties, she still looked at the world with wide-eyed innocence. One morning while walking in the neighborhood streets, she bumped into someone. Her mind immediately made everything pink. The air felt nicer, the warm rays of the sun made their faces glow golden, “his smile could launch a thousand ships” she thought. The man asked for her name. Instead of her name, she said “Have a nice day” as she scanned the area like she was looking for something––or someone then continued to walk away leaving the man confused.

Cupid was fond of Corazon, he liked the way she beamed at everyone, charming them with her innocence. He still remembered the time when Corazon’s mother told her about him. Nothing is purer than a child’s amazement at something so complex, he thought. He followed her around and tried to strike anyone who he thought might be perfect for Corazon which was a mistake. He couldn’t help it, he wanted her to meet somebody badly.

Corazon’s action shocked him. He was sure that the man was perfect for her but why did she walk away? Cupid checked his arrows to see if they work, they are sharp and filled with magic, he tested them out on a few pedestrians walking by. With his target locked, he released the string with grace and let the arrow flew through the wind and into a man’s heart. In the same direction came a woman, with excitement, he aimed at the woman and once again shot an arrow. He watched the two move closer to each other. 

There was nothing wrong. His bow and arrow worked fine. Was Corazon immune from his powers? 

“I’ll try again tomorrow.” he said with eagerness and flew home. 

Corazon grew tired of love and the things that come with it but more importantly, she was convinced that Cupid meant more harm than good. She wanted him to stop meddling in her life. So, she grabbed a pen and paper and started to write a letter. 

Dear Cupid, 

I suppose you already know my sentiments. You are an archer with good aim and every time you strike me, I can feel it. I have been feeling these since I can remember. You’ve given me countless possible forevers but they don’t feel real at all. Love is complex and relationships don’t have to be on life support. Getting struck once or twice is enough but if you get struck more than a hundred times, the heart goes weak and so does the mind. You see, I was thinking that it would be best if you stop now. You have done quite enough and for that, I give my thanks. Sometimes, I know you mean well but now, I am not sure anymore. There’s this feeling inside of my chest that keeps telling me that nothing is genuine anymore. Maybe I need some time alone, to say the least. 

Sincerely, 

Corazon

After reading the letter––Corazon’s last plea, Cupid puts down his bow and arrow and retires for good despite being heartbroken. He still looks over Corazon from time to time. He witnessed her walk down the aisle, marrying a good man and finally settling down. 

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A blood-partner for life

A blood-partner in life once told me that at the very long road that we continued to walk over, everyone seeks their individualities and ends up being alone at some point for it was what she said—essential.

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Artwork by Tricia Jardin

Counting the time that is headed towards the day where love seemingly arises and everyone is seemingly enjoying the moment with their loved ones are about to come. A blood-partner in life once told me that at the very long road that we continued to walk over, everyone seeks their individualities and ends up being alone at some point for it was what she said—essential. Kind of ironic that her next words contradicted her first statement by stating that the process of it is just what makes us feel alone, for we focus on achieving for ourselves, for moving forward for sometimes, selfish reasons. But the truth is, we are never alone.

Humans are social beings, even with people who hated other people, we are still very connected to one another. The paths that we take are all terrifying, and the absolute lack of knowledge on to what lies ahead is what makes us hold on to our edges and halt at some point, but someone will always press our gears and move us. May it be an event that was made possible by people, a person who inspires, a person who was damaged and we take pity, and even a person who was already gone can push us to keep moving forward.

If not a lot, that are some of the few things that I learned from her and kept on believing even after a decade. I had faith in her that there are some things that won’t forever go smoothly as I would expected, but it is okay to stop, to relive of the people who made me reach this far. The memories of comfort and serenity were enough to ease the pain of a burning resolution, that is why sometimes we burn-out because of the excessive will of selfishness that only centers our ego and pride. Soothing me from my combusting, bright resolve is someone who will never go extinct from my memory, and cheesy it might sound—from my heart, also. A blood-partner that is existent as long as I continue to crawl, walk, run, and stop in my path.

Today, I am standing beside a polished gray rock along with my parents, visiting a day earlier from what should be the day of visit. Her name is engraved on the smooth concrete and I, with my mother and father recalls the days that she was standing with us. On the one-day early from the day of love and hearts, we stood watching, and in unison, we said: Happy Valentines, Ate.

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