- PH PH-PAN MDCL VF-00006
THE publication of Malagilion: Sonnets tan Villanelles by Santiago B. Villafania (363 pp. Manila: Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino and Emilio Aguinaldo College, 2007) should be a source of rejoicing for readers of regional literatures. This second book by Pangasinan’s leading poet today is impressive in both form and substance. Villafania has created 300 sonnets and 50 villanelles in his own language that attempt to reflect the primacy of native culture and return the poet to the central stage of social life. There is a sense of urgency here, considering that Pangasinan literature is in a lamentable state. As the Villafania himself said, “Pangasinan poets today lack the invigorating environment of a literary movement. We are alone in a wasteland and without support from the ‘cultural ambient.’ We are a dying tribe on the verge of extinction.” His hyperbole aside, Pangasinan really has not done well in competition with English, Tagalog, and Ilocano; there are no significant literary and journalistic publications to nourish and sustain a regional literature; and the provincial government does not seem to give priority to the revitalization of Pangasinan as a common medium of communication, in spite of the fact that it has more than one and a half million speakers.
Bautista, Cirilo F.