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A Boost to Pangasinan Literature

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.

Bilay ed Caboloan - Reconfiguration of Space using a New Historicist Lens

This study is focused on analyzing all 31 poems by Santiago Villafania (1971) in his book, Balikas na Caboloan. The aim of this study is to reveal how his use of his native language and cultural heritage has transformed Pangasinan from a tangible, physical place to a state of ideology, which is Caboloan.

Using Stephen Greenblatt’s theory of New Historicism, the significance of the texts were analyzed by first, describing the values, mores and the researcher’s knowledge of the history of Pangasinan, particularly at the time indicated in the texts; second, by reflecting on how Villafania’s personal historical circumstances affected or influenced the text; and third, by identifying and appreciating the social mores that were communicated within the text.

The study shows that Villafania’s poetry was heavily influenced by his personal account or view of his environment, specifically, the place where he grew up in, Pangasinan. The practices, beliefs and ultimately, the way of life insinuated within the text are reminiscent of an older time, thus transforming Pangasinan, as we know it today, back to Caboloan.

Tecson, Ayesah

Pangasinan Anlong: Oral Tradition into the 21st Century

The first half of the twentieth century is said to have been the Golden Age of Pangasinan Literature, but indubitably without succeeding in establishing Pangasinan as a popular literature. The emergence of umaanlong (poet) in the said period produced excellent poems written in the vernacular but only few were published. There was not even an anthology of poetry published in that period. Anlong was not the principal expression of our writers in that era.

The Pangasinan anlong or poetry was once predominantly oral: tumatagaumen and umaanlong performed poems. Often, it was accompanied by kutibeng (ancient guitar) and/or tulali (a kind of string instrument similar to kudyapi or lyre.) One good example of Pangasinan oral poetry was the Petek, a kind of poetic joust similar to the Tulang Patnigan of the Tagalogs. When the written form of poetry became dominant, oral poetry became unpopular.

Villafania, Santiago B.

Retrospect and Prospect of Pangasinan Anlong : Oral Tradition into the 21st Century

The intent of this paper is to present an argument for the position that the decadence of anlong (poetry) in Pangasinan was due to the fact that the vernacular writers were more attuned to prose writing since Pangasinan was elevated into the rank of liturgical and literary language in the nineteenth century by the Dominican missionaries. The vernacular was first consciously used for political, social and cultural values after the Spanish Era in the writings of the zarzuelistas (1900s- 1930s) up to the time of the novelists (1930s-1960s).

Villafania, Santiago B.