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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What happened to the 'Speak Pangasinan' rule?

By Danny O. Sagun

Lingayen (7 November, PIA) -- THAT first order by Gov. Amado T. Espino to have the Pangasinan language the primary tongue in transactions within the provincial Capitol appeared not seriously taken. Tagalog or a mix of English and Filipino are mainly used by the people there, even by officials themselves, who should lead their staff in using widely their native tongue.

We could not help but sort of remind the governor when we had the chance to shoot a question in a press conference some two weeks back. We asked him what happened to his directive as we noted that the question and answer in that conference itself was done in languages other than Pangasinan. In fact, before this writer tossed the last question (of course in Pangasinan), all questions but one were all done in other tongues.

"Anta manpapasagiligak lad sikara diad pansasalitak na Pangasinan ag ira met makalikas," he replied. Indeed, he spoke liberally in our native language mixing it with English and Tagalog while answering questions by the media.

He said he was really serious in his bid to propagate the native tongue, now considered one of the major languages in the country. In line with such objective is the undergoing research on the birth of the province. He noted that the celebration of Pangasinan Day is not actually the observance for the birth of the province but a memorial day for the late Speaker Eugenio Perez.

There were attempts to dig at history as to the birth of the province, which according to some people, had used to occupy parts of La Union, Zambales and Tarlac. It is no wonder that people in Sto. Tomas in La Union and Camiling in Tarlac are very fluent in the Pangasinan language.

Pangasinan, if we believe those stories, was not just a simple province as it is now. It was actually a kingdom or fiefdom with vast territory. The legendary Princess Urduja, a mighty warrior, amazon you may call her, bespeaks of the prestige and might of this part of the country had during those olden days.

The governor really had a point in his first order of the day he assumed office. The rich culture, tradition, mores, folkways and of course, language, of Pangasinan must be maintained, preserved, propagated and expanded to the hilt.

We hope he needs no reminders about that task. And we hope to see results before his first term ends.

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A Tao 道 Sign

Le poèt de Pangasinan

Santiago B. Villafania, a bilingual Filipino poet who writes in English and in his native language of Pangasinan, is the author of poetry collections Bonsaic Verses (2012), Pinabli and Other Poems (2012), Malagilion: Sonnets tan Villanelles (2007), and Balikas na Caboloan (Voices from Caboloan, 2005) published by the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) under its UBOD New Authors Series. He has been published in several countries and translated into several languages. Villafania is one of the 11 Outstanding Pangasinan conferred with the 2010 ASNA Award for the Arts and Culture (literature) during the first Agew na Pangasinan and also the 430th Foundation Day of the province on April 2010. He is a member of Philippine PEN writes a regular weekly column for the Sunday Punch.

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A collection of ghazals in Pangasinan language. Order now at Amazon.com


A collection of haiku, senryu, tanka, haiga, and other poems in English and Pangasinan language. Order now at Amazon.com


“Santiago Villafania is a searcher with a seemingly insatiable curiosity and endurance. His quest has brought him to explore world poetry from points East and West. He is no stranger to sophisticated verse forms such the Sapphic strophe nor to the diverse permutations of the Japanese haiku. But he is not a formalist, he has daringly explored Asian and Western cultures in a very personal way and writes his mind with a daring, invigorating, aesthetically pleasing ease. In his poetry Villafania displays not only a breadth, but it feels very much like a breath of fresh air.” – Ute Margaret Saine, poet, critic, translator, past president of PEN Orange County and the former editor of the California Poetry Quarterly

“Villafania’s emergence as a poet is a fine moment to celebrate. Another voice from the regions augurs a richer body of writing that Filipinos can hold up as a mirror of our native culture.” – Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist for Literature

The Beloved Idiom | A Reading of Villafania’s ‘Pinabli & other poems’ by Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo


LCCN.: 2010338612

Order your copy now at CreateSpace or Amazon.com :)

"The publication of Malagilion: Sonnets tan Villanelles by Santiago B. Villafania 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."A Boost to Pangasinan Literature from Breaking Signs by Cirilo F. Bautista (Philippine Panorama, 16 Dec. 2007, pp.25-26)

"Villafania is not only a visionary poet, he is a linguistic philosopher who codifies the origin of language and culture, dissects the myths and the common beliefs of the people against the urban legends, juxtaposes the literary tradition against the modern influences by dialectically infusing them in his poetic revelation of truth."Poetic Revelation in Language and Culture by Danny C. Sillada (Manila Bulletin, 12 May 2008, pp. F1-F2)

Photos: Book Launching at the Pearl Manila Hotel, 5 Feb. 2008


"Santiago Villafania's Balikas ed Caboloan certainly has reinvigorated the anlong tradition of Pangasinan that for a long period of time suffered silence from the hands of writers more attuned to English writing. Characteristically anacbanua, Villafania's poetry echoes his predecessors and presages a promising era for young writers in Pangasinan." – Dr. Marot Nelmida-Flores

Thesis: Bilay ed Caboloan - Reconfiguration of Space using a New Historicist Lens by Ayesah Tecson

from Pangasinan 'Anlong': Oral tradition into the 21st century published in Manila Times / Sunday Magazine, March 13 & 20, 2011.

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Translations of Sonnet To A Pilgrim Soul in different languages.

Translations of Erolalia in German, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Bulgarian, and Hindi language. And here is the 1st version of the poem published in The Sunday Times (Manila Times, 11.23.2003).

Six of my poems translated into Arabic by Prof. Abdul-Settar Abdul-Latif (English Dept., College of Education, University of Basrah, Iraq) and have been published in TEXT - the Cultural Monthly Journal, Issue No.13

Swansong of the sea with translations in Italian, Arabic, Hindi, and Spanish.

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