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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Commentary: Filipino, Pilipino and Tagalog

By Ricardo Ma. Duran Nolasco

TAGALOG, PILIPINO AND FILIPINO ARE LABELS by which the national language has come to be known at different periods of our history. In the early 1900s, people of different ethnic origins were communicating with each other with an evolving Manila-based lingua franca. Commerce and trade motivated the need for this common language. The elite spoke Spanish or English.

In the 1930s the Quezon government chose Tagalog as the basis for our national language, making it in effect the national language. It was to be the symbol of our nationhood, much like the flag and the anthem. It was to be "enriched primarily through the Philippine tongues" although the law also provided for its purification. It was also to be taught in school as a subject.

In 1959, a memorandum from the Department of Education changed the name of the language (and the subject) to "Pilipino" to remove the regional bias that the term "Tagalog" evoked. This didn't work. Instead, two strains of the national language developed. The first was the school variety, which abhorred "loans" from other languages and was difficult to learn even for native Tagalogs because of the way it was taught.

The other was a liberal and vibrant lingua franca. It was predominantly oral with a Tagalog core, used by the masses and propagated by the mass media with all the local contributions, accents, and borrowings from English and Spanish. In 1987, the makers of the new constitution finally gave recognition to this idiom. They renamed it "Filipino" to signal its non-exclusivist and multilingual character. It accepted contributions from all Philippine and foreign languages and it was used as the official language and medium of instruction, together with English.

Are "Tagalog," "Pilipino" and "Filipino" different languages? No. Someone speaking in Tagalog or Pilipino can be understood by anyone claiming to speak in Filipino, and vice versa. » read more...

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer (11/14/2008)

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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.

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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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