Eminent writer pushes for a Center for Pangasinan Studies
DAGUPAN CITY, Feb 17, 2009 (Asia Pulse Data Source via COMTEX) -- Eminent writer Francisco Sionil Jose, one of the Philippine's national artists for literature, has called for the establishment of a Center for Pangasinan Studies and expressed hope that the University of Pangasinan (UPang) here will spearhead it.
The 84-year-old Jose, a native of Rosales, Pangasinan, spoke on Thursday at UPang where he was conferred a doctorate degree in humanities, honoris causa, by the school's board of regents.
After the conferment, he shared his rich experience in writing before academicians and members of the Pangasinan media in a lecture forum at the UPang conference room.
Jose, a Ramon Magsaysay awardee for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts in 1980, said the center can record the culture and contribution of Pangasinenes to the national trove.
Even as he expressed sadness that Pangasinan is waning as a literary language, he hailed efforts to revive local literature through the works of Santiago Villafania who just published a book of sonnets in Pangasinan.
Jose, whose five-novel series called the Rosales Saga which has been translated in more than 20 languages, said Pangasinan province "occupies a niche in our country's history".
At the same time, Jose rationalized the importance of literature, saying that it is in literature that the greater truths about a people and their past are found.
"Most Filipinos, our leaders included, do not consider literature important, it is only story telling and, therefore, mere entertainment. Moreover, although our national hero (Jose Rizal) was a novelist, Filipinos do not read novels," he said.
Jose stressed that writing is a vocation and writers serve as historians too.
He said perceptive scholars read the literatures of societies they are studying, adding that a people?s culture is best dredged and understood from their literature.
Jose said writers are also ultimate teachers for it is only in literature "that we learn ethics -- not in classes in religion or theology".
"The literary depiction of life and its moral dilemmas compels us to use our conscience, to make those infallible distinctions between right or wrong," he said. (PNA)
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.
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 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 Literaturefrom 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)
"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
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