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Thursday, June 16, 2011


Press Release
June 15, 2011

DAGUPAN CITY – A choral competition dubbed as Sanengseng to be participated in by high school students from public and private schools has been successfully launched last Monday at the Sala del Obispo Cesar Ma. Guerrero of the Archbishop’s residence here.

To revolve on the theme “Creating Awareness of Our Revered Pangasinan Culture,” the competition is one of the components of the 64th Agew na Dagupan celebration on June 20, which will raise the consciousness of young Pangasinenses to rediscover the power and the beauty of Pangasinan language through Pangasinan songs.

Participants will all sing to the tune of the classical ballad Malinac Lay Labi.

Present during the launching ceremony were Mayor Benjamin S. Lim, Lingayen-Dagupan archdiocese Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, Councilor Jesus Canto and City Schools Division Superintendent Alma Ruby C. Torio.

Sanengseng is a Pangasinan word for “hissing sound,” a brainchild of Villegas, who together with the group of Pangasinan culture enthusiasts expressed interest in the efforts to promote Pangasinan arts and culture, particularly among young Pangasinenses who are not exposed to the finer aspects of their own arts and culture.

“The Philippines is a poor country, but in spite of poverty, we have two jewels. The first jewel is our Catholic faith. The second is our song. And it is our faith in God that carries us through in the midst of problems," the prelate said.

He also said that " it is also our song that helps us face life’s problems."

"When we are sad, we sing. When we are happy, we sing. When we feel romantic, we sing. When we are typing, we sing,” said Villegas.

“That is why we are asking our youth in Dagupan to rediscover the power and the beauty of pangasinan songs because we feel that is being lost and we do not want to lose by default," he added.

He said "we the adults wanted to teach our children that there is beauty; and dignity in Pangasinan culture and as a starter, we are asking them to learn “Malinac lay Labi,."

"Because we want them to learn, it will not be a choir competition, rather it will be a school competition so that everybody in that school is obliged to study the song and hopefully it will become their pride as a Dagupeño,” Villegas added.

Lim, on the other hand, said "ito ay paggising sa ating mga taga-Pangasinan na bigyan ng importansiya ang ating sariling salita dahil unti-unti ng nawawala ito sa mga kabataan natin ngayun."

He added that "if we are going to look at Pangasinan now, only about 30 percent of the whole population of the province speaks the language fluently.”

“In addition, magkakaroon tayo ng programa sa radio na kung saan weekly ay magkakaroon tayo ng bigkas at salita sa Pangasinan na parang dictionary type na maging gabay sa ating mga kabataan,” he disclosed.

Torio, on the other hand, said that the competition will give reverence to the Pangasinan culture.

“We will institutionalize this and we will implement a multi-base education na kung saan ang salitang Pangasinan ay gagamiting medium of instruction. Meantime, we will start with a singing competition na uumpisahan natin sa private at public secondary schools sa Dagupan,” she said.

Accordingly, by August, all participants will sing altogether in one voice the “Malinac Lay Labi” along the stretch of A.B. Fernandez Avenue at sundown while holding a lighted candle. (CIO – Joseph C. Bacani)

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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.



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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