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Friday, July 15, 2011


DAGUPAN CITY – For the love of the “dying” Pangasinan language, Mayor Benjamin S. Lim is personally sponsoring a 30- minute radio program dubbed as “Pinablin Taoir” to be aired over Aksyon Radyo Pangasinan (ARP) starting July 15 and every Friday thereafter from 8 to 9 a.m.

“I love the Pangasinan language and I speak the language pretty well because of my mother who is a pure Pangasinense. That is why, I am passionately interested in the rejuvenation of the language to be the common tongue once again among residents of Dagupan and the province as well,” said Lim.

He said the project aims to arrest the interest of every Pangasinan speaking people to make sure that usage of the language passes from generation to generation without threat of extinction.

It has been observed that Pangasinan’s vernacular language is in danger of being lost due to the entry of other languages in the province. The threat is said to have come from the Ilokanos and Tagalogs.

Contributing largely to the slow death of Pangasinan tongue is the practice of more parents in using Tagalog at home purportedly to familiarize their kids with Filipino, which is used as the official teaching medium along with English in schools.

This is so because of the imposition of the national language when former President Ferdinand E. Marcos imposed the bilingual policy in 1974, which required Filipino and English to be the mediums of instruction.

This practice downgrades the language and turns it into a minor tongue, instead of being one of the major languages in the country.

Erwin Fernandez, a former history professor at the University of the Philippines and author of the children’s story entitled “Si Liwawa, say pusan agto gabay so ondangol” (Liwawa, the cat who refused to bark) was quoted in Vera Files to have said “This educational system made it impossible for the Pangasinense children to think and speak in Pangasinan.”

“We have surrendered our right to our inherent language to other languages. This is the reason why there is a decline in our own culture,” Fernandez said.

In the same file, Pangasinan poet Santiago Villafania was also quoted to have expressed different opinion by not entirely putting the blame on the other languages being used in the province. He said it is the Pangasinenses who refuse to use their language and realize that its inherent beauty is something that is not to be ashamed of.

The program is anchored by ARP's veteran broadcaster Orly Navarro along with known Pangasinan historians and writers like Emilio Jovellanos, a lexicographer or specialist in the vernacular vocabulary, who authored a Pangasinan-English dictionary and others.(CIO-Joseph 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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