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Monday, March 17, 2014


Anacbanua is an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement in Pangasinan toward the beginning of the 21st century, founded by poet Santiago Villafania, filmmaker Christopher Gozum, historian Erwin Fernandez, and poet Melchor Orpilla.

This movement aims to help revitalize contemporary Pangasinan arts and culture through any of the following: by acknowledging and supporting works by Pangasinenses and non-Pangasinenses that help to revitalize contemporary Pangasinan art and culture; initiating projects that would contribute to the revitalization movement for Pangasinan art and culture; creating a network, venue, and forum for Pangasinense artists, Pangasinense cultural workers, Pangasinense intellectuals and scholars, and the people of Pangasinan to collaborate on meaningful projects that would contribute on the revitalization movement for Pangasinan art and culture; and acknowledging the contributions of an earlier generation of Pangasinan artists and intellectuals in the twentieth century and even earlier who have made very important contributions to Pangasinan’s artistic and cultural life.

Some of these intellectuals and native artists include Juan Saingan, Felipe Quintos, Narciso Corpus, Antonio Solis, Juan Mejía, Catalino Palisoc, Pablo Mejia, Juan Villamil, Maria Magsano, Insyong Tamayo, Fr.Mariano Pellicer, Rayner, Fr. Lorenzo Fernandez Cosgaya, Dr. Perla Nelmida, etc. The movement will also resurface and acknowledge unknown or even anonymous artists and intellectuals who have also made important contributions to Pangasinan’s artistic and cultural life in the past.

Anacbanua as an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement also aims to help reawaken a strong sense of ethnic pride or a Pangasinan nationalist sentiment among all Pangasinenses in the homeland and also in the diaspora. This could be achieved by making the works available and accessible to all Pangasinenses using new media like the Internet and bringing the works and making them available to the youth of Pangasinan.

The movement embraces works, contributions, experts, individuals, and groups who have made significant contributions and works to Pangasinan’s artistic and cultural life through the following fields and disciplines: Literature, Visual Arts, Music, Dance, Theater, Cinema, Linguistics, Cultural Studies, History, Anthropology, Archeology, Journalism, Ethnobotany, Silviculture, Agriculture, Culinary Arts, Publishing, and New Media (Internet).


Anacbanua is an ancient term in the Pangasinan language whose two words anac and banua are also a part of the Proto-Malayo Polynesian vocabulary. Anacbanua refers to the original inhabitants of a given place or settlement particularly those who had been born in the village who are also the cultivators of the land. It is an endonym, a name ancient Pangasinenses call themselves by, a claim to the land they founded or reclaimed for the members of the ethnic community to retain privileges and ascendancy amidst foreign intrusions. Thus, anacbanua serves as an ethnic identifier, a cultural marker that separates the Pangasinan from the Aeta, Zambal, Iloko and other Cordillera peoples who had come to live among them. During the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, the term was used to designate the indigenous elite of the Pangasinan province.[1]

Christopher Gozum

Christopher Gozum is an independent Filipino filmmaker currently working as a medical videographer and video editor in the Middle East. He was born in the town of Bayambang, province of Pangasinan in the northern Philippines.

Gozum studied B.A.Film in the University of the Philippines and he is an alumnus of the 2006 Asian Film Academy (AFA) fellowship program in Busan, South Korea. He received the Palanca Awards for Literature for his two full-length plays in 2001 and 2002.

Gozum’s independent films have won awards and received citations in the Philippines and abroad including the Cultural Center of the Philippines Award for Alternative Film and Video (2005), as well as the Best Short Film (2007), the Ishmael Bernal Award for Most Outstanding Young Filipino Filmmaker (2008), the Lino Brocka Grand Prize (2009) and the Best Director Award (2009), all in the Cinemanila International Film Festival. Currently, he is a recipient of the 2013 Ani ng Dangal Award for Cinema conferred by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in the Philippines.

Anacbanua (The Child of the Sun) which he produced and directed, is the first feature-length film in the Pangasinan language. The film received the Prix des Signes in the Cinema In Transgression section of the 10th International Festival Signes de Nuit in Paris. Anacbanua also received citations from Filipino film bloggers and film critics as one of the best Filipino films in 2009 and one of the 100 Philippine modern movie classics. His second feature-length Pangasinan film Lawas Kan Pinabli (Forever Loved) also received citations from Filipino film bloggers and film critics as one of the top ten Best Filipino Films of 2011.

Gozum’s digital films have been screened at international film festivals and new media art platforms all over the Philippines, as well as in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Singapore, Bandung, Jakarta, Busan, Jeonju, Chennai, Mumbai, Sydney, Honolulu, San Francisco, Toronto, Patras, Paris, Osnabrueck, Prague, Edinburgh, Madrid, and Kyoto.

In 2007, Gozum founded his independent film company Sine Caboloan committed to producing cutting edge films about the Pangasinan province and its’ people in the homeland and in the diaspora. He advocates for the revitalization of Pangasinan’s language and culture through independent cinema. Currently, Gozum is developing a one-acre site in his hometown of Bayambang called Ligliwa Artist’s Garden into an integrated natural farm and food forest that will serve the following functions: an arboretum of useful Philippine native medicinal plants and important Philippine native forest trees ; a site inspired by permaculture for sustainable living ; and headquarters for his independent film company Sine Caboloan.

Presently, Gozum has completed a new feature-length experimental documentary film called Lawas Kan Pinabli (Forever Loved) between 2011 to 2012. He is also preparing for two new independent film projects namely Dapol Tan Payawar Na Tayug 1931 (The Ashes and Ghosts of Tayug 1931), a feature-length experimental film, and Luyag ‘Da’ra’y Anino (A Kingdom of Shadows), a feature-length narrative film.

Erwin S. Fernandez

Born in Urdaneta City, Erwin S. Fernandez is a historian, scholar, writer and translator in Pangasinan and advocate of Pangasinan studies. He graduated with AB History, cum laude and MA History from the University of the Philippines in Diliman where he wrote the full-length biography of Leon Ma. Guerrero III as his MA thesis. Once a recipient of the UP Presidential Scholarship, he was awarded the first Asia Culture Academy Youth Workshop in 2006 at Gwangju, South Korea and the 2009 Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Initiative on East and Southeast Asian Archaeology and Early History, which afforded him to attend a summer archaeological fieldwork at the UI in Chicago. A member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Gamma Mu international honor societies for his academic achievements in the university, he also took some prizes in Pangasinan poetry contests.

His passion for Pangasinan language and culture took him to lead first as vice-president of the Ulupan na Pansiansiay Salitan Pangasinan and editor of the Balon Silew, a quarterly magazine in Pangasinan, and later president of the same. In 2010 he released his first children's book, Say Pasirayew ya Malapati. In collaboration with two other editors, he edited the first anthology of Pangasinan literature, Tagano ed Kelang. His second children's story, Si Liwawa say pusan ag to labay so ondangol, was read in an Inquirer Read-Along activity in Dagupan City in 2011 and featured in Inbox of VERA files.

A former member of the faculty at UP, he went home to Pangasinan in 2006 as he realized the need to revitalize Pangasinan culture. Since then, he mingled with like-minded Pangasinans who are also keen on resurrecting Pangasinan literature, culture and identity. Nonetheless, his literary activities did not prevent him from engaging in intellectual pursuits so that he established a one-man research center, the Abung na Panagbasay Pangasinan [House of Pangasinan Studies]. His first project dealt with the relationship between Pangasinans and Ibalois that was soon published as an article in The Cordillera Review followed by an article on early Pangasinan published in Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society. This article gave way to a book, a research project funded by the Sumitomo Foundation, which explored and inquired on the ethnogenesis or the origins of the Pangasinan people and their early history and relationship with other Philippine, Southeast Asian, Chinese and Japanese peoples. From a somewhat remote past about his people, he, then, moved to understand the history of his hometown with a grant from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) dispelling some misconceptions about its foundation that silenced if not erased the role and identity of Pangasinans.

His research interests are varied and wide-ranging from international relations and post-colonial studies to Philippine and Pangasinan Studies. He wrote on US policy and the Arab-Israeli conflict, Philippine military, anarchism, Ho Chi Minh, decolonization, multilingual policy in education, Rizal, early Southeast Asia, Sabah and social movements. His essay on the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN) in the late 1960s was included in a book published by Berghahn Books in 2012. Very recently, his article on the Malaysian involvement in the rebellion in Mindanao in the context of Marcos policy on the claim to Sabah was published in Social Transformations: Journal of the Global South.

Santiago B. Villafania

Santiago B. Villafania, a bilingual Filipino poet who writes in English and in his native language of Pangasinan, is the author of five poetry collections: Ghazalia: Maralus ya Ayat (2013), Bonsaic Verses (2012), Pinabli & Other Poems (2012), Malagilion: Sonnets tan Villanelles (2007), and Balikas na Caboloan (2005) published by the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts under its UBOD New Authors Series.

Villafania's works in the vernacular are some of the most representative, if not among the few that comprise that Pangasinan contemporary literary body. His second book, Malagilion was a finalist in the 2007 National Book Award for Best Book of Poetry; and won the Gawad Komisyon (Gantimpalang Tamayo sa Tulang Pangasinan) for Pangasinan poetry in 2007. He is one of the 11 Outstanding Pangasinenses and recipient of the 1st Asna Award for Arts and Culture (Literature) in 2010.

He has been published/anthologized in several countries and some of his poems have been translated into several languages, including Spanish, Italian, Arabic, and Hindi. His unpublished book of poems ‘Murtami’ was translated into Hindi entitled ‘Premanjali’ and was released in the New Delhi World Book Fair in 2013.

He is a member of the Philippine PEN, a commissioner for the Pangasinan Historical and Cultural Commission, and currently writes a literature and arts column for the “Sunday Punch”.


[1] Fernandez, Erwin (Urdaneta City: Abung na Panagbasay Pangasinan, 2012). Puerto del Japon: Early Pangasinan in Luzon before and after the coming of the Japanese and the Spaniards. pp. 31, 34.

Link: http://anacbanua.blogspot.com

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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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