Director: Christopher Gozum | Producer: Christopher Gozum
Genre: Drama | Produced In: 2009 | Story Teller's Country: Philippines
Synopsis: A middle class and Western-educated poet (Umaanlong) returns to the Pangasinan region, the land of his birth and his ancestors from which he was uprooted for a very long time. He is sick with a lingering physical, mental and spiritual illness. He meets the Musia (Muse) who takes care of him during his illness. The Musia performs a series of rituals that identifies the cause of the Umaanlong’s disease and appeases the ancestral and nature spirits inhabiting sacred spaces in Pangasinan’s physical landscape. While in half-sleep, the Umaanlong’s soul leaves his diseased body. The soul flight transports the Umaanlong to places and time zones in Pangasinan’s landscape and history where he undergoes cosmic immersion, a deep and intense spiritual experience for chosen people like him where the self gets absorbed in the universe. The Umaanlong discovers the Ogaw (child) who serves as a spirit guide in his magical journey. In this cosmic immersion, the Umaanlong undergoes a series of gradual and violent transformations similar to the fermentation of fish sauce, slaughtering of livestock, pounding and shaping of burning metal rods in the anvil, the moulding of the clay into pottery, and the baking of the moist bricks in the fire of the kiln. These series of rituals are tests a novice undergoes when he is called and destined to serve his people. Through this soul travel, the uprooted poet reclaims his primal and ancestral connection to the water (danum), to the land (uma), and to the people (katooan), key figures that mark Pangasinan’s landscape, history and identity. Like his ancestors who belonged to the exclusive ranks of traditional healers, storytellers, and wise leaders in the ancient communities of Pangasinan, the Umaanlong completes these series of difficult tests in a novice’s initiation. The Umaanlong returns to the real world offering himself and his art towards the humanistic progress of his community and the people of Pangasinan. In this renewed and higher state of being, the Umaanlong reunites and becomes one with the Musia.
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