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Reviews of Filipino Writings...

Here's a short review of one of the Filipino Writings I've made. I've chosen the Cebuano Writing here since I live in Cebu. I'd like to share this with you for you to know how the lifestyle of Cebuanos gradually change through the reflection of this poem written by Vicente Bandillo. Through this Cebuano writing, you can imagine how the poet observe the Cebuanos behavior adopt the modern living in a funny way.

Reviews of Filipino Writings

 

 

POETRY

 

Kinabuhing Sugbuanon

Piux Kabahar

 

1.       Adunay usa ka baryo

Nga makisapot kay,

Bisan wa gayuy ilito

Basta ispot lag bistido . . .

 

2.       May usa dinhi ka daga

Tolo ka klaseng linaktan

Lain ang paso sa plasa

Lain sa ilang kosina,

Lain sa mga karsada

Ug kon tipunon and tanan,

Lonlon lang gayud inuslan;

Daw ang umang sa katunggan

Nga nihalo sa bayanan,

Nagtangotango ang linaktan . . .

 

3.       Retokiha ang kilay . . .

Itumi ang pilok . . .

Kolori ang aping . . .

Puwahi ang ngabil . . .

Maayo nang bata!

Maorang birhen sa kotta . . .

Inig-anod sa tina . . . ay, imahen sa agta!

 

4.       Dato ganiy kabuangan

Walay kisaw ug way saba;

Pobre gani ang mapukan,

Hasta baki mokalakala . . .

Cebuano Life

 

 

1.       There is a barrio

That dotes on clothes.

Nothing to eat? No matter,

They’re all well dressed. . .

 

2.       There was one girl here

Who had three ways of walking;

One for promenading in the plaza,

One for the kitchen

One for the streets,

And when you add them up

She copied them all;

Like the marsh snail

Out of its shell,

Walking like crazy. . .

 

3.       Touch up the eyebrows. . .

Darken the lashes. . .

Color the cheeks. . .

Redden the lips. . .

Lovely girl!

Like the Virgin of the Fort. . .

When the tint is washed away. . .ay, image of the agta!

 

4.       When the rich are blemished

No bustle and no comment;

But if the poor fall,

Even the frogs croak derisively.

 

(1929)

 

Translation by Vicente Bandillo

 

Kinabuhing Sugbuanon poem depicts the witty and and humorous observations on the changing social values – the growing materialism and over-emphasis on outward appearance of Cebuanos. Hence, they value more on extrinsic factors. But how do these social values evolve? Why do Cebuanos value more on material things? Isn’t it Cebuanos are typically religious and focus more on spiritual things?

To answer these questions, let’s analyze the poem stanza by stanza and derived logical answers and conclusion. Phrases and sentences emphasized are in boldface.

1.       There is a barrio

That dotes on clothes.

Nothing to eat? No matter,

They’re all well dressed. . .

The first stanza reflects the poverty and the belief system of a Cebuano. "Bahala ug walay makaon, basta nindot lang ug sul-obonon.” For Cebuanos, dress or physical appearance is more important than food.

2.       There was one girl here

Who had three ways of walking;

One for promenading in the plaza,

One for the kitchen

One for the streets,

And when you add them up

She copied them all;

Like the marsh snail

Out of its shell,

Walking like crazy. . .

 

3.       Touch up the eyebrows. . .

Darken the lashes. . .

Color the cheeks. . .

Redden the lips. . .

Lovely girl!

Like the Virgin of the Fort. . .

When the tint is washed away. . .ay, image of the agta!

 

The second stanza shows how a Cebuano copies the lifestyle (ways of walking) of anyone he likes. Anyone’s lifestyle could refer to Western, European or other Asian lifestyle.  Why does a Cebuano do that? Imitating other’s lifestyle doesn’t mean that a Cebuano has no sense of self-identity and originality. Back in history, Cebuanos’ lifestyle is greatly influenced by the Americans since their occupation during First World War. Modernization and commercialism evolve in Cebuano society. Cebuanos now highly adore beauty, fame and even power. Cebuanos’ simplicity and conservatism slowly turn into liberalism (Like the marsh snail out of its shell). This shows the dynamic lifestyle of Cebuanos. Cebuanos develop open-mindedness and accept change. But why do Cebuanos feel awkward in accepting change (Walking like crazy…)? It’s normal for a human being to think, feel and behave awkwardly when doing something new. It’s part of the learning process based on social learning theory of Bandura (Kassin, 2006). And human beings have the capacity of self-reflection and growth. That’s why Cebuanos are trying their best to imitate things that’s good for them in physical aspect (Lovely girl) even it’s awkward at first. What is awkward here is that they tend to give more importance to extrinsic factors than intrinsic factors – which is not good for Cebuanos in terms of spirituality. Increasing numbers of those who don’t attend regular masses or worhip services are evident. To live a healthy life, balance of all aspects of life should be observed. Cebuanos pretend to be somebody else by imitating others but in the end they can’t hide their true identity as Filipinos which are ‘balat-kayumanggi’ in nature (…image of the agta).


4.       When the rich are blemished

No bustle and no comment;

But if the poor fall,

Even the frogs croak derisively.

The poet compared the rich and the poor in the last stanza. Only rich people in Cebu, majority of them are Chinese and Koreans , can afford the most sophisticated products of modernization and can easily emulate the high standard of living or lifestyle of foreign countries. How about the poor people? They just envy what the rich have and do. That’s why the poor are doing things to satisfy their wants. To feel rich or ‘sosyal’, the poor drink, smoke and buy unnecessary things. 

They go to bars, clubs and high class beach resorts. They do these things without carefully thinking future financial setbacks. It’s a shame for the poor (..if the poor fall, even the frogs croak derisively). While the rich don’t worry if they are subject to stigma because they have lots of money to bargain anything they want. Money gives them power (When the rich are blemished, No bustle and comment).

Cebuano life in general is characterized by materialism and over-emphasis on outward appearance (Lumbera, 2001). The poet inflicts humor and wit in this poem to let the Cebuanos realize… "laugh at your mistakes but learn from them”.


References:

Lumbera, B. (2001). Filipinos Writing: Philippine Literature from the Regions (pp. 381-422). Pasig City. Anvil Publishing, Inc.

Kassin, Saul (2006). Psychology. Microsoft® Student 2007 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation.

Metro Cebu (2008). Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia. Retrieved July 10, 2008.

Enriquez, V. G. (1977). Filipino Psychology in the Third World. Quezon City. Philippine Psychological Research House.

 

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"Reviews of Filipino Writings" was written by Mary under the Literature category. It has been read 5473 times and generated 1 comments. The article was created on and updated on 24 April 2013.
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