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Wednesday, July 01, 2020



March 16, 2001

Hiligaynon and Kinaray-a speakers would always joke Aklanons as pihit. It started when Datu Bangkaya could not pronounce letter l . Because his followers loved him so much, they followed the way their leader spoke. Later, his method of speaking became the correct way. So the letter l became the letter e. We therefore have baeay instead of balay; baeo instead of balo. But not all L in Aklan is changed to e. We therefore have balot, Kalibo, Balete. There is no rule how to change l to e. It is only the Aklanon natives who know when to use e instead of l. But I have a theory, that Aklanon words that existed before the coming of the Spaniards had no letter l.  But words that were introduced after the arrival of the Spaniards carried letter l.  So we have bala, and bilding, lugar.
Another idiosyncrasy the Aklanon language has is its vowels. I think the only language in the Philippines that has seven continuous vowels in one word is Aklanon. For example we have nagaueo-ueo, (cajoling), and nagakaeaeaeam, (itching all).
This is one reason why Aklanons wanted to become independent province from Capiz. This dream came true when Pres. Ramon Magsaysay signed into law R.A. 1414 on April 26 1956. But this separation was just a confirmation that Aklan was once a separate province. We can recall that when the Ten Bornean Datus came to Panay, they separated this island into three sakup: Irong-Irong, Hamtik, and Aklan. Take note that there was no Capiz. So I think that Capiz was once a part of Aklan. Capiz became the seat of the Spanish government in that part of Panay when they noticed that Capiz was more progressive than Aklan.
Contemporary Aklanon poetry writing in Aklan is still a toddler, but very much alive. It started with Dr. Leoncio P. Deriada.
Since the first writing workshop held in Kalibo in 1991 conducted by Dr.  Deriada of the U.P. in the Visayas, many Aklanon poets wrote poems in  Aklanon and Filipino.
This is historical because for many years, Aklanon poets have been writing in English and in Tagalog. As far as I know, it was Manuel Laserna who started writing poems in Aklanon.  Whether his Aklanon poems were published or not, I do not know. Two of his poems were translated from Aklanon to  English in the book Texts and Contexts of Lucilla Hosellos.
Some of those contemporary works were anthologized in Patubas and in Ani 21 (Aklanon issue). Both publications were edited by Dr. Deriada.
Some of the active Aklanon poets are the following: John Barrios, Alexander de Juan, Pett Candido, Joeffrey Ricafuente, Am I. Roselo, Roman de la Cruz, Rowena Tamayo, Sumra I. De la Cruz, Velleyzarius I. De la Cruz, Monalisa Tabernilla, Greg Ibesate, Dominador Ilio, Ronnie Inventor, Abou Ben Dianco, Allan Corro, Benny Tirazona, Mila dela Rosa,  and myself. Except for Dominador Ilio, all of them were nurtured by Dr. Deriada.
Consequently, some of them have won awards. Alex de Juan won first prize in the 1994 NCCA All-Visayan Poetry Contest (Aklanon Division). He was also chosen as an Outstanding Student of the Year 1995 by the College of Arts and Sciences, U.P. in the Visayas on Literature. John Barrios is the 1995 Cultural Center of the Philippine grantee for Short Story in Aklanon and was chosen Outstanding Student of the Year 1995 by the CAS-UPV on Theater Arts.  Roman de la Cruz, known as the Patriach of Aklanon writers, won first prize during the 1994 Creative Writing Workshop held in Mt. Makiling.
Years back, Aklanon poets and fictionist have been clamoring for a magazine that could publish their literary outputs, they be in English or in Aklanon. That dream has not been fulfilled.
What has been fulfilled so far is a space for poems in Aklanon and in English in the Aklan Reporter, a weekly newspaper used to be edited and published by Roman de la Cruz.
In answer to that, the Akean Literary Circle through my encouragement founded a one-page monthly poetry journal. Entitled Bueabod, its first issue came out in January 1994. This journal has featured, among others, the works of Roman de la Cruz, Dominador Ilio, Tomas Talledo, Felino Garcia, and Edel Cruz, a Palanca awardee. Since then, it came out irregularly. Today it is hibernating. The good point in this journal is that many of the poems in this journal were anthologized in Patubas and in Ani (Aklanon issue).  Also Isagani Cruz had selected some of the poems here as the best poems  in his monthly selection. This journal is edited by John Barrios, Alex de Juan and myself.
The editors of Bueabod hope to continue publishing this journal despite financial constraints. One of their missions is to erase the idea among Filipino writers that there is only one literature in Panay and that is Hiligaynon literature. The truth of the matter is that, we Aklanon writers do not want to be included in the Hiligaynon literature.  We want our literature to be called Aklanon literature, nothing else. The move of Dr. Deriada to call the literatures in Panay and Negros as Western Visayas Literature is a better term, rather than Hiligaynon Literature.  To us that is Hiligaynon colonialism.
It is true that there are not so many creative writers in Aklan. But Aklanons have produced poems, short stories in Aklanon and in English.  Novels in Tagalog have been written by Joi Barrios of the U.P. in Diliman. N.V.M. Gonzales, by the way is an Aklanon by blood. His father is from Aklan.  Jose Dalisay, Jr., that multi-awardee playwright, also from U.P. Diliman,  is also an Aklanon. His father is from Ibajay, Aklan. Dominador Ilio, one of the pillars in Philippine Literature is also from Malinao, Aklan.
If those writers who want to label us Aklanon writers as Hiligaynon writers, I suggest that they first read these two simple lines:
Ro kaeamay gaeapuyot sa kaeaha.
Ro anwang gaeugaeog sa euganeogan.
If they can read them without twisting their tongues and understand each word, without getting help from an Aklanon, then probably they have the right to claim that Aklanon poems, riddles, and short stories should be part of Hiligaynon literature.
Otherwise, they should think thrice.



Melchor F. Cichon

Inay, puwede eon baea kita magpamisa?
Total naga-asaw-asaw eon lang man ag ro baha hay owa eon sa karsada.
Ro linti nga anay nagsiad it eangit hay napaeong eon man.
Ro daeogdog nga anay gabayo kang dughan hay haumpawan eon gid man
Ag ro baybay nga nagwenaeas anay hay nagahueagok eon lang man.
Ro baeangaw nga nagpanago sa kilat ag sa nagahagunos nga hangin
Hay nagahiyumhiyom eon sa sidlangan.

Pagkatapos it misa, Inay,
(Pila eon ngani makaron ro baeayran sa misa rikyem?
Si Padre Salve baea gademanda pa gihapon it down payment
Bag-o imaw magsuksok ka anang sutana?)
Sueoron dayon naton sa karsada, sa kaeanasan, sa kagueangan
Ratong mga silak nga nagkaeabali, nagkaeataktak
Sa pageusot sa madamoe ag maitum nga gaeom
Masabwagan eang kita it kahayag.
Kon aton sandang hikit-an
Aton sandang  haearan it eab-as ag bag-ong buskad nga sampaguita.
Kon may matipon eon kita nga kuwarta,
Patindugan naton sanda’t graniting rebolto sa plasa.

Toto, indi eang kita anay magpamisa
Ay ro kaagahon hay gaeagiik pa
Ag ro kaeangitan sa bibi’t tueondan,
Sa pageunip it adlaw,  hay mapueapuea pa.
Owa’t eabot kara, gabaha pa ro dagsa sa karsada ag sa plasa.
Indi kuno ra malempiyuhan it Metro Aides
Ay sinipa eon sanda
Bangud ro gintagana nga inugsweldo kanda
Hay ginsueod sa ibang buesa.
Toto, mayad pa hay mangamuyo eang anay kita
 Nga ro nakaeusot nga silak
Sa maitum ag madamoe nga gaeom
Hay indi nagtiurok sa atong tagipusuon.

*This is the original title of The Re-emergence of Aklanon Literature.

Itsong/the renaisance of the Aklanon literature

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