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Sign

August 7th, 2013 No comments
for Antonio M. Tino Sr.

How Grandpa lost
the arch of his A
and the summit of his T

just went past
the curiosity
of the crowd.

His strokes, for long time,
stopped trains at his station
or released them for the next—

red
semaphores waving,
the railwayman's whistle.

Then, they
went still,
silent. Yesterday,

a train passed by,
it didn't stop.
Its livery

were the curve of his A,
the summit of his T
and the sage of his Sr.
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Antisipasyon

August 7th, 2013 No comments
Victor Dennis T. Nierva, Poetry
Jireh S. Pasano, Music/Performance

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Book launches this August

August 6th, 2013 No comments
.
The Naga We Know
(A Collection of Essay on the Heart of Bikol)
Anvil Publishing, Inc.
Edited by Paz Verdades M. Santos
with Kristian S. Cordero
 To be launched on August 31, 2013, 4pm,
at the 2/F Atrium, SM City Naga

Kinunot, Kinalas, Kinamot
(A Collection of Essays from Isarog Through Bikol Land
to Lofty Mayon Peak with No Apologies
to the Ateneo Marching Song)
Goldprint Publishing House
Luis Ruben M. General
Jose B. Perez
Tito Genova Valiente
 To be launched on August 16, 2013, 5pm,
at the Cereza (Ristorante Grissini),
Magsaysay Avenue, Naga City

Designs of both books are by Victor Dennis T. Nierva.
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Naga by train

August 6th, 2013 No comments
.


I AM not a Nagueño. This makes all the difference. Because this will be all about going to Naga, passing by and through this city and even leaving this place, over and over again.

I grew up along the railroad tracks of sleepy Lupi, in the province of Camarines Sur, under the shadows of its hilly, rugged contours that are lush all throughout the year. From my town by the train, it takes around two hours to Naga.

In the 80s, when the train station of Lupi was at its grandest constitution, the structure of red brick roof and log-paneled exteriors was the gateway of the town. Its elevated platform greeted as much as it bid farewell to so many individuals, families, visitors—names who have touched the place and whom the place had touched in return.

There were only two probable destinations when one leaves Lupi: the far, full of uncertainty that is Manila, and Naga, someplace I am so sure that’s so close to my town’s heart. My first and only travel from Lupi to Manila was when I was eight and the story wasn’t so pleasing to share. But my travels to Naga from my town were many and most were filled with good tales; many too were my travels through Naga my father’s town of Nabua.

The famed train Mayon Limited would pass by Lupi at around four in the morning when the town was still, at sleep and blanketed in chill of early morning. We would board the train, disturbing passengers in deep sleep and asking for spare seats for a more comfortable ride to—or through—Naga. I was a curious kid, everything outside the window of the train mattered. But we were left with the rhythm of iron wheels smiting rail cuts, the uphill grunts of the diesel locomotive, and the occasional rumblings underneath suggesting that we were traversing a bridge to give us the idea as to where most probably were we. Outside, darkness gave no difference between the coconut groves and the heavens. The early morning ride wouldn’t allow the chance to sightsee while until an hour and a half into the trip, when far through the rolling rice fields of Libmanan and Pamplona everyone would catch the first faint sight of Naga City—a mere speck in the thinning fog, hinted by the spires of the Cathedral, the Basilica, the PNB Building and the transmitter towers of radio stations. There’s still thirty minutes left; so near yet still far.

I knew very well what would come next.

After a very long stretch of very straight tracks from Pamplona station, the train would negotiate a rather broad curve. Outside, rice paddies get freckled with talisay trees. Inside the coaches, Naga-bound passengers were awake though many eyes still bore a bit of sleep. Slowly, luggage secured on overhead racks are retrieved with care—traveling bags and plastic sacks of this and that, many were simply pasalubong from elsewhere—until everything is counted and set for detraining.

Mayon Limited, after ten hours or more from Manila and almost two hours from my town Lupi, would come to a slow down until the familiar welcoming sound of reverberating iron beams underneath us announce that we were crossing Mabolo Bridge, over the Naga River, allowing us the entrance to the heart of the Heart of Bikol.

Train personnel in uniforms that looked military would remind everyone in loud, rousing voice that we were already in Naga. The train would come to a halt along a ground-level platform of a station which signage until now continues to bear the city’s legend-filled name with the figure 377km underneath—its distance from Tutuban. Perhaps it has been like that since the first time trains arrived in Naga in the 1930s when the south-bound line of the Manila Railroad Company was finally completed to permanently change the face of Bikol, the railroad region of the Philippines. The railroad was the first efficient long distance mass transport system that had served Naga, and for this, she may even be tagged as a railroad city. Like my hometown of Lupi, the face of Naga has been shaped and reshaped by trains ferrying people and produces in and out of its boundaries.

Passengers disembark along with the burdens of their luggage, hoping that the city, with its genial and pious disposition, would unburden them. After all, travels to Naga are always either a homecoming or a pilgrimage. For a station in between stations, Naga possesses the feel of a terminal, of a place where journeys end, and because of this, when trains leave Naga for Legazpi City down south, it is always a new journey, one from Naga City.

When my family would travel to Iriga, our drop off point to my father’s hometown of Nabua, Naga meant breakfast of goto (rice porridge) with tripe and boiled egg which my folks would get from stalls just outside the station. It was a breakfast that was always consumed with gusto as Mayon Limited slowly pulled away from the city, while houses outside the window went scarcer and scarcer, accompanied by the bizarre cadence of the sound of wheels on unwielded rail segments along Naga-Legazpi section. It was noisier but lilting and it made everything seem a bit faster. As for the goto, itwas just so good so that years after as a college student boarding in the city, I once went to the Naga station one morning for it only to find out all the food stalls and stores gone.

And gone too was Mayon Limited that time.

I was in high school the last time I left Naga for Lupi by train. It moved away from the platform around five in the afternoon, hesitantly at first, then gingerly coming to quickness until I found myself again staring at the expanse of rice fields that separated me farther and farther from a city that was significantly larger and bigger than the city in my childhood. It was turning once more into a speck. Against the dusk, it flickered and signaled it was there.

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Antisipasyón, 2nd Ed now out

July 13th, 2012 No comments

Antisipasyón asín Ibá pang mga Rawitdáwit sa Bikol asín Inglés
(Anticipation and Other Poems in Bikol and English)
Second Edition, Ateneo de Naga University Press, 2012

The poems in Antisipasyón happen in the ambiguity that sprawls numinous between the terminals of departure and arrival. This is the contact or liminal zone where the freight of meanings and the languages that ferry them are kept in perpetual abeyance—prayed for, expected, glimpsed at, and yet never quite shapely or certain enough to be known or grasped by even the most eager of interpretive hands. The wonder of it all is that in the company of Nierva’s fastidious and implacably situated imagination, this transitivity across languages and worlds becomes not an experience of pathological and pointless delay, but rather itself a passionate journey over the unforgettable landscapes and through the inscapes of earth-bound thought and ascendant feeling. Because they resolutely accentuate the event, materiality, and specificity of their Bicolano provenance and ground, Nierva’s poems never quite leave the place of their nativity even as they transfigure it into the universal of all true Art.
— J. Neil C. Garcia

At its best, Vic Nierva’s poetry is fraught with waiting. Metaphor is quietly built up to the final insight. Almost, almost there, but seemingly never handed over. At each turn, we find silences where our hands braille for some luminous, moving thing that surely has always been there for us. Like breath or prayer. And then we reach inwards. The gesture is as inevitable as the wonder: Náenotán niyá an enot tang gios! Nierva has been breathing in us through the night.
— Merlinda C. Bobis

In Antisipasyón, Vic Nierva's filtering vision brings into focus—in poems both heartfelt and precise—internal and external landscapes that only a gifted Bikolnon native can genuinely portray as regionally unique, engaging realities. Many poems in this collection raise the level of Bikolnon verse writing to a remarkable peak of achievement.
— Luis Cabalquinto

Hiníhiling ko an Antisipasyón ni Nierva na saróng malúdok na pag-agaghá sa mga bagay na minálaktaw sa tulóng panahón kan satúyang ronáng Bikol. An tren na nagsísirbing saíyang nangúngurog na metapóra asín an ibá pang mga tunínong alágad may kusóg na magpakurad- kutad sa daghán na mga imáhe mináalok satuyà sa saróng pagbakláy, pagsalíngoy, paghurúp- húrop kan mga bagay na daí ta kayang laktawán ta an buhay panù-panò nin mga istasyón nin satúyang sadíring pasyón: mga muhón nin pagkatagalpô na nagíbo ni Nierva sa mga bersíkulo sa behíkulong may kabráy sa Bikolnon na kalág.
— Kristian Sendon Cordero


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A provenance or a tongue?

May 19th, 2012 No comments

Vox Bikol, 17 May 2012


I AM a Bikolano. I was born in Bikol. I grew up breathing Bikol air. Even up to now, I am in Bikol; I work here, I spend my earnings here. I eat my breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and take my meriendas here. I utter or contemplate on my prayers in Bikol. I talk to my friends, loved ones and even strangers in Bikol (first, then use another language if my language is strange to the stranger). I transact with other people in Bikol. I am not surprised if dreams come to me in my sleep like clips of films with screenplay penned in my own language. I write in Bikol, of Bikol, for Bikol. The Bikol tongue—or one of its component languages—was, is and will continue to be my first language.

But if I did not write in my tongue, like what I did here, would it make me less Bikolano?

I ruminate on this thinking of the many Bikolano writers who, in their respective successes and contributions to both indigenous and global cultures, are writing in languages other than ours. I ruminate on this imagining the possibility—or impossibility—of losing the marks of one’s provenance because of language. I ruminate on this because I, at times, write too in other languages.

In Carlos Aureus’s book of stories, Nagueños, the reader has no other choice but to wander and wonder like an urchin lost in the labyrinthine grids of Naga City streets. Along and in these streets, he or she will meet Rick Caceres, Cynthia Dee, Pandora, Epifanio Bagting, Suzette, Sid and Tanya, Rosing, Father Itos, Naty Angeles, and other individuals, Nagueños, all they are, in thoughts, in words, in deeds. And yet, the stories in Nagueños are in English. Does its employment of another language exclude it from what is ordained as Bikol literature?

In Merlinda Bobis’s novel, Banana Heart Summer, we travel to a small town at the foot of perpetually simmering volcano to get to know intimately the coming-of-age story of a 12-year old girl named Nenita. Her story, however, is a unique timeline of human struggles, frailties, longings and love flowing inside the digestive tracks of Bikolanos along with the most endearing of our dishes—baduyà, biniríbid, chicken stewed in coconut, gulay na pusò nin batág, and many other tastes of this part of the earth. Yet, again, Banana Heart Summer is penned in English. Is it not Bikol literature, then?

In the often humor-filled fiction of Abdon Balde, he can never be blamed for his rather romantic take on the age-tested symbols of this region. His novel Màyóng, in the citation given when it won the National Book Award, is an “engrossing narrative set in the Bikol Region—set in mellifluous Tagalog or Filipino—one that merges deathless legend and fantastic lore with the romance of present-day realities, in the process weaving a well-told tale of the crossover between the natural and the supernatural”. But the stories of Balde, despite their capacity to bring the Bikolano to a most lucid sense of self, are written in Filipino. Is it not Bikol literature, then?

I ruminate on this because we are talking here of provenance, which is something that transcends manifestations that are limited to the constraints of human perceptions and penchant for labels. Rather, as far as the Bikolness of oeuvres similar to those mentioned here is concerned, we turn to that which can only be proven by faith, that which can only be explored by the heartfelt fathoming of experiences as experienced in our region’s very own context. In the recent Pagsurat Bikol IV, writer-filmmaker Alvin Yapan called it “fidelity” to our region.

Because our Bikol must never be limited to a tongue. Or, to say it in another way, in the context of literature, there can never be a confusion on Bikol as the region and Bikol as the tongue. In the first place, I believe, any place precedes its patois. Yes, a locus is represented and determined through the language spoken therein, but it is more than its language.

Bikol provenance provides us with a spirit, which for writers may be incarnated into written works. These works will always carry the marks, unseen or seen, labeled or not, of being Bikol. This is the pag-lawíg, a kind of anchorage, which Balde speaks about. As every foot soldier did in ancient wars, the Bikolano, in any milieu or language, will always look back to Bikol—its memories, sounds, images, textures, senses, etc.—as his guidon.

Margando Farm, Pasacao, Cam. Sur
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Book Review: “Doros asin mga Anghel”

May 19th, 2012 No comments

In new book, John Donne speaks in fluent Bikol
Jonas Cabiles Soltes

Top Stories, Bicol Mail, 17 May 2012


VICTOR DENNIS NIERVA crossed a linguistic Rubicon when he dared to translate into Bikol the poems of one of the towering figures of English if not World Literature; John Donne (1572-1631).

But the more than 50 translated works, compiled in the new book Doros asin mga Anghel (Air and Angels), show that the crossing was safe. In fact, the paperback built a much-needed albeit frail bridge over what have been troubled waters of the Bikol language.

What contributed much to the safe passage was the admission of Nierva that “the fundamental intention [of the book] was to translate and nothing more.”

“It was therefore inevitable to aspire to forcibly preserve every original word in its Bikol translation despite several calls for transliteration,” he says in the book’s preface.

In striving to preserve the thoughts and imagery in the poetry of Donne, Nierva, serendipitously or not, succeeded in modestly reviving the bygone Elizabethan era that saw not only the flowering of English Literature but also religious persecution and the moral decadence that came with it.

The persecution and decadence in the era named after Elizabeth I, the monarch that time, made persons renounce their faiths. At the same time, it also made the faiths of many even more fervent.

Donne, as shown by his works, was among those whose faiths were made stronger, even, by the tension and corruption that marked his milieu—the setting successfully brought back to life by Nierva through conservative but sharp translation of the sonnets and elegies penned by the sometimes pompous but consistently pious Donne.

These times when the faith and the decadence that strengthened Donne still pervade, Doros asin mga Anghel makes learning from Donne and his experience easy and personal, especially for those who understand Bikol.

The book, more importantly, serves the purpose of English to Bikol dictionary, the absence of which consequently exposes the lack of orthography or a standardized system of using Bikol, despite its being the mother tongue of millions of Filipinos.

Donne, as one of the most prolific and flamboyant writers of all time, could have used all the English words he knew—the same words that that Nierva translated meticulously to the extent that every English word that Donne used now has a Bikol counterpart.

The achievement, however, remains clouded by the continuing lack of orthography of Bikol, including rules of spelling, grammar and composition. As a result, the rules that Nierva followed and used in translating every word in selected poems of Donne could remain his and his alone.

The book has other flaws, including the failure of Nierva to explain even in brief the use and meaning of diacritical or accent marks that he extensively used. It could have been better, also, if the book had included the original poems of Donne for easy reference and as rightful homage to a person with immense legacy.

But there is no denying that the second book of Nierva could make him a Julius Caesar of Bikol Literature, or a trailblazer at least. He did not only translate the works of Donne. He made the revered Englishman speak in fluent, heartfelt Bikol.


Note: "Doros asin mga Anghel" is published by the Ateneo de Naga University Press, Naga City, 2012.

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Hurup-hurop sa ortograpiyang Bikol

May 5th, 2012 No comments

AN anuman na ipinapamidbid maninigong sabihon na ini bago. Minsan pang an ipinapamidbid namidbid naman kan mga nainot kaidto. Halimbawa, kun dai aram kan sarong tawo na ‘aroalas-dose’ an ngaran kan tinanom na nahihiling niya, an pagkasabot kan ngaran kaini sarong bagong pangyayari dawa ngani ini aram kan saiyang mga magurang o mga nakakagurang. Huli kaini, dara kan natural na pagkagutom kan tawo sa pagkasabot, dai malilikayan an paghapot kun tadaw ta ‘aroalas-dose’ an ngaran kan tinanom. Asin an pagsimbag sa hapot na ‘tano?’ yaon sa kamot kan siisay man na minapamidbid saiya. Huli man kaini, an parapamidbid nangangaipo kan magkakanigong pagkaaram asin pagkasabot kan saiyang ipinamidbid.

Ini an kamugtakan kan pagtulod sa pagkakaigwa nin sasarong ortograpiya kan tataramon na Bikol. Madali sana an maggibong lakdang tanganing magbilog nin ortograpiya. Saru-sarua an mga tataramon, darangogon, isururat, asin magpili kan boot na baybay kan mga ini. Alagad sabot ta na minsan pang magibo ta man an prosesong ini, igwa nanggad nin kulang, huli ta an pagdukay nin ortograpiya nangangaipuhan nin hararom na pag-aadal, paghurup-hurop asin—kun itutugot an termino—pamimilosopiya. Kun kaya yaon an hapot na “Tano?”. Tano ta an ortograpiyang iyan?

An pagsimbag sa hapot na ini bakong sarong daing-kamanungdanan na pagsuba-suba o pagkawat nin konsepto na hunaon tang dai man ginagamit sa totoo asin materyal na kinaban. Labi ka-importante an paghapot huli ta an satong tinatanyog sarong entidad kan kaisipan asin aktibidad kan tawo—an tataramon.

An pagtulod sa pagkakaigwa nin sasarong ortograpiya dai nanggad puwedeng himohon na pasipara asin susog sana sa huna-huna dapit sa tataramon asin kun papano ini ginagamit kan mga tawo sa laog asin luwas kan sarong kultura. Nangangaipuhan nin dayupot asin babad na pag-adal bago an siisay man makahimo nin padron na iyong itutulod na sunudon kan gabos na kaayon sa kulturang iyan.

Sa antolohiyang Maharang, Mahamis na mga Literatura sa mga Tataramon na Bikol (Santos ed., 2010), ipinahayag sa titulo pa sana kan libro an pagkakaigwa kan rehiyon nin komplikadong karakter kun hihilingon an Bikol bilang sasaro sanang tataramon. Kun kaya an antolohiya hayagan na nagmidbid sa pagkakaigwa kan Bikol nin dakol na mgatataramon; asin na an Bikol sarong kabilugan asin kagabsan kan mga tataramon na minasirbing sagurong nin pagkakasinarabutan kan mga namamanwaan.

Agyat sa paraadal nin mga tataramon na sagkod ngunyan, dai pa nasi-siyerto kun papano o sa anong paagi man nanggad nagbabaranga an dilang Bikol sa mga saradit grupo nin mga tataramon o diyalekto. Sa Ethnologue: Languages of the World (ed. Lewis, 2009), binanga an Bikol sa walong grupo. Sa pag-aadal ni Lobel (2000), binaranga an Bikol sa doseng klasipikasyon. Lain man digdi an pag-aadal ni McFarland (1974) na nagbaranga man sa Bikol sa onseng saradit na grupo.

An kamugtakan na ini kan dilang Bikol iyo man sana an magkasabay na minapakumplika asin minapagayon digdi. Kumplikado huli ta sa pagkakaigwa nin manlainlain na mga tataramon na kun sain an lambang saro kaini igwa nin sadiring karakter, bokabularyo, tanog, asin iba pa. Alagad, ini saro man na kagayonan, huli kan kangangalasan na papanong an sarong rehiyon madudukayan nin nagkakapirang grupo nin tataramon.

An kamugtakan na ini kan mga dilang Bikol an urog na minapasakit kan sirkumstansiya para sa mga nagmamawot o nagtutulod nin pormal asin sasarong ortograpiya. Kun manlainlain an tataramon, papano mapipirit an sarong ortograpiya.

Alagad tandaan ta na an dilang Bikol, kaiba an gabos na mga grupo kaini, parte sana kan urog na mahiwas na pamilya nin mga lenggwaheng Malayo-Polynesio na igwa nin sadiri man na mga karakter. Kun pag-aatid-atidon, sa lado kan ortograpiya, puwede ta man na hilingon an mga sistema nin pagbaybay kan kataraid tang mga grupo nin tataramon. Ginibo naman ini kan mga iskolar sa linggwistika, siring kan pagpapa-urog sa mga katanog (vowel) na may matatagas na sayod (arog kan u asin i) huli ta arog kaini an suanoy—kun siring, iyo an totoo—na pagbaybay kan katutubong tataramon. Sinasabi kan mga iskolar na haros perpekto subuot an mga tataramon sa Pilipinas, kaiba na an Bikol, huli ta maliwanag na karakter kaini an pag-oyon kan pagsayod sa pagbaybay, An tanog o sayod na ‘uma’ perpektong iriniriprisintar kan pinagsararong mga letra kan ‘uma’. Bako ining siring kan tataramon na Pranses kun sain an pinagsararong mga letra kan ‘ballet’ minahira an tanog asin sinasayod bilang ‘baley’.

Saro pang karakter kan mga tataramon ta iyo na an dai paghira kan kahulugan minsan pang sanglian an katanog, arog kan ‘ikos’ asin ‘ikus’ o ‘talbong’ asin ‘talbung’.

Sarong impresiyon ko sa mga paratulod kan pagkakaigwa nin sasaro sanang padron nin ortograpiya kan dilang Bikol iyo an dai hayag o lihis na paglikay ninda sa katotoohan na pag sinabing ‘tataramon na Bikol’, bako ining sasaro sanang tataramon kundi nagkakapira asin may kanya-kanyang karakter. Kasabay kan impresiyon na ini, iyo an obserbasyon sa lataw na gayong pagpaurog sa saro sana sa mga klasipikasyon kan tataramon na Bikol, asin ini an inaapod kan kadaklan na Bikol Sentral asin minimidbid man na iyo subuot an standardBikol.

Huli kan pagtulod sa sarong standard sa tahaw kan pagiging multilingwal kan Bikol, dai nanggad malilikayan an pagkabaranga (na puwedeng magin dahilan nin dai pagkakasinarabutan) sa pag-ultanan kan manlainlain na mga grupo nin tataramon sa rehiyon. Kun siring, igwa man nin hapot na nakasentro sana sa kun sain man nanggad papadanayon an ortograpiyang mahahaman? Kun ini Bikol Sentral, dadarahon man ini sa Sorsogon o Catanduanes?

Sa kamugtakan na ini, kaipuhan na hilingon an panahon asin lokasyon na pinangyayarihan kan tataramon. Asin na puwedeng magtulod nin sarong ortograpiya alagad dai puwedeng piriton an sasaro sanang tataramon, huli ta kun an huring kamugtakan an mangyayari, tuyong hegemoniya an dara kan nasabing konsepto. Rurumpagon sana kan kaniguan na pagpurbar tang pagyamanon an tataramon kun sa likod kan gabos na ini, buot palan itulod an sasaro sanang tataramon. An pagigin multilinggwal asin multikultural kan Kabikolan saro nang lehitimo asin dakulang dahilan tanganing paurugon an pagkakalainlain kan satong mga dila.

An problema minalaog man sana sa isyu kan Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Educationna tinutulod ngunyan kan gobyerno, huli ta hinimo an konsepto kaini na mayong kasabay na paghimo man sa mga materyal na gagamiton sa mga eskwelahan. Simple sana man an puwedeng solusyon: hinguwahon na an midyum nin pagtukdo iyo an Bikol na tinataram sa lokasyon kan eskwelahan. Ini an kaipuhan na gayong tungkusan kan estado tanganing tawan buhay an kairairaruman kan esensya kan mga tataramon na mother tongue asinmultilingual. Ta sa hiling ko, kun dai man sana ikukunsiderar an pagkakalainlain kan mga tataramon minsan sa laog nin saro sanang rehiyon, magkakaigwa nin labot an pag-abot kan mga katuyuhan kan programang ini.

Interesante na an pangapudan na himuhon an sarong ortograpiya nangyayari sa panahon na ini kun nuarin an literaturang Bikol marambong asin padagos na pinapagyaman kan mga paratulod kaini. Kritikal na panahon ini huli ta sunud-sunod an mga librong panliteratura an pinupublikar sa laog kan rehiyon sa likod kan sinasabing kawaran nin standard sa ortograpiya.

Interesante man ining panahon na makusog an daguso kan postkolonyalismo kun nuarin pinipino an mga relasyon kan mga kulturang sinakop sa mga nagsakop sainda. Sa satong rehiyon, nabubuhay ini sa makusog na pagmawot (asin pagpano kaini) sa mga pagkayaonna Bikolnon kaidtong bago mag-abot an mga kolonyal na kapangyarihan. Alagad, kasabay man kaini iyo an pagmidbid asin pag-ako na nuarin pa man, dai maninigaran na kita sarong kulturang sinakop, asin an mga gira kan pagsakop kaiba na kan satong pan-aroaldaw na agi-agi. Dai kita kaipuhan mahandal na an dilang Bikol kinukumpunir nin mga tataramon na maninigong apudon katutubo asin man nin mga sinublian na termino. Nagtutubod ako na an mga sinublian na termino, sa birtud kan paglihip kan mga ini tanganing makaayon sa mga tataramon na ginagamit ta aroaldaw, sinda mga tataramon naman na Bikol. Ano man an problema kun ‘importante’ an gamiton asin bakong ‘mahalaga’ kun ini nagbubunga nin pagkakasinarabutan? Siisay an masabi sa panahon na ini na an tataramon na ‘importante’ dai kabilang sa mga tataramon na Bikol?

Huli ta an mapasabot na an asimilasyon nin mga tataramon inaako kan sarong kultura bako an siisay pa man kundi an mga tawo na kaayon digdi—an mga tawo na nagtataram kan lenggwahe. Importanteng sambiton an aspektong ini huli ta sa hiling ko an pagkakabaranga kan mga Bikolano, orog na idtong mga nagtutulod sa paghimo nin sasarong ortograpiya, bako man sa kun arin na pagbaybay an gagamiton, kundi sa kun arin na tataramon an papaurugon. Digdi minapuon an diringkilan.

Bakong kawaran nin sistema nin ortograpiya an nagdadara nin karibungan sa dilang Bikol. Kundi dara ini kan kadakol na mga padron nin pagbaybay na mga namana ta sa mga nagkairinot na kapag-arakian asin mga banyagang parasakop. Sa mga kumunidad na an esensya kan tataramon madudukayan sana sa pagtaram kaini sa aroaldaw, dai problema an ortograpiya. An pagnaniproblema kan ortograpiya yaon sana sa mga kumunidad o sektor na minagamit nin tataramon sa pasurat na paagi. Kaibahan digdi an estado, akademya, negosyo, simbahan, asin iba pang mga sektor, na sa pag-agi kan panahon, nakahimo na—puwede man na dai—man nin kanya-kanyang mga paagi nin pagbaybay. Huli kaini, kitang mga Bikolano kan kontemporanyong panahon ribong o dai aram kun arin an susunudon.

Makusog na halimbawa an naipos kan simbahan na Katoliko, na kaayon sa epekto kan Sulnupanon na kolonyalismo, sa paghurma nin sarong Bikolnon na agimadmad dapit sa ortograpiya. Tataramon an saro sa nangongorog na armas kan simbahan sa pagbalangibog kan saiyang mga katukduan. Kun kaya, masiri ining inadalan kan mga kapadian kaidtong panahon, asin tuyong hinira o binago susog sa pangangaipo o ideolohiya kan simbahan, pansadiri man o para sa totoong pagbalangibog kan mga banal na katukduan. Sa pangyayaring ini, kadakol sa mga katutubong tataramon na Bikol an tinakudan nin bagong kahulugan mantang pirit na pinalingawan an orihinal na buot sabihon. Kaiba na digdi an ‘rapsak’ o profane language na sa pagkasabot kan mga katutubo sarong maogmang lenggwaheng ginagamit sa aroaldaw siring sa sinasabi ni Mikhail Bahktin dapit sa konsepto kan carnivalesque.

Sa ideolohiya kan mga prayle, nagin kasalan, asin huli kaini, napara an mga rapsak na tataramon kan Bikol. Naribayan ini nin pagsambit na sana sa mga ngaran nin mga banal o ano man na ekspresiyon na may gira nin relihiyon. Pag napadarinas an sarong Bikolano, puwede siyang mapakagrat nin “Ay, buray na tipay!”. Alagad, nasanglian ini nin ekspresiyon na “San Clemente, kaheraki!” An sinasabing usmak rinibayan nin pamibi. Alagad siisay an nagsabing usmak an nainot na ekspresiyon? Bako daw na an pagigin usmak kaini hinimo sana kan mga awtoridad kan simbahan? Puwede daw na bako ining usmak sa pagkasabot kan mga inot na Bikolano?

Tulong punto an pighihiling ko sa pagpakarhay kan ortograpiyang Bikol: inot, an pagkunsiderar sa orihinal na baybay sa paagi kan pag-adal kan ortograpiya kan mga pagtaraid na mga tataramon na kabilang sa pamilyang Malayo-Polynesio; panduwa, an pagtrato sa pagbilog kan ortograpiya bilang parte kan postkolonyal na pagmawot; asin, pantulo, an paghiling sa Bikol bilang nagkakapirang mga tataramon asin bakong sasaro sana.

An inot na punto, magpapagimaaw sato kan teknikal na baybay (pati naman tanog) kan mga tataramon. Posibleng magbukas ini kan satong isip pasiring sa konsepto nin pakikipagsaro sa iba pang mga tataramon na igwang kaparehong karakter kan tataramon na Bikol. Makakatabang ini sa pagpagimaaw dapit sa matatagas na katanog—u asin i—asin kan pinaurog na pusisyon kan mga ini sa ortograpiya kan mga tataramon sa parteng ini kan Sur-Subangan kan Asya.

An panduwa magpapatalingkas sa sato hali sa pagkakabukatot sa konsepto na an tataramon na Bikol kaipuhan na gayong puro asin daing digta kan iba pang banyagang dila. Kun siring kaini an konsepto, mauubusan kita nin tataramon, huli ta an tataramon buhay, dinamiko asin natural na minapabagubago. Rumdumon ta na an mga banyagang dilang sinublian ta nin mga tataramon bako sana an Espanyol, bako sanang Europeo. An mga tataramon sa Bikol, arog kan iba pang mga tataramon sa Pilipinas, produkto nin mga milenyo nin pagriribayan kultura. Kadakol kitang mga tataramon na sinublian sa Sanskrit, Bahasa, sa mga Tsino, asin iba pang mga lahi na nagkairinot pang marhay kisa sa mga Espanyol. Huli kaini, dai problema an asimilasyon kan ibang lenggwahe sa satong pagtaram. Kaiba na digdi an mga salang paggamit ta nin mga banyagang tataramon. Lihitimo an hapot na: Dai ta pa baya ibinibilang an mga tataramon na ‘importante’ o ‘institusyon’ na kaayon sa dilang Bikol? An postkolonyal na pagmawot, na inaako sa sadiri an pagigin sarong dating kolonya, minatanaw liwat, minahidaw asin minapabalik sa mga nawara or winara kan parasakop. An kunsiderasyon na ini kasimbagan sa kun ano bayang patanog (consonant) an gagamiton sa mga tataramon na arog kan ‘justicia’ o ‘señora’ na puwede man palan na ‘hustisya’ o ‘senyora’. Kabilang naman sa kunsiderasyon na ini an mga baybay na itinulod kan simbahan sa mga katutubong tataramon, arog kan ‘lalaqui’ o ‘aqui’ o ‘aco’ o ‘banggui’ na puwede man palan ‘lalaki’ o ‘aki’ o ‘ako’ o ‘banggi’.

Sa lado kan mga tataramon na Bikol, itinutulod ko an pagtubod na dai problema an pagkakaigwa nin manlainlain na mga tataramon sa Bikol huli ta natural ining nabubuhay sa mga kultura. Ini an dara kan pantulong punto. An problema malaog kun ipirit an sasarongstandard sa katiripunan na ini nin mga tawong mayo man praktikal na problema kaidto dapit sa tataramon. An ‘lawog’, ‘lalawgon’, ‘pandok’, asin ‘nawong’ mga terminong sasaro sana man an buot sabihon. An pagmanduhan an sarong grupo na gamiton sana an saro kaini na na igwang pagpapa-urog siyertong mag-uukag sa gabos. Siring man an kunsiderasyon sa tanog. An ‘baloy,’ ‘balay’, ‘harong’, ‘aróng’, asin ‘erokan’ sasaro sana man an boot sabihon. Alagad kun ipipirit an baybay na ‘harong’ ipipirit sa mga Bikolano na inaapod ining ‘aróng’, magkakaigwa man nin pag-dai asin pagkakabaranga.

Totoong masakit asin masiri an kaipuhan na proseso sa pagrepaso kan lenggwahe asin kan mga aspekto kaini arog kan ortograpiya. Urug-urog pa an kasakitan kaini sa mga rona na minasangli nin tataramon dawa sarong banwaan sana an pag-ultanan. Garo ini pag-isip kun an dakulang tinapay kakakanon nin bilog o pipiridasuhon nguna. Kun dai igo sa nguso, kaipuhan na barangaon an tinapay tanganing bakong masakit an pagkakan. An tataramon, siring kan dilang Bikol, nakakaagid digdi. Kun kaipuhan barangaon huli ta natura kaini an pagkakalainlain, ano ta dai akoon na siring? Kun ako taga-Buhi, an mother tongue ko Buhinon, bako an arin man na tataramon sa balyong banwaan, dawa pa urog na dakol an nagtataram kaini kisa sa Buhinon. Asin ini an agyat. Huli ta dai man boot sabihon kan pagkabaranga sa tataramon, mayo na kitang pagkakasararo bilang rona o kultura. Sa siring na paagi, urog tang mapaparambong an kahiwasan o kabilugan kan minimidbid tang dilang Bikol. Bakong pagsasaralak-salak an katuyuhan, dawa minsan dai iyan nalilikayan. Bako man ini pagpaurog sa kaniguan na kita-kita, sinda-sindang ugali. Ini sarong perspektibo kun sain urog na hinihiling an pagkakasararo sa pagpayaman kan dilang Bikol sa paagi kan paghiling na ini minagikan sa manlainlain na tataramon—na igwang kanya-kanyang kagayonan asin kauragan—na minakumpunir saiya bilang dinamiko asin buhay na lenggwahe kan sarong banwaan.

3 Mayo 2012
Margando Farms
Pasacao, Cam. Sur
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Why do I play Coco Girl?

January 28th, 2012 No comments


I'M TURNING thirty-two, and the university I'm teaching at has just informed me that I've been with them for ten years now and that they're giving me a plaque soon for this. I have earned awards for my literature and I have a couple of books to my name and several poetry manuscripts more saved in my hard drive. Conveniently, I think I have everything I need: all those consoles that console a man of my age. I can go to movies anytime I want. I can buy my clothes. I can wander everywhere when I feel the need to do so. I can eat anything I like—ooops!—except that gold-dusted ice cream in Europe and those that Prince William and Sultan Bolkiah feed on. A little above average, however, I have pretty much nothing to prove except that I'm single, and perhaps, an eligible bachelor.

Social networking sites prove not that effective. Thus, my status speaks much about my situation: it's complicated. Albums in my account contain photographs that are happy, jubilant and contented. But, often, if they aren't photos of friends during sprees or chocolate shake afternoons, they would be adventures at photography: sunsets, landscapes, train rides, rains. Oh, not to forget, of course, the photos of a naughty nephew and a cute niece by my sister who is eight years younger than me. Sadly, as it always happens to other photographers, I am usually nowhere in the photos.

There's an interesting album in my collection, nevertheless. And I consider it interesting based on the number of 'likes' it has merited and the tone of the comments—from bewilderment to heckles—made on it by friends. This is my 'Coco Girl' album.

To date, I have around 83 photos in my album; most of which are fulfillment of daily quests while a handful are my attempts at pushing my avatar—that girl icon whose sense of fashion is my creative conception—to win the Coco It Girl selection. Fortunately, and to my jubilation, she won in my third try—quite ridiculously getting ahead of my Coco-playing coed students in this category!

Coco Girl is a game application introduced on Facebook by Argentina-based MetroGames during these times when the site is synonymous with the names of hundreds more game and non-game apps like Tetris Wars, Castleville, Pet Society, etc. I didn't look it up in the net where the game's name was derived but I have a hunch that, for obvious reasons, whether MetroGames admits it or not, it was named after the 20th century French couturière Coco Chanel.

With a very simple gameplay, a not time-consuming one too, Coco Girl allows the player to manifest one's fashion preference through a girl avatar. A player's avatar may be heavily customized in terms of appearance, hairstyle and even tattoos and body piercing. Coco Girl leads the player to a daily quest of fashioning the avatar with various outfits according to given situations. But Coco Girl isn't just about vogue clothing styles. It is also about relating with others in terms of fashion sensibilities. The game is mainly based on how a player rates her fellow players' fashion sense; this also earns for the player the most needed Rubies which are the bread and butter for shopping outfits and accessories at the Coco Girl shops.

While I'm far from being a fad-savvy, I believe it is the ultimate app for the lady fashionista. And so, as many friends ask, why am I, a certified, self-confessed, indubitable straight male playing Coco Girl?

Here's where complications enter.

I tell my friends I simply enjoy the game. But behind this sense of delight is a labyrinthine of reasons—or excuses—why Coco Girl appeals to me.

I grew up with a pretty happy childhood spending my first decade as an only child. I was given everything.We weren't—still aren't—rich but both of my parents were employed so that I was raised provided with everything I needed. After spending my primary education in a public school in a small pastoral town, I was sent to an exclusive, all-boys school in the city but with a parental instruction that all I had to do was to study well, pray and live healthily. My schooling years were spent with home-school routine. I participated in almost every school activity, studied well and earned honors certificates and was a member of the acolytes because I had a slight inkling that I had a calling toward the religious life. In short, I was a nerd. I belonged to the type of student my classmates called mayong pakisáma. I was, perhaps, the strictest beadle in school so that I listed down on the beadle's report every student I knew committed even the slightest infraction. I wasn't in.

College years came and I was still a nerd. I tried to impress the ladies with wit and words only to find out that erudition wasn't the best criteria. Still, I couldn't get the ladies to like—or love—me with a tinge of romance even though they swoon over my drawings and poems and abilities with computers. I was simply a friend to everyone. As I did in high school, I busied myself with things that made me qualified to be called a good student. I sang in the choir, I performed on stage, I delivered orations, I wrote in the university paper, and many other things, some of which I have already or were intentionally forgotten. Thinking about it now, however, doesn't give me a sad feel. Rather, I feel stupid for not being able to find a way.

My first relationship—which lasted five years—happened only after graduation; I was 21 then, I think. By the sheer number of years it took from my lifetime, I thought she was the one I would marry. We were both professionals, had stable jobs and shared passion for a lot of things. Many times, we did plan our future: a small house of three or four bedrooms in a quaint suburb where our family of two children would live with comfort. But things didn't out quite well for us and after half a decade, my girlfriend and I parted ways. We remained friends even after the breakup. She’s now working abroad.

My second girlfriend was a fellow writer I met at a prestigious writers workshop in Baguio City. It was our penchant for creepy stories and sarcastic poems that brought and kept us together. She was pretty intelligent and it took me some time to break through the intellectual walls around her and eventually won her heart. My second relationship was a more serious one. There were already conversations about marriage and those talks were far more concrete. The dilemma where to settle was a major issue: I wanted to live in the province and many times she expressed that she won’t survive if I would bring her deep into the woods. This same quandary gradually kept us further and further apart until, after five years too, we said goodbye to each other.

I had my share of stubbornness and faults and, therefore, I want the third one, which I hope to come soon, to be my last. I believe I have a way with women that keeps me part ways with them after some time; and this I want to fix. At times, I would become too deep into what I desire for and neglect my lady’s basic longings—something that I believe is innate in every male human being, only that it is fully developed in some.

And Coco Girl?

I play Coco Girl because with it I believe I learn and dissect, in a rather peculiar way, the woman’s psyche. Playing it is in some ways learning the pattern of choices that a woman may confront in her likewise complicated life. All this because in Coco Girl I can fit my feet into a female’s footwear, or my waist into a plaid, pink checkered mini-skirt or my torso into a stylish floral blouse. I appropriate these bouts of choosing in Coco Girl’s daily quest to the more complicated problematiques of the female experiences. Through Coco Girl—despite its deep sophisticated and extravagant fashion nature—I do recall the challenges I had in my relationships with women; my ex-girlfriends, my quarrelsome sister and my late endearing mother.

Each Coco Girl daily quest is also a daily recollection of endearing moments with former lovers. Sometimes, they also come as remembrances of arguments with them and of the fact that I always gave in despite preposterousness for the sake of peace.

I play Coco Girl despite the possibilities of gossips that I may in fact be gay.

I play this ladies’ game because it makes me more manly.

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20 January 2012

January 14th, 2012 No comments

Doros asín mga Anghél
Translations in Bikol of John Donne's
Holy Sonnets and Selected Works

Launch of the Ateneo de Naga University Press
2F Fr. James O'Brien Library
20 January 2012

- 3pm -
Lecture on Academic Publishing
Ms. Maricor Baytion
Director, AdMU Press

- 4.30pm -
Book Launch
Doros asin mga Anghel, Victor Dennis T. Nierva
Minatubod Ako sa Diklom, Kristian Sendon Cordero
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Diin

August 25th, 2011 No comments

HALIKA ka. Tuloy. Dito,
itabi mo na muna diyan yang palumpon
ng mga bulaklak na handog sa'yo at
hindi ka naman istatwa ng Mahal
na Birhen na nilalapastangan lamang

ng mga binatilyong 'yan na
walang ibang nalalamang gawin
kundi ang maglaro lamang
ng mga baril-barilang regalo
ng kanilang mga nanay

noong Pasko. Tuloy ka. H'wag kang
mag-alinlangan. Ang talim ng tingin ko
ay hindi para sa'yo kundi upang
itaboy sila papunta
doon..............................sa malayo. Tuloy.

Halika. Tuloy. Huwag nang
pagtakhan ang antigong
pintuan na 'yan pati ang bronseng
pansara. Nabili ko ang mga 'yan
sa unang sahod ko

sa unibersidad. Sobrang tagal
na n'on—'wag mo 'kong pagtawanan.
Tuloy. Upo ka,..............diyan,
d'yan sa kulay-lumot na sofa
na pinili ng una kong kasintahan—o

mapapangasawa?—para sa 'kin, para dito.
Ay, sa ibang araw na natin sila pag-
usapan, ha?....................Oo,—hahaha!
—sige lang—hanggang maramdaman mong
bukas ito para sa'yo. Hindi ka tatanggihan

ng aking bahay, kahit pa suson-
suson na ang mga pinturang ibinalot sa mga
dingding nito na tadtad ng mga pakong
sabitan ng mga damit, pang-ilalim, sinturon,
sumbrero, kuwadro, marami pa. Hindi muna

kita sisilbihan ng maiinom, ha, mamaya na;
kakatapos pa rin lang naman ng meryenda,
at malamig itong hapon. Ba't walang tigil
ang kakatawa mo? Ako ba? O itong bahay?
Ay, ilabas na'ng libro't magbasa, mag-aral.

Kung gusto mo, hubarin mo 'yang sapatos
mong kasing-tingkad ng rosas ng iyong
mga labi, para mas maginhawa sa'yo.
Sa'yo muna ngayon 'yang sofa ko.
..........................................."May anghel,"

sambit mo nang saglit tayong nanahimik.
Nagtinginan na lang tayo. "Oo nga,"
sabi ko, "totoo ang anghel na 'yan," sabay
bitiw ko ng isang ngiti. "Dito ka muna, ha."
Hinabol......mo......pa......ako......ng......tingin.

Tumatanda na ang inumin mo sa pitsel,
nabuo na rin ang manipis na yelo, nag-
krema na ang sitrus at mansanas. Tamang-
tamang pantapos ng 'yong pagbabasa dahil
higit na uhaw pa ang..........darating.

25 Agosto 2011, Lungsod Naga
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May 2011

April 28th, 2011 No comments
Vic Nierva has always impressed me as one of those few living poets with a keen ear for sound. His Donne is a tour de force of a translation. The fusion of wit and passion, the abrupt entrances, the dislocations, ironies and paradoxes, the air-tight syntaxes, the inner disquiets both sacred and sensual, the metaphysical conceits—these are all here! What excites me the most, however, is how Nierva effectively translates Donne’s brutal supplications to a God he loves with such passion and confidence he never doubts will forgive him despite himself. This is not a translation of Donne; this is John Donne writing in Bicol.
Dr. Carlos Aureus
Professor of Latin and Critical Theory
University of the Philippines Diliman
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May 2011

April 28th, 2011 No comments


Vic Nierva has always impressed me as one of those few living poets with a keen ear for sound. His Donne is a tour de force of a translation. The fusion of wit and passion, the abrupt entrances, the dislocations, ironies and paradoxes, the air-tight syntaxes, the inner disquiets both sacred and sensual, the metaphysical conceits—these are all here! What excites me the most, however, is how Nierva effectively translates Donne’s brutal supplications to a God he loves with such passion and confidence he never doubts will forgive him despite himself. This is not a translation of Donne; this is John Donne writing in Bicol.

Dr. Carlos Aureus
Professor of Latin and Critical Theory
University of the Philippines Diliman
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AdNU to hold conference on film, culture

January 9th, 2011 No comments
WITH THE prime aspiration of instigating a culture of filmmaking in Bicol, the Ateneo de Naga University Department of Media Studies and the Media Studies Society are holding the 2nd Bicol Conference on Communication and Media Studies on January 1 to February 2, 2011. With the title-theme “Pelikula@Kultura”, the conference is aimed at stirring the Bikolano students and enthusiasts to see the various images, artifacts and traditions and thereafter reflect on the possibilities of translating these riches into information transfer, expressions or advocacies through the art of film.The conference will feature a list of lectures on the various essential aspects of film. The roster of lecturers is topped by the keynote speaker, Dr. Miguel Q. Rapatan, chair of the National Committee on Cinema of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Other lecturers are Prof. Tito Genova Valiente of AdNU (Film as Cultural Memory), Dr. Roland Tolentino, Dean of UP College of Mass Communication (Film Semiotics), Dr. Alvin B. Yapan, writer-filmmaker, and a faculty member of Ateneo de Manila University (Panitikan at Pamemelikula); Mr. Jerry B. Gracio, poet-screenwriter (Mga Tunguhin at Hamon ng Kontemporanyong Screenwriting); and Mr. Jim Libiran, filmmaker and journalist (Guerilla Filmmaking).Screening of noted independent films will highlight the conference. Veronica Velasco’s Last Supper No.3 will be shown on January 31, Alvin Yapan’s Gayuma is scheduled to be shown on February 1, and Jim Libiran’s Happyland will be featured on February 2. Velasco’s Last Supper No.3 is humorous presentation of the rather meandering route of the Philippines’ legal system for someone who wants justice. Yapan’s Gayuma, noted for its being the first-ever full-length feature film in the Bikol language, is a remarkable love story that transcends social class, religious and superstitious beliefs, and urban rural prejudices. Libiran’s Happyland brings the viewers into the labyrinthine Tondo, among the legendary barefooted football players at the heart of their dreams and desires.For inquiries and other details, please contact the Department of Media Studies of Ateneo de Naga University at (054)4738447 local 2022, look for Vic Nierva; or inquire through text messages at 09293371588.
Categories: Blogs, News, Personal Tags:

AdNU to hold conference on film, culture

January 9th, 2011 No comments


WITH THE prime aspiration of instigating a culture of filmmaking in Bicol, the Ateneo de Naga University Department of Media Studies and the Media Studies Society are holding the 2nd Bicol Conference on Communication and Media Studies on January 1 to February 2, 2011. With the title-theme “Pelikula@Kultura”, the conference is aimed at stirring the Bikolano students and enthusiasts to see the various images, artifacts and traditions and thereafter reflect on the possibilities of translating these riches into information transfer, expressions or advocacies through the art of film.

The conference will feature a list of lectures on the various essential aspects of film. The roster of lecturers is topped by the keynote speaker, Dr. Miguel Q. Rapatan, chair of the National Committee on Cinema of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Other lecturers are Prof. Tito Genova Valiente of AdNU (Film as Cultural Memory), Dr. Roland Tolentino, Dean of UP College of Mass Communication (Film Semiotics), Dr. Alvin B. Yapan, writer-filmmaker, and a faculty member of Ateneo de Manila University (Panitikan at Pamemelikula); Mr. Jerry B. Gracio, poet-screenwriter (Mga Tunguhin at Hamon ng Kontemporanyong Screenwriting); and Mr. Jim Libiran, filmmaker and journalist (Guerilla Filmmaking).

Screening of noted independent films will highlight the conference. Veronica Velasco’s Last Supper No.3 will be shown on January 31, Alvin Yapan’s Gayuma is scheduled to be shown on February 1, and Jim Libiran’s Happyland will be featured on February 2. Velasco’s Last Supper No.3 is humorous presentation of the rather meandering route of the Philippines’ legal system for someone who wants justice. Yapan’s Gayuma, noted for its being the first-ever full-length feature film in the Bikol language, is a remarkable love story that transcends social class, religious and superstitious beliefs, and urban rural prejudices. Libiran’s Happyland brings the viewers into the labyrinthine Tondo, among the legendary barefooted football players at the heart of their dreams and desires.

For inquiries and other details, please contact the Department of Media Studies of Ateneo de Naga University at (054)4738447 local 2022, look for Vic Nierva; or inquire through text messages at 09293371588.
Categories: Blogs, News, Personal Tags: