The Re-Emergence of Aklanon Literature
Melchor F. Cichon
Updated: March 9, 2008
(This article was based on the paper which this writer read during the First Provincial Conference on Aklanon History, Culture and Society, Second Floor, Capt. Gil M. Mijares Bldg., 19 Martyrs St., Kalibo, Aklan, April 21, 2006.
The word Aklanon has two meanings. It may refer to the natives of Aklan and to their language.
Aklanon literature refers to all kinds of literary works in any languages written by Aklanons, either published or unpublished.
In this paper, unless stated, Aklanon literature refers to the kind of literature written by Aklanons in their own language.
For several decades now Aklanons have been writing literary pieces in Spanish, Tagalog, Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a. Surprisingly, this writer has discovered that Aklanons have been writing poems in Aklanon since 1568.
In 1925, Gabriel M. Reyes published a novel, Toning. This 35-page novel in Hiligaynon was published by La Panayana. It’s last paragraph summarizes its story:
“Guincomosta niya si Toning, hinalucan ang bata sing catapusan, cag tumaliuan nga ualay guinbilin cundi ang masubo nga agui sang iya quinabuhi, nga nagapaguita sang mapait nga bunga sang bisio, cag con sa cay Toning nagapaquita man sang pagcaanyag sang virtud, cag pagcaquinahanglan sang caugdang sa isa ca babae sa bugos niya nga quinabuhi cag pagcahimtang.”
In 1926, Peping Tansinko Manyas published a short novel entitled Tagiposuon nga Hueowaran; Baeasahon Nga May Mataeupangdan. This 12-chapter novel tells about the heroic deeds of Pedring and his wife Pasing to free their fatherland from the colonizers.
Included in this work are the following poems by Manyas
“Sa Adlaw Nga Kinamatyan nay Doctor Jose Rizal”, dated December 1, 1913. This poem tells the significance of the death of Dr. Jose Rizal.
Here is the poem:
Sa Adlaw Nga Kinamatyan Nay Doctor Jose Rizal
Ni Peping Tansinko Manyas
Rizal, sa imong taeahurong eubnganan,
Nga binunyaga’t euha king ginikanan.
Sinubeaka’t matahum’g mang kabueakan;
Adlaw ngara, akon mang ginahaearan,
Ro imong mahimayaong eubongan,
Pag pamaeandong adlaw mong kinamatyan,
Pag panubos ku kalisdanang napas-an,
Ku banwang eumos sa kagha ag kaeupigan.
Dinuea, Rizal, kabuhi mo ag eawas,
Ku manga nag gahum’g, may gawing mapintas,
Apang ri’ng ngaean ag dugo nga umawas,
Nga sa kasakitan ku banwa humaw-as,
Sa among tagiposuon wa’t pag kaeugnas,
Rayang sinabod mong timgas nga eamigas,
Ay ro kaduemanan hay nabukeas,
Umiwag masigang Adlaw’t Pilipinas.
Rizal ro eubongan imo nga linugsad,
Wa mo kahilaki, kabuhing hinaead,
Sa kaeangitan imong pinanaad,
Dugo nimo nga inuea hay mamuad,
Maga kaaeaman nga ikabansag,
Nga maga hatud ku imong mga igmanghud,
Sa KAHIMAYAAN nimo nga gina hangad,
Ku banwa natong kueabos it paead.
Hinayhay sa atong manga kabukiran,
Sa makanonggusbong adlaw mong kinamatyan,
Hayahay nga bumayaw ku kadungganan,
Ku Pilipinas naton nga naeueotan,
Nga pumadabdab sa katagiposuonan,
Ku paghigugma sa banwang binugtawan;
Kabay nga imaw mabanhaw it uman,
Agud maangkon ro KAHAMUNGAYAAN.
Rizal, banwa’y naga antus kalisdanan,
Tuksa ro eangitnon nimo nga pueuy-an:
Tueoka makasisin-it nang kahimtangan,
Sa sugong nang gina antus nga kasakitan,
Eawod nga euha anang gina eanguyan,
Krus hay maw ra ana nga gabayan,
Nga sa kapilitan imaw hay maeugdang,
Kon ku atong manga kadugo imaw pabay-an.
Rizal, rayang adlaw nimong kinamatyan,
Among gina tahud ag gina padungganan,
Ag pag tahud ku adlaw nga kinamatyan,
Ku Makagagahum ag Hari sa tanan,
Tungod nga rayang adlaw mong kinamatyan,
Binayaw ag tinahod ro katarungan,
Ku Pilipinas naton nga nahamut-an.
Kalibo, Akean, Diciembre 1, 1913.
“Haead Sa Adlaw Nga Kinamatyan Ku Napueo Ag Siyam Sa Akean”, 1913. This relates to the death of the 19 Martyrs of Aklan. The English version of this poem was published in the book Hiligaynon Literature: Texts and Contexts (1992) edited by Lucila V. Hosillos.
Here is the Aklanon version:
Haead Sa Adlaw Nga Kinamatyan Ku Napueo Ag Siyam Sa Akean
Peping Tansinko Manyas
Makangingidleis, mamingaw nga kaaganhon,
Ro pomukaw sa inyo nga katoeugon,
Inyo nga gin bugtawan…Ay!...Kamatayon,
Gin tangisan it abung tagiposuon,
Ro inantus ninyong kasakit nga sugong,
Ku pag euwas sa Banwang kaugalingon.
Himaya kamon ro adlaw ngarandaya,
Nabukeas tabon sa among mata;
Sa inyong pag kamatay, kami kumilaea,
Ku pag higugma sa binugtawang banwa,
Eamigas ro inyo nga sinabod ngara,
Nga among gina palangga ag gina higugma.
Bulahan ro inyong manga kapaearan,
Ngani kamo among gina padunggan,
Himpit, tunay amon nga gina haearan,
Ro adlaw ngara nga inyong kinamatyan,
It bugana nga manga kalipayan,
Ag among gina hadkan ro inyong eubongan. (1926)
The first Aklanon translation of the Philippine National Anthem was translated into Aklanon by G. Peping Tansinko Manyas.
“Kaeantahon nga Pilipinhon” (Marcha Nacional Filipina),
Sinueat nay G. Jose Palma;
Gin Inakeanon nay G. Peping Tansinko Manyas,
Musika nay G. Julian Felipe.
Mutya't adlaw sa Sidlangan,
Eakas nang kasilaw,
Kimo'y naga parayaw
Natawhan't mga tawong bantugan,
Manga ibang nasyon,
Ikaw paga tahuron.
Sa eangit kimong gatimbang,
Sa bukid, kadagatan.
Wasaag ag hangad ku tanan,
Ro imong Katimawaan.
Ro imong hayahay nga sa pakig-awayan,
Di nimo paeung makit-an.
Anang Adlaw ag Kabituonan.
Eugta't kalipayan ag pag hiliuyon,
Kimo'y hamungaya mag pahimunong;
Sa imong manga inunga himaya,
Mag pagin-matay kon ikaw eupigon.
Here is my version of our national anthem.
• Banwang Hageangdon
ni Jose Palma
ni Melchor F. Cichon
Sta. Cruz, Lezo, Aklan
Onga't Adlaw nga Oriente.
Sa imong dughan
Ro kaeayo gadabdab.
Banwa it gugma;
Duyan it baganihan.
Ro mga sumaeakay
Sa asul nga eangit, sa agahon
Sa bukid, sa eawod,
Ring binaeaybay gasiga,
Sa mahae nga kahilwayan.
Ro kasiga king bandera
Gatao't pwersa sa kadaeag-an.
Maski hin--uno ring bituon, ring adlaw
Eugta't kalipayan, eugta it pagmahae.
Sa imong sabak himaya ro pangabuhi.
Gloria para kamon nga maghaead it dugo
Kon kimo may magsipaea.
“Haead Sa Pahayagang “Ro Akeanon”, April 26, 1913. This poem highlights the contributions of this newspaper to the development of Aklan.
Haead Sa Pahayagang “Ro Akeanon”
Ni Peping Tansinko Manyas
Binatyag it hagtob sa tagiposuon,
Ro kalipayan nga wa’t ikag tupong,
Pag kabaton ko, pahayagang RO AKEANON,
Pag katawo nga mabuhay eon nga handom,
Nga maga ta-o’t daean sa pag paangkon
Ag pag dalisay hambae nga kaugalingon.
Hamungayaon ag bugnaan’t kaeangitan,
Kabuhi nga haeawig ikaw hay taw-an,
Ayunan, dapigan, padunggan, unongan,
Sagupon, ag ku tanan ikaw buligan,
Ku mahiligugmaon sa banwang minat-an,
At ring kabuhi hay kadungganan’t Akean.
Batona rayang kubos nakong paarag,
Sa imong pag katawo akong nahaead,
Kabay nga riing daeang masiga nga iwag,
Sa mga kabanwaunan eumapeaag,
Ag sa katagiposuonan mamuskad,
Ro imong katuyoang eabi sa kayad-ayad.
Kalibo, Akean, Abril 26, 1913.
“Sa Manga Kadaeagahan Nga Tubo Sa Akean”, April, 1914. This poem relates the beauty of Aklanon ladies who are ready to offer their lives for their country.
Also in this book is Manyas’ translation of the Spanish poem by Manuel Laserna entitled: Eugta’ng Nahamut-an (Sinueat nay Manuel Laserna.). Its original Spanish version is also found in this book.
Here are the two versions of this poem. The Aklanon version is followed by the Spanish version.
Ni Manuel Laserna
Eugta nga naeueotan,
Kadalig ku imong ngaean,
Sa handung ku hayahay,
Nga may adlaw ag bituon,
Nga sa kaeuwasan gutom.
Banwang gina mahae ag nahamut-an,
Kimo ko gina paarag tanan,
Manggad ag kusog pati kaaeaman,
Sa pag tinguha imong kalipayan.
Kong ra akong dugo pa kinahangean,
Sa pag eubos ku imng kaeuwasan,
Kabuhi indi pag kahilakan,
Kimo ko gina haead tanan.
Here is the Spanish version:
Cuan dulce es tu nombre,
Bajo la sombra de tu bandera,
Con sol y estrellas,
El Corazon palpita sediento de libertad.
Patria de mis amores,
Por y para ti ofrezco,
Salud y ciencia por lograr tu libertad.
Si mi sangre, salud y ciencia por lograr tu libertad.
Si mi sangre aun es necesaria para tu felicidad,
La vida es nada! Morir quisiera:
Todo per ti, hasta la mas cara.
Note: The title of the Spanish version is supplied by this writer.
In 1957, Tente Undoy published Mga Bilisad-on. This includes 105 maxims in Akeanon.
This is how Tente Undoy describes bilisad-on or maxim:
“Ro bilisad-on hay mga matimgas ag matadlong nga bisaea nga hanungod sa mga kamatuoran sa kinabuhi sa ibabaw it kalibutan. Ro anang kusog ku rondayang mga kamatuoran naga patadlong ku tiku nga ugali; nagapapatagumpa-aw it poaino-inong nahahababaeanga sa pag pangabuhi nga pa tunyo-tunyo; nagapabugtaw it nagakinatueog nga mga taw sa andang damguhanon; nagapapalipay it maayadayad sa linaw it kalisdanan; nagata-o it pasalig sa tagipusu-on nga naga pabaya eonlang sa hunod it maea-in nga paead; ag nagatuytoy sa daean nga gina iwagan it owa naga amamaeong nga kahayag it sidlangan.”
Here are some of them (unedited):
Item 7. Ro pinaligos nga ugali mabudlay mabanlawan. Ro kaeangsa ku hugom it ugaling watsayud ginakangil-ad it kadagayaan.
Item No. 11. Kinahangean nga duea-on tar o pagkahadluk sa atong painoino ay kun ro tawo ma-unahan it kahadluk sa atubangan it disgrasya, naduea eagi ro katunga ku anang kusog sa eawas ag kapagsik ka hibaeo.
Item No. 62. Ayaw pag matamataha o sikasika-a ro Makita mong parang minimong tawong sumaeangdo sa imong tangpaan ay indi mo masayran kun mas tampapaw pa ro ana ko imong baean-an o kabusali-an
Item No. 64. Tanan ro butang riya sa kalibutan may pagea-in sa datihan. Busa, atong nanid-an nga owat matulis nga indi masumpo,owat mataeas nga indi mag umae.
Item No. 105. Ponggan mo ring kaila kon ro imong naila-an nga bagay indo nimo mabu-oe sa matawhay ag matarung nga pag hingoha. Ayaw pag gamiti it paagi nga gina himo eamang kung sapat nga owa it paino-ino ag hibaeo. Kun hilipata nimo ra, kamana man it sapat ro pag hayga ag pag kabig kimo.
We can see some of the old Aklanon poems in the book Contributions of the Aklan Mind to Philippine Literature by Beato de la Cruz. This particular book, one can find some pre-Spanish literature, literature of the Spanish period, Spanish writers in Aklan, and the writers in the vernacular.
But the oldest Aklanon poem that this writer has known is The “Song of Balinganga”
Balinganga was said to be the eldest son of Bangkaaya, one of the first Malayan datus who migrated to Panay Island in 1212.
Nabor (1968) gives us a good background of this poem:
The “Song of Balinganga”
“Other than the syllabary itself, the most antiquated sample of Old Inakeanon writing that we have so far is the 1911 reproduction made by Capitan Juan Orbista of the 1725 Moysing reproduction of the 1568 Kabanyag reproduction of the original “Song of Balinganga.” According to tradition, the original and the rest of its copies were written on hardwood (amaga) tablets.
The Juan Orbista reproduction was submitted by Apolinar Orbista, Sr., eldest son of the former, to the chairman of the Aklaniana Research Society in appropriate ceremonies held at the Aklan College Auditorium in 1962.
In his manuscript, Orbista (the elder) explains that his reproduction is but a hokwa or a copy of a writing which goes back to Balinganga, The Orbista Ms. contains a number of other songs and poems in Inakeanon writing, It also contains Orbista’s transcription of the famous Code of Kalantiaw from the original syllabic writing system into contemporary Inakeanon graphics.”
Here is the poem:
Hanongod sa dato,
Nga si Bangkaaya,
Ag anang asawa,
Imaw si Katorong,
Kat sanda nga daywa
Mga bataon pa.
Sanda hay nagkita
Sa sangka daeanon,
Miron nga dongganon:
Ag sanglit gaoy eon
Rato nga daeaga,
Datong miron kana.
Sinangpit nat dayon
Nga kana omaba,
Agod di gaoyon,
Dayon na nga abhon
Ay mana eat opa,
Kono, kabog-at na
Kato nga daeaga.
Miron ag daeaga:
Nagpanaw sa nayon
Kon tawgon Tawaya
The Aklanon oral literature can be found in our luwa, riddles, legends, proverbs, and composo.
Luwa is a form of poetry that is usually written in four lines. It used to be the first stanza of corrido, that kind of poetry that relates the exploits of kings and princes.
Because luwa were recited in the wakes as a part of a punishment to whoever is the loser in a game like konggit, truth or consequence, and bordon, they are very much appreciated if the lines have rhymes, rhythms, and humor.
Luwa have aaaa, aabb, and abab rhyme structure. Occasionally, we can find luwa that have abcd endings.
Example of an aaaa rhyme:
Pag-agto ko sa Ibajay
May hakita ako nga patay
Ginbagting ko ra eagay
Mas mabaskog pa sa lingganay.—Unknown
For the aabb example:
Pag-agto ko sa bukid
Nakakita ako it ibid;
Paglingot ko sa waea
Gatueok kakon rang nobya.--Melchor F. Cichon
For the abab ending, here is an example.
Igto sa bukid
May busay nga naga-ilig;
Kon magpaligos igto si Ismid
May daeang butong nga binulig.--Melchor F. Cichon
And for abcd scheme, here is an example:
Ikaw ro kalipay
Ku tagipusuon kong gakusmaod,
Ikaw ro nagpahamtang
Ku probinsya it Akean sa bug-os nga kalibutan.--Cirilo Castillon, Jr.
There are luwa with Spanish and English words:
Ro habakae ni Nanay ibis
Ana ra nga gintuom—Melchor F. Cichon
There are bawdy luwa, but they are full of imagery. Here is an example:
Pag-agto ko sa Boracay
Napusa ro ay Inday nga tuway;
Pagkasayod ka anang nanay,
Ana imaw nga ginminueay.--Melchor F. Cichon
There are luwa that have double meanings. These are the luwa that belong to the adults, if they can decipher the meaning. Here two examples.
Masupsup kunta ako
Sa maisot mo nga tuway
Ugaling ra diperensya
May guardia nga anay. --Melchor F. Cichon
Maligos kunta ako
Sa maisot mo nga sapa
Ugaling ro kinasaea
May guardia civil sa tunga.--Unknown
There are luwa that are really metaphysical. Here is one:
Kon gusto mo gid man ako
Nga mangin nobya mo;
Ro adlaw imo nga tukuran
Agod indi kita madueman.--Melchor F. Cichon
Here are some contemporary luwa with traditional undertone.
Nag-agto ako sa Ibajay
Masadya gid anang bay-bay
Owa ako it oras nga magtampisaw
Ay ro barko eon hay mapanaw.--Badjao
Nagpanindahan ako sa Malinao
Kaibahan ko si Tatay
Nagbakae it bolinao
Pasalubong kay nanay.--Losally R. Navarro
Manami kunta tan-awon
Kitang mga Pilipino nagahugpong;
Paano kita magtililipon
Ay owa’t trabaho sa aton.--Ni Bugoy
Kon fiesta sa Lezo,
Ro tagbaeay owa eon gaabiso
Basta bukas ro andang pwertahan
Sueod, kumaon nga owa’t dahan.--ni.Jay Jose Feliciano
Like any other people, Aklanons like riddles. Here are some of them.
Magueang eon si Isyang indi pa gihapon kantigo mag-iwang.
Daywa ka itlog, gakabit-kabit.
Kon gapasueod, masakit; kon sa sueod eon, nagapamamit.
Ro kaeo ni Esko, puno it bueawan.
Maitum ag boebueon, mapuea Kon busikaron.
Batsihon ra ueo, pero ra utok manami supsupon.
Si San Pedro, gueoson ra gueo.
Bubon nga madueom, puno it sanduko.
Bubon nga madaeum, puno it espada.
Like any other maxims, Aklanon maxims serve as reminder to everyone. Here are some of them:
Babaye, madanlog ro atong kalibutan.
Magdahan ka gid ay basi ka hidaphag
Ag ro imong alima hay maeapukan.
Babaye, ring kadungganan haeongi
Agod ring mga unga
Indi magpanunod king kahueoy-anan.
Baeay man nga bato
Kon ro gaestar hay demonyo,
Mas mayad pa ro kubo
Kon ro gaestar hay tawo.
Bag-o himuon ro anong butang,
Hunahunaa anay ro imong abutan.
Bag-o ka magkaon
Panumduma ro nagta-o kimo.
Bag-ong hari, bag-ong ugali.
Bag-ong pare, bag-ong paagi’t pagsermon.
Bangud sa gugma
Nahimo nga ikog si Maria.
Basta bata, gahuro-huro pa.
Basta umpisa malisod.
Bisan alinon mo nga paksi
Ay pinaligos nga ugali.
Bisan alinon nga pagtago it baga,
Madabdab ay kaeayo.
Bisan ano kadueom
Bisan ano kahaba ku eubid
May utbong gid.
Bisan ano kahaba nga prosesyon
Sa simbahan man gihapon madayon.
Bisan ano kapait patam-isa eang.
Bisan ano katig-a
May parti gid nga mahumok.
Komposo are folk songs. Aklanon folk songs deal on environment like the following:
Mamugon ako, mamugon
Sa tawo nga manggaranon;
Alas dos ako pakan-on, ay, ay,
Orasyon ako paulion.
Pag-abot ko man sa baeay,
Mangayo ako it humay;
Tinuro ako ni Tatay, ay, ay,
Una sa eusong ro paeay.
Alinon ko man ro paeay,
Eawas ko karon ginabudlay;
Kon buhi kunta si Nanay, ay,.ay,
Makaon ako, mapahuway.
Kaming magmamani, duro sa kaimoe;
Kaming magmamani, nga makaeueuoy;
Kaming magmamani, nga owa't ikasuboe;
Among ginapakita ro mehoras namon sa Daja.
Ay sa kailo kaming magmamani,
Birang do among saya, kulintas nga mani;
Singsing ag pulseras, aritos nga mani,
Among ginapakita ro mehoras namon sa Daja.
TIKWI! ABAW RONG BANUG
Tikwi! Abaw rong Banug
Nga nagbalik sa ginpukanan.
Siniba ni Bukbulilaw,
NAGTANUM AKO’T PINYA
Nagtanum ako’t pinya,
Sa binit it karsada;
Umagi ro maistra,
Good morning, maayong aga.”
“O Nanay, O Tatay,
Tagai ako’t piso.
Ginaalin do piso?
Ibakae it aritos!
Aritos nga moda,
Angay gid sa daeaga;
Angay gid pangasaw-on.
PINPIN DE SIRAPIN
Pinpin di sirapin
Kutsilyo de almacin
Haw-haw di karabaw
Sayang pula, tatlong pera
Sayang puti, tatlong salapi
Tigbak, buang, binunu, aswang.
As for the Aklanon written literature, we find them in longer poems, short stories, novels, essays, and lately haiku.
Except for riddles, composo, proverbs and luwa, most of the Aklanon written poetry, legends and short stories are in English. This is understandable because there were no venues for Aklanon literature. If there were they were very limited. We have for example the Aklan Reporter published and edited by Mr. Roman de la Cruz that used to publish Aklanon short stories. Or those who have the means would just publish their own works.
As a result most of the Aklanon writers would contribute their pieces to national magazines like the Philippines Free Press, Liwayway and Sunday Times Magazine. But the competition in these magazines is very stiff.
After the 1986 EDSA Revolution came a new literary revolution in Western Visayas.
Spearheaded by Dr. Leoncio P. Deriada, a former professor in literature at the U.P. in the Visayas, a literary revolution took place almost simultaneously in Iloilo, Antique, and Aklan.
Through his encouragement and with funding from the Cultural Center of the Philippines and later through the Presidential Commission for Culture and the Arts, which later gave way for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), writers in these provinces started to write poems and short stories in Ilonggo, Kinaray-a and in Aklanons.
The NCCA encouraged the establishments of local arts councils and subsidized conferences, workshops and publications. It also awarded writing grants and venue grants. Two of these writers who availed of these writing grants were Prof. John Barrios and this writer. The Bishop Gabriel Reyes Foundation also availed of these grants.
Dr. Deriada’s “political approach” to encourage local writers to write in their own languages was effective. He said this to Kinaray-a writers.
“My politicizing would begin by my saying: There is no such thing as a superior language. No one can give power and dignity to your language except you. Your language has dignity and power if you can do three things with it: sing your songs in it, compose your poems in it, and pray in it. If you can do these in Kinaray-a, then your language is the same level as any language in the world.”
Later, he used the same approach to Aklanon writers.
After conducting creative writing workshops and contests among Ilonggo and Kinaray-a writers, Dr. Deriada continued his crusade to Aklan. Here is how he practically twisted the arms of Aklanon writers to write in Aklanon:
“Liberating itself likewise from literary oblivion was Aklanon. Just as the Antiquenos were forming Tabig, emerging Aklanon writers also formed the Aklanon Literary Circle in Kalibo. Spearheading this was Melchor F. Cichon, a librarian at UP Visayas. Ably assisting him was UP Visayas student John E. Barrios.
“In my various workshops in Iloilo, Cichon had been there listening to the things I was telling Kinaray-a writers to challenge them. Cichon - and Barrios - took the challenge and soon the Aklan issue of Ani, which I edited with Cichon, et al., was published by the CCP and launched in Kalibo in early 1993. Cichon, who was by then writing in English and Tagalog-based Filipino, turned out to be the leading poet in his language and has the distinction of being the first Aklanon ever to publish a book of poems in his own language. Eventually, Cichon and Barrios won writing grants from the CCP.”
The first creative writing workshop held in Kalibo, Aklan was on November 9-10, 1991 under the leadership of Dr. Leoncio P. Deriada. It was sponsored by the newly established Aklanon writers, the Akeanon Literary Circle. On January 28, 1994, the first issue of Bueabod, the literary journal of Akeanon Literary Circle, was launched in Kalibo, Aklan. . It was in the same occasion when the special Aklanon Issue of Ani was launched.
Aside from encouraging the writers in Western Visayas to write, he also encouraged them to enter into a literary contest. One of these contests is the Bigkas
This annual written and oral poetry competitions have produced a considerable number of poems in Kinaray-a, Hiligaynon, Filipino and Aklanon.
Through the years, Aklanon poets have been winning in this contest. This includes Melchor F. Cichon, Rommel Constantino, Alexander de Juan, Rocky Abello, Antonio F. Tolentino, and June Mijares. Their winning entries are included in Bigkas Binalaybay; Kritisismo, Antolohiya, edited by John E. Barrios, Melchor F. Cichon, Jonathan P. Jurilla, and J. I. E. Teodoro., 2008.
When the Aklanon Literary Circle (ALC) was formed in the 1990s, Melchor Cichon, John Barrios and Alexander de Juan put up Bueabod, the literary journal of ALC. It was a one-page mimeograph or photo-copied journal. In this journal some contemporary Aklanon poets like John Barrios, Pett Candido, Alexander de Juan, Jeoffrey Ricafuente, Rommel Constantino and others contributed poems. It was also in this journal where the Aklanon poems of Dominador Ilio and Roman de la Cruz first appeared. Both writers are considered the finest among the elder Aklanon English writers.
Here is a poem by Dominador Ilio:
Ro masi-ut nga katamnan it bita
(Ro anang mapait nga panit it kahoy
Gina ea-ga para bueong sa takig)
Hay kadueom ku kinaunang eubnganan
Nga gintawag nga Bita.
Ro baeay ku tatlong magmanghod
Nga si Anacleta, si Josefa ag si Lorenza
Hay una sa maeunang nga aeagyan sa Bita.
Ro baeay ku ap-at nga eaking magmanghud
Nga si Manuel, si Tomas, si Amadeo,
Ag si Jose una man sa daean pa Bita.
Sanda tanan nagsaad nga mamuyo sa maeayo,
Sa maeayo-eayo sa Bita.
Ngani pinangasawa ni Amadeo si Anacleta
Ag nagbungkas sanda it paag sa Kabangkat,
Si Manuel dinaea nana s Josefa ag idto
Nagbaeay ag nanguma sa bukid it San Dimas,
Pinangasawa ni Tomas si Lorenza ag sa Kogon
Nananum sanda it abung euy-a ag eunga
Si Jose inapok sa Patnongon sa Antique
Idto nangasawa ag wa gid hibalik sa Bita.
Apang sa kabuhayan, ro andang mga inunga
Ro nag hatud kanda tanan balik sa Bita.
Here is one of the Aklanon poems of Roman de la Cruz:
Tampuean mo ku imong
Mainit-init nga paead
Ro maeamig ko nga likod
Ag tug-anan mo ako
Nga indi mo eon pag-aywan.
Tamda ro atong kahapon
Kat owa ka pa magtugbong sa syudad.
Nagsumpaan kita nga magmaeahaean
Hasta sa kamatayon
Suno sa kudlit ku atong paead.
Kon pumanaw ka it uman
Kahil-o man dayang gugma.
Many of the poems published in this journal were anthologized in Patubas, Ani (Aklanon issue), and in Mantala. Some of them were selected as best poems of the month by Mr. Isagani Cruz in his column Critic at Large.
From 1986 to 2000, three books were published by NCCA edited by Dr. Deriada et al. which included Aklanon poems. One of these books is the Ani Aklanon issue. In 1999, the book by Melchor F. Cichon, Ham-at Madueom Ro Gabii ? (Bakit Madilim Ang Gabi?) was published.
The books on poetry by Bellysarius de la Cruz came out within this period. These are With Hope Undying (1988); Earth Glare (1994) and Poems in Praise of God (1997) In 2000, the novel of Roman de la Cruz, Life with the Family; a folk autobiographical novel came out.
In 1998, five Aklanon short stories were published in the book: Selebrasyon at Lamentasyon: Antolohiya ng Maikling Kuwento ng Panay edited by Carmen L. de los Santos, Ma. Milagros G. Lachica and John E. Barrios.
A breakthrough came out in 2002 when the first Aklanon haiku written by this writer came out in SanAg, the literary journal of the Fray Luis de Leon Creative Writing Desk, University of San Agustin, Iloilo City.
Here are three of the five haiku:
ro asul nga kahayag
gaagi eampas sa kalibutan
ro eaking unga gapakalimos
sa baybaon it Boracay
si Flor nag-uli halin sa Singapore
sa sueod it kahon
Another breakthrough in Aklanon literature took place in 2002 when the haiku by this writer was published in Heron’s Nest, an international haiku journal based in America. (see the haiku below).
Another breakthrough in Aklanon literature took place in 2005 when the first Aklanon collection of short stories by Prof. John E. Barrios, Engkant(aw)o ag iba pa nga Tag-ud nga Istorya came out.
When the Aklanon Literary Circle was formed, almost all the members then were college students like John Barrios, Alexander de Juan, Jeoffrey Villafuente, and Rommel Constantino. The youngest was Am Roselo. He was still a high school student then.
But after their graduation, Bueabod hibernated for almost a decade.
While Bueabod was hibernating, a new writing venue was evolving in the Philippines. This is the internet.
And with internet, a new kind of Aklanon literature evolved. This is what is now known as the Aklanon virtual literature.
Through the internet new Aklanon writers were discovered and new types of poems were added to Aklanon literature. These are haiku, senryu, and tanka. These are all Japanese types of short poems which had never been utilized by Aklanon writers until the new millennium.
As mentioned earlier, the new crop of Aklanon poets came out as a result of the appearance of this website: http://www.my.akeanon.com/.
This website was created by a group of young Aklanons where Aklanons from different parts of the globe can exchange ideas.
Then one day a certain Tata_Goloy opened a thread, Kangga ni Tata_Goloy. In this website, many Aklanons posted their opinions on how to further develop Aklan. Some of the contributors include beeSPUNKY in Canada, bugoy in Federated States of Micronesia, Cinderella in Alaska, USA, ember in Manila, Gumamila in Iloilo, kal in Alaska, miss-terryosa in Iloilo City, SunflowR in Florida, USA, Swiss in Switzerland, Tata-Goloy in Michigan, USA, Toryo in one of the states in USA, water sprite , in Manila, yamanitoshi in Makati, Manila, and Maeara, in Iloilo. All of them are Aklanons and have one common desire—to write essays and poems.
All the contributors used aliases.
Then a certain Badjao opened a new thread in my.akeanon.com. He called it Iskul Bukol.
In this thread, some of the above contributors posted poems in Inakeanon. Noting that the so-called poems posted in this new thread needed rewriting, Maeara posted some comments to improve their works.
Then SunflowR posted a haiku written by Melchor F. Cichon from Heron’s Nest, an online haiku journal based in America.
Here is the copy of that haiku. It is a poem on the impact of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo to a town in Pampanga: And this is the first haiku published in an international journal written by an Aklanon
a boy digs in the mud
that buried a cathedral
Heron’s Nest, Vol. IV, No. 9: September, 2002
Knowing that Maeara is no other than this writer, Tata_Goloy asked him to conduct a virtual class in poetry writing.
He agreed to conduct a virtual poetry workshop.
Adopting the technique used by Dr. Leoncio P. Deriada in creative writing workshops, this writer suggested to them that they first write and post their haiku, luwa, or longer poems in my.akeanon.com website.
And they did post their contributions in this website.
Every Saturday, this writer collected their works, wrote his comments on them and then posted the original and the corrected ones.
The result of that virtual workshop is the book: Haiku, Luwa and Other Poems Written by Aklanons edited by Melchor F. Cichon, Edna Laurente Faral and Losally R. Navarro (2005).
But before this, this writer has developed a website that focuses on Aklanon literature (http://www.geocities.com/aklanonliterature) In this website one can find Aklanon riddles, maxims, luwa, longer poems, songs, legends, short stories, profiles of Aklanon writers, annotated Aklanon bibliography, and haiku. As of April 17, 2006, this website was visited 16, 417 times. Modesty aside, this website is the most popular website on Aklanon literature.
This writer has a blog, http://anahawleaf.blogspot.com, which features his haiku and luwa.
In 2007, Melchor F. Cichon selected 25 of the best poems written by Aklanons. The result of this collection is posted in his blog Bueabod It Akeanon Literary Circle, http://bueabodalc.blogspot.com/
Also in 2007, he collected the works of Aklanon women poets. Again this collection is found in the above blog.
Both collections are first in the history of Aklanon literature.
What do Aklanon writers write? Who are the writers? What is the quality of their works?
What do Aklanon writers write?
Through the years, Aklan writers, like other writers in the Philippines, wrote on oppression, corruption, poverty, exploitation of women and the environment, love, religion, politics, insurgency, and hope. This is so because many of them are college trained and have gone to many places outside of Aklan like Manila, Iloilo , Antique. And abroad.
Allow this writer to present some Aklanon contemporary poets and present some of their works.
Losally R. Navarro was born in Banga, Aklan on January 3, 1973 but grew up in Malinao. Losally now stays in Calvary, Alberta, Canada. In the February issue of Homelife, a national magazine, one of her haiku was published.
Two of Navarro's best haiku are:
bisan ro atong taj mahal
hay obra sa botong.
si Maria Clara
nag-agto sa Amerika
pag-uli naka-minis-skirt eot-a
Amzi V. Martinez was born in December 1976 in Balete, Aklan. He is presently working in Tofol, Lelu, Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia as a Vocational Instructor.
Here is an example of his luwa:
Manami kunta tan-awon
Kitang mga Pilipino nagahugpong;
Paano kita magtililipon
Ay owa’t trabaho sa aton?
Ellamae Fernandez was born on April 18, 1986. She is from Lezo, Aklan. Here is an example of her work:
Jay Jose Feliciano is from Kalibo, Aklan. He is presently working in Alaska, USA. Here is one of his poems:
naka-Mercedes nga gobyerno
Ma. Terry F. Marte is from Poblacion, Lezo, Aklan. Here is an example of her haiku:
indi mahuyap nga euha
ro nahueog sa madamoe nga paead
sa idaeum it adlaw
Edna Romulo Laurente Faral was born in Batan, Aklan but resides in Tampa, Florida with her family. She is not only a folk dancer par excellence, but a fine haijin as well. Here are four of her finest haiku:
sa punta ka eang
ginatago sa dughan
Ikaw ag Ako
ikaw ag ako
sa tulay nga butong gaeatay
Renelyn Beglinger-Vallejo is married to a Swiss national and they now live in Switzerland. She was born in Ochando, Banga, Aklan.
Nga ginatawag nga paraiso—
Ham-at maputi ro baeas
Indi kaparis sa Kalibo?
7 kakilometro dayang isla
Maisot manlang ikumpara sa iba.
Ham-an abu nga hotel
Nga ginpatindog iya?
Owa sanda nahadlok’nga eumubog ra?
Cirilo Castillon, Jr. or Tata Goloy was born in Badio, Numancia. After working at the U.S. Naval Base in Subic Bay, Olongapo City, he then went to Saudi Arabia, and later on settled in Michigan , USA. Here are his haiku and his luwa:
hasta sa katapusan.
Nag-agto Ako sa Kalibo
Nag-agto ako sa Kalibo
Nakakita ako’t mag-asawang mueto
Umalagwa gid ako it tudo
Iwag manlang gali’t awto.
Cris Ocampo. Cris was born in Kalibo and finished his high school at Pilot Science Development National High School , (now Regional Science High School) in Kalibo, Aklan. A martial law baby, one can see his political ideas in his haiku and luwa.
gapanago sa amamakoe
Abaw kanami isipon
Ro Jawili nga mahae nakon
Ano natabo kimo makaron
Musyon akon ikaw nga tatapon
Belle Nabor. Her haiku have been published the Mainichi Daily News, a world famous newspaper that prints haiku. . Her other haiku were included in Sakura Anthology of Haiku published in Sweden along with other world famous haijin like Robert D. Wilson, Michael Rehling, an’ya, and 27 other poets, The Makata, Short Stuff, and in Poetry Country Mouse. Her popular blog, http://short.poems.blogspot.com/, that features her short poems: haiku, tanka, and cinquain, has been instrumental in her introduction to world haiku.
Here are some of her works:
sa sueod it train
maghueag ro siyudad
gaoy eon sa pagtinan-aw
it kalibutan, ro kuhoe --
ro kahon sa atic
hay puno’t sueat, lus-aw nga tinta
ratong owa’t kaeag nga papel—gausoy
bukon kato’t madali
ro pagpapahuway kana
para kino, maumpisa ako’t pagsueat
ku rayang binaeaybay, bag-ong hugpong
nga mga bisaea kaibahan kay tagipusuong
puno it pag-eaom
indi ako makahambae
Halipatan Ro Oras
galingkod kita nga daywa
sa idaeum it kabituonan
gabueabod ro atong mga alima
owa naton hipan-uhi
ro pag-abot it kaagahon
Edmund Saldivia. The poet is a licensed engineer. He now works as a system analyst in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He is a native of Kalibo, Aklan.
Ku panahon it Kastila,
Ro cacique bugana.
Sanda ro ginasaligan,
Ku eugta it simbahan.
Ginatunga do patubas,
Sa mamueogon may bawas.
Sa mangunguma ikap-at nga parte,
Ro habilin ana ku prayle.
Sa makarong henerasyon,
Ro cacique, iya gihapon.
Maeapit sa trono,
Alipores it palasyo.
Inutang nga kapital,
Si Juan ro kolateral.
Pasaka taga dag-on,
Basta eat-a inaywan,
Sa tugpa-an it eroplano.
Kontrolado ro kargamento,
Sa daungan it barko.
Tubi ag kuryente,
Sa alima ga-agi.
Owa’t mayad nga amot,
Sa agrikultura ag industriya.
Sa ikonomiya it banwa.
George Calaor. An Aklanon who wishes to have better Philippines, George has been writing poems with social relevance. Here is one of his best poems.
Buyti't hugot ring espading
Ag hawani ratong mga panamgo
Nga ginakapyutan it kalisud
Iya sa maliway nga kampo.
Tapsa ro mga pagduhaduha
Nga nagapaeuya sa eawas
Ag pas-anon ro mga kalisud
Nga nagapabakod it dughan.
Nagadaea it pag-eaom.
Ag sa pangamuyo mo
Buksi ring tagipusuon
Ag isugid sa Ginuo
Ro bug-us nimo nga ginapangayu:
Nga ro katubwan hay mangin saksi
Sa pag-abot ku oras,
Sa mabahoe nga kadaeag-an--
Ag padayon nga kahilwayan.
Melchor F. Cichon
nagsueod ro aninipot
sa baeay namon
Ku Ati-atihan 2005 sa Kalibo
Sa plaza nag-eapta ro mga tawo
Ay nagpaburot ka armalite
Si SPO1 Jonathan Moreño
Analysis of the three periods of the Aklanon literature
Pre-Deriada, Before 1986
During this period, Aklanon writers were writing mostly in English and Spanish. But there were some Aklanon writers who wrote in Aklanon.
The most prominent among these writers were Peping Tansinko Manyas, Manuel Laserna, Roman de la Cruz, Leopoldo A. de la Cruz, and Dominador Ilio.
Although, NVM Gonzales, Josephine Barrios and Jose Dalisay are all Aklanons by blood, they never have written any Aklanon poem or short story.
Of those who wrote poems in Aklanon were Manuel Laserna and Peping Manyas. In their writings, both Laserna and Manyas wrote on freedom and love of country. Their writing structure was mostly rhymed and metered.
Deriada Period, 1986-2004. During this period, new Aklanon writers were discovered. Influenced by Deriada, through his creative writing workshops and private conversations with the Aklanon writers, these new writers wrote mostly in Aklanon, English, and in Filipino. Almost all of them wrote in free verse, except Mr. Roman de la Cruz, who preferred to write in rhyme, but not metered. Their topics are now widened: love, poverty, nationalism, environment, gender. This was due to the writers' diverse milieu and experiences. All the new writers have gone to college and have traveled outside of Aklan. The many contests and grants given by the NCCA have boostered their enthusiasm. The help of Dr. Deriada in the re-emergence of Aklanon literature is great. It was during this time that the special issue of Ani came out. It was during this period that some poems in Aklanon came out in Mantala and in Patubas. It was also in this period that Alexander de Juan, Roman de la Cruz, John Barrios and Melchor F. Cichon won local and national awards and book writing grants. The book Ham-at Madueom Ro Gabii (Bakit Madilim ang Gabi) by Melchor F. Cichon was published. He eventually won the coveted Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas (for Aklanon Poetry). It was given by Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL).
It was also during this period that the New Testament was translated and published in Macar Enterprises. It was translated by Vellyzarius de la Cruz.
Post-Deriada Period, 2005-2007
With the emergence of the World Wide Web and through the encouragement of Melchor F. Cichon, many new Aklanon poets were discovered. Many of them are Aklanons living in America and Europe. Through the internet and the creation of the website: http://www.my.akeanon.com/, many of the newly discovered Aklanon poets contributed their poems in this website. They wrote haiku, luwa and other poems. The result of their creative works were published in a book: Haiku, Luwa and Other Poems by Aklanon edited by Melchor F. Cichon, Edna Laurente Faral, and Losally Navarro. It was also during this period where many Aklanon luwa were written. The subjects of their works were varied: love, nature, under development, gender, nationalism, poverty and almost all topics. It was during this period also where luwa writing was given emphasis and published in the internet . The latest addition to Aklanon literature is the publication in the internet of poetry for children. However, only about three poets who have been writing on this: Melchor F. Cichon, Cirilo Castillon, Jr. and Edna Laurente Faral.
Problems being encountered by Aklanon writers
Unlike the English and Filipino writers, Aklanon writers encounter a lot of problems.
1. There is not enough copies of Aklanon dictionaries. At the moment, there are three Aklanon dictionaries. The book by Reyes et al. is now out of print, while that
of de la Cruz is expensive. The work by Braulio is not that many.
Braulio, Eleanor Perucho. Akean-Filipino leksikon. Macar Enterprises,1999. 177p.
De la Cruz, Roman A. Five-language dictionary (Panay Island): English, Tagalog, Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, Aklanon. Kalibo: Rock Publishing, 2003. 919p.
Reyes, Vicente Salas, Nicolas L. Prado, R. David Paul Zorc. A Study of the Aklanon Dialect. Vol. 2: Dictionary. Kalibo, Aklan: Public Domain, 1969. 396p.
2. The second problem is the lack of encouragement and financial support from school administrators on the publication of their school organs.
3. Very few literature teachers in Aklan discuss the literary works of Aklanons writers in their literature classes.
4. There is a lack of literary contests in Aklan.
5. Workshops for creative writers are not held oftenly in Aklan especially for high school students, and those who are new in creative writing.
6. Lack of outlets for their outputs, although there are now blogspots.
What is next for Aklanon writers?
From the above statements, it is noticeable that Aklanon literature for children like nursery rhymes, and short stories, are very scarce. This writer hopes that this gap will soon be filled up by the present and future Aklanon writers.
It seems too that Aklanon contemporary writers will still write poetry, but mostly short poetry, like luwa and haiku.
As for the contents, Aklanon poets and fiction writers will still be writing poems, etc. with social relevance as they are still experiencing the impact of poverty, injustices, corruption, environmental degradation, and many other social issues.
In conclusion, Aklanon literature has a tradition to think of. Through the centuries, Aklanons have been writing different types of literature: poems, short stories, novels, riddles, songs, maxims, and legends. Through the internet Aklanon writers have been exposed to world literature particularly the short poems like haiku and tanka.
Barrios, John E., Cichon, Melchor F., Jurilla, Jonathan P. and Teodoro, J. I. E., eds. Bigkas Binalaybay; Kritisismo, antolohiya. Iloilo City: Sentro ng Wikang Filipino, Unibersidad ng Pilipinas Visayas and Pambansang Komisyon para sa Kultura at mga Sining, 2008. 171p.
Cichon, Melchor F. Belle Nabor: A Filipino Haijin. Posted November 28, 2005. http://www.akeanon.com/. Retrieved: April 16, 2006.
Cichon, Melchor F. Dr. Leoncio P. Deriada: Masiglang Lider Sa Muling Pag-Uswag Ng Malikhaing Panulat sa Western Visayas. Daluyan, the official publication of the Sentro Ng Wikang Filipino, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 8-11, 1994.
De Juan, Alexander C. Ang Pag-ahon Ng Nakasulat na Literaturang Aklanon. Daluyan, the official publication of the Sentro Ng Wikang Filipino, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, vol. 5, No. 2, pp.15-16, 1994.
De la Cruz, Beato. Contributions of the Aklan Mind to Philippine Literature. San Juan, Rizal: Kalantiao Press, 1958. 97p.
Deriada, Leoncio. Literature engineering in West Visayas. Forum, Opisyal na Pahayagan ng Universidad ng Pilipinas, March 28, 2006. http://www.up.edu.ph/forum/2000/03/28/litengg.html, retrieved: April 13, 2006.
Manyas, Peping Tansinko. Tagiposuon Nga Hueowaran. Daeang Rizal, Kalibo, Capiz. 1926. 26p. (Photo-copy)
Nabor, Fiorella I. “An Inquiry into the Ancient Inakeanon Writing System,” Silliman Journal, Ist Quarter, 1968, pp. 54-86 ((Photo-copy)
Reyes, Gabriel M. Toning. Mandurriao, Iloilo, 1925. 35p. (Photo-copy)
Tente Undoy. Mga Bilisad-n ni Tente Undoy. San Juan, Rizal, Kalantiaw Publications, Inc. 37p. (Photo-copy)