July 18, 2018, 6:36 pm
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Dungug Kinaray-a

WHENEVER I tell people that I’m from Antique, the next question is “Where is that?”

I have developed a standard answer to that: It’s in Western Visayas, one of the four provinces that comprise the island of Panay: Aklan, Antique, Capiz Iloilo.

I do that in order to be spared the question which usually is, “Is that, in Aklan? Or In Iloilo?”

The next question is usually what’s the dialect there, Ilonggo? I say, Kinaray-a.

The follow up question is, is that the same as Ilonggo?

Of course, it’s not the same as Ilonggo.

Kinaray-a is not at a dialect. It’s a language spoken not only in Antique but mostly in West Visayas.

Writer Alex de los Santos , author of the book, “The Rise of Kinaray-a”, said Kinaray-a is also spoken in some parts of Aklan and Capiz, most of Iloilo and even in Negros Occidental where the biggest number of sakadas, seasonal workers in haciendas, is Karay-a from Antique.

There’s a deeper historical and sociological aspects to Antique being mistaken as a town of Iloilo or Aklan and Kinaray-a being confused as similar to Ilonggo. There have been articles written about it. It should be a separate article.

My column today is the admirable efforts of a group of Antiqueños who formed Dungug Kinaray-a “to encourage the use of the Kinaray-a language through the promotion, collection, and preservation of the Kinaray-a literature, culture, and arts.”

Dungug Kinaray-a’s website gives a background of the group and the dedicated Antiqueños behind it: “While a good amount of Kinaray-a written literature was produced during the last 30 years, those materials were not collected and preserved so that researchers and those who wish to study the language may easily access them. Except for a select few that had been published with support from the Cultural Center of the Philippines and National Commission for Culture and the Arts, many literary writings in Kinaray-a were left unpublished, unread, or forgotten.

“Reversing this situation became a personal mission for Ritchie D. Pagunsana, a Karay-a who thought it was time his native language is given the recognition it truly deserves. Thus, on May 5, 2006, Pagunsan, together with other like-minded Karay-a, founded Dungug Kinaray-a, a private and not-for-profit organization that celebrates the Kinaray-a language and seeks to promote, gather, and preserve the Kinaray-a literature.

“This personal mission soon became a collective mission. Among the writers and artists who shared in this collective mission included Maria Milagros C. Geremia-Lachica, Ma. Felicia M. Flores, Glenn Sevilla Mas, Emmy L. Masola, Linda C. Arnaez-Lee, Consolita V. Rubino, Arlene D. Nietes-Satapornvanit, Bernie L. Salcedo, and Manuel E. Magbanua, Jr. Geremia-Lachica and Flores are considered among the first writers in contemporary Kinaray-a. “

Dungug Kinaray-a’s website states that it advocates the philosophy that “Kinaray-a is neither better nor lesser than the other languages, and that it continues to become strong, deep, and lofty though the creation of new and the adoption of foreign words and concepts.” Literally translated as “Honor Kinaray-a,” Dungug Kinaray-a can also be construed as a feeling of pride when using Kinaray-a.

In this year’s competition (Poetry, Children’s Story and Short Story) generated 45 entries according to Fr. Danny S. Tabuyan, who chaired the committee, which shows there is no dearth of Kinaray-a writers. Awarding ceremonies were held last Dec. 21 at the Pinnacle Suites in San Jose, Antique. The winners were:

Binalaybay (Poetry)

First Prize: “Ang Inggat kang mga Bitoon kon Silawon Halin sa mga Lobot kang Amun Atup nga Nipa” by Dax G. Dequito (Oton, Iloilo)

Second Prize: “Gisi nga Handum” by Julbert R. Paloma (San Jose de Buenavista, Antique)

Third Prize: “Mga Ingus kag Ogayung kang mga Tinaga” by ni Reyson P. Samulde (San Jose de Buenavista, Antique)

Sogidanun Pangbata (Children’s story)

First Prize: “Si Mata kag Ana mga Abyan” by Reyson P. Samulde (San Jose de Buenavista, Antique)

Second Prize : “Ang Bolan kag ang mga Bitoon” by Edison M. Otañes, Sibalom, Antique

Third Prize: “Akasya” by Mirah Day A. Ballarta, Belison, Antique

Bugu nga Sogidanun (Short Story)

First Prize: “Ang mga Haron kang Nagriligad” by ni Julbert R. Paloma (San Jose de Buenavista, Antique)

Second Prize : “Ogis nga Sarong” by Charisse O. Joting-Quiman (Bugasong, Antique)

Third Prize: “Where do broken hearts go nga ba, Tita Whitney?” by Alyssa Jude M. Montalban (Cabatuan, Iloilo)

The winners received first prize, P10,000 and medal; second prize P7,000 and medal and third prize, P5,000 and medal.

De los Santos, who was the guest speaker, said no doubt, they have achieved a lot in promoting Kinaray-a in print and in the internet. But there’s the challenge of having a standardized orthography that they have to face.

De los Santos himself has disagreements with Dungug Kinaray-a on orthography but it is a demonstration of their broadmindedness that they are willing to talk and resolve the issue.

Congratulations to the winners and to Dungug Kinaray-a.


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