From now, until the end of the year, I shall write in English about articles originally written in Filipino, share thoughts regarding their respective contexts, and discuss related themes . Part translation, part summary, part review, I hope these previews pique the curiosity of the readers about the essays and their ongoing conversations with other texts that challenge national narratives and preconceived notions on Philippine literature, art and culture.
Author Archives: TILDE ACUNA
Named after the city that also got its name from the so-called Father of Philippine National Language, QCinema helped in the production of films with anti-colonial undertones and with characters speaking in languages of the regions. Preceding the historical setting of all the other films, Balangiga: Howling Wilderness happens in the Samar of the early 1900s, telling the journey toward Quinapundan that starts with the boy Kulas, his Lolo (grandfather), their carabao Melchora and their pullet Salvi.
Contrary to the default assumption articulated by thankful voice-over phantoms prior cinema screenings, I do not consider myself a movie patron, due to my moderate attention to the local scene. Binge-watching through a film festival has not been my usual practice, as an irregular viewer of no film or two every other Cinemalaya.
Post-PUV-modernization, I suggest a museum for tourists that shall be called Phased-out Utility Vehicles Museum, or maybe Public Utility Transportation and Automobile Monument. Why flatten and weigh rusty scrap metals out of all jeepneys, when some topnotch models can preserve culture, evoke sentiment and turn feelings for the fallen icon into cash?
A few weeks ago, I inadvertently sparked among my social media contacts (and their contacts) a heated discussion about art, politics, alliances and cultural institutions; hence this attempt at making sense of the timely prairie fire, after the suffocating smoke settled, finally vanished and blended with the dissonant aroma of noise-air pollution. The wick: “ano ‘yang bringing back political theater, new protest poetry sa entablado? sinong huminto? kailan naging apolitical ang ahrt?” (What’s bringing back political theater, new protest poetry on stage? Who stopped? When has ahrt been apolitical?) Though far from the infernal flames of DDS-Dilawan troll war, firewood kept the thread ablaze for a few days, and I had to extinguish it and limit access; as of now, only those who chipped in comments and ideas regarding the new protest performance poetry shenanigans can reflect on their word choices and life decisions. As for me, no regrets so far.
I intended to begin with “Dear Students,” like an open letter, but that seems insincere. Most of you are not…
(Note: fill in the brackets and consider the parenthetical notes, such as this. This template is just a recommendation, thus democratic and not dogmatic.) I approve of the rally held last [date here] by activists (note: do not identify the group that organized the rally so non-aligned individuals cannot tell the difference and lump all activists in one category, as if homogenous), but I also suggest that they mobilize for causes and issues I find relevant. Slogans should be:
Progressive art works better once it serves functions outside galleries and museums. Same with protest poetry, once words step out…
By design and by default, enclosed concrete spaces heavily secured in built structures exclude. Insiders isolate themselves from the wild natural world outside. They validate each other’s truths and cement their beliefs, so they only receive dubious outsiders, who undergo security checks, satisfy decorum requirements and speak the language. Voices harmonize and synchronize to the point of unison, as if hearing a fellow insider’s voice is no different from hearing one’s own, conjuring delusions of grandeur and visions of the future under the industry they thought they have built with their own hands. Their noble vocation, essential. Their technological knowledge, absolute. Their corporate confidence, intact. Thus, they tremble and panic when proven wrong.
Translations indeed extend original texts, as if giving them afterlives that seem familiar. But upon further scrutiny, imprecisions and deviations surface,…