Friday, August 23, 2013

Sipat and Other Glimpses

SIPAT, from which the seminar was key worded, is a Filipino word that means "a glimpse into something".

Between the days of my shameful hiatus from this blog, I was tasked to attend a seminar glimpsing into our local culture and literature in relation to our teaching craft. At first, I was a little negative about going to the event because of the weekend hassle it would entail. But in the end, I realized that the experiences I gained from the said seminar exceeded my expectations. 

It went like a group of old friends getting so engrossed in an interesting conversation, not minding the time. It was the first time in ages that I attended a seminar that didn't feel like a seminar at all because the speakers were really entertaining and their presentations were just awesome. I felt fortunate to be a part of the group that is genuinely passionate about the development of our own literature.

The first topic was about the situation of children's literature in our country. One thing I've learned is the "pandesal" mentality when it comes to the production of literary pieces. If we are going to evaluate the story books for children in the shelves, we would notice the gross imitation of plots and styles currently trending in the literary market. Hence, we have the same old stories told and our literature is becoming so commercialized.

On the other side of things, it is still a surprise though to rediscover a few brilliant pieces of literary works that we just don't take pride or simply take for granted. Of these were the local films that has proved their worth in the international scene. We were treated to some previews but the funny thing though is I've never seen any of them in full. Talk about guilt and my movie civilian life.

Another topic was about the folk stories of the City of Koronadal. As reiterated by the speaker in the lecture, one would wonder how we can find a bulk of Greek literature, American literature, Egyptian literature, Indian literature, Japanese literature, but never the literature of our own country. We have the same old stories told and the foreign ones are headway compared to our own.

We realized that nobody dares and initiates to write about the rich heritage of our own city. The songs, poems, legends and myths of our countrysides remain as murky as the water of the river. The fairies, witches, vampires and spirits of our imaginations are still undocumented testaments of our unique culture. The large difference is the fact that nobody puts them into writing and permanently etch them in our material culture.

After each lecture, we had workshops on writing the folk stories of our respective stations and applying it as a spring board of our lesson planning. The hours of brainstorming was worth the squeeze because we were able to produce a legendary tale that we can call original and authentic. I believe that nobody could write the first hand story of our community better than we the people of our community.

Writing the story of our station. Photo credit: Honey Lyn Pama.

We are a country of gregarious people who love to listen and tell stories, but these stories have remained traditionally in our mouths. The challenge now is how to preserve these stories in written form to be passed on the next generation. This kind of passion should be instilled in our hearts.

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