PH Embassy’s Sentro Rizal in Singapore Celebrates Buwan Ng Wika Through Literature

PH Embassy’s Sentro Rizal in Singapore Celebrates Buwan Ng Wika Through Literature
From left to right: Migs Bravo-Dutt reads an Ibanag poem entitled “Darafugan” by Father June Castaneda, while Denise Simbol gives a melancholic interpretation of the poem “Sapagkat Mahirap Akong Maging Kaibigan” by Christian Benitez. (Singapore PE photo)

To celebrate Buwan ng Wika this year, the Philippine Embassy in Singapore’s Sentro Rizal successfully collaborated with members of the Filipino literary and cultural circle in Singapore to showcase not just the rich diversity of Philippine indigenous languages, but also that of Philippine literature.

Every week for the month of August, Sentro Rizal Singapore uploaded on the Embassy’s social media platforms a video showcasing a reading of Philippine literature by a Filipino writer or cultural practitioner in Singapore.

For the first week, Migs Bravo-Dutt, author of “The Rosales House” (published by Penguin Random House SEA) and co-editor of the anthology “Get Lucky,” chose to read an Ibanag poem entitled “Darafugan” written by Father June Castaneda, as well as its English translation. The Ibanag language is spoken in the provinces of Isabela, Cagayan, and Nueva Vizcaya. The video has received 205 reactions and 28 shares so far.

The second week of August featured Denise Simbol reading an excerpt of the poem “Sapagkat Mahirap Akong Maging Kaibigan” by Christian Benitez. Ms. Simbol, who has been working as a librarian in the arts and heritage sector of Singapore for 14 years, chose the poem as it resonates with the longing and sadness of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) due to “ephemeral friendships” created by the realities of migration and fleeting opportunities. The video has received 114 reactions and 21 shares so far.

Claire Betita De Guzman, writer of the novels “No Boyfriend Since Birth,” “Girl Meets World,” “Miss Makeover”, and “Budget is the New Black” (published by Marshall Cavendish Singapore), was featured for the third week as she read “Tula #45” by Rio Alma otherwise known as Virgilio Almario, National Artist of the Philippines. The video has received 104 reactions and 9 shares.

For the last salvo, Catherine Candano, poet, and Marky Canios, tenor, collaborated on the Hiligaynon kundiman “Ay Kalisud.

Song lyrics is also a form of literature–poetry combined with music. Thus, Mr. Canios sang the kundiman in its original language, while Ms. Candano provided an emotional interpretation of the song as a poem in English.

Hiligaynon is another indigenous language in the Philippines spoken in Western Visayas and South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City (SOCCSKSARGEN). The video has received 225 reactions and 34 shares.

“I wish to thank all the Filipino artists who agreed to lend their voices and artistry for this project as we continue to promote Philippine heritage through our indigenous languages and literature. True to the theme this year of Buwan ng Wika, ‘Ang Mga Katutubong Wika sa Maka-Filipinong Bayanihan Kontra Pandemya,’ the beauty of our culture, language and literature fosters hope and resilience among Filipinos as we collectively fight this pandemic,” said Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph del Mar Yap.

The videos can still be viewed on the official Facebook and YouTube accounts of the Philippine Embassy in Singapore. — Source: DFA.GOV.PH

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