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Artists, writers drum up significance of literature

The National Committee for Literary Arts (NCLA) celebrated the 2020 National Arts Month or the ‘Ani ng Sining’ in the Pinnacle Hotel and Suites last February 28-29.

The event brought together artists and writer educators who shared their passion for various local arts and literature by showcasing different traditions and themes that emerged from diverse languages and regions in the country.

Teachers, students, and other participants gained new information, while also sharing their different views to the speakers during the open forum.

German Gervacio, one of the speakers in the first session, discussed the Paglala at Pagbasa sa Mito ng Paglalang ng Higaonon, where he also elaborated on the importance of learning the different myths from Mindanao.

Gervacio said, “Ang pag-aaral ng panitikan ay pag-aaral din ng wika (Learning the literature is also learning the Language).”

For instance, he theorized that the word ‘saka’ (climb) in Visayan is derived from the same Tagalog term, which means to cultivate. He believed that the term originated from the old practice of climbing mountains to plant rice.

Gervacio stated that it is very important to highlight this simple information since it would help readers gain a better understanding of the different languages.

Apart from writing myths, literature, and expressing their experiences through arts, each speaker encouraged Filipinos, especially the youth, to patronize the country’s original narrative stories.

They said that if people enjoyed Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter, they will also enjoy reading Philippine narrative stories, folklores, and legends that they translated for the readers to easily understand.

They also pointed out the importance of instilling in the students, especially the young generation, the significance of literature.

“As an IP writer, I also encourage the young IP writers to continue writing because no one can write our stories better than we do,” said Elizabeth Joy Quijano, a Blaan writer. “I respect outsiders who are willing to write about stories from our indigenous community. However, there is more impact if these stories were written by us, the original natives of our tribe.”

In the end, they hoped that the event will be an effective instrument in raising awareness on the relevance of literature, because it is not only words. Within the pages, Filipinos can find history, culture, values, and philosophy of the local communities. Lyn Castillo and Melecia Megan Castillo Jr./UM Interns

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