Wednesday, December 31, 2008
A TV report says that 92% of Filipinos have a positive outlook for the new year. Great! Let's keep hoping for better things to come! :)
Ilocano: Naragsak nga Baro a Tawen!
Kalinga (Banao): Nalagsak un bvyalo un tawon u amin!
Bikolnon: Maogmang ba'gong taon!
In other languages...*
Afghani - Saale Nao Mubbarak
Afrikaans - Gelukkige Nuwe Jaar
Albanian - Gezuar Vitin e Ri
Armenian - Snorhavor Nor Tari
Arabic - Antum Salimoun
Assyrian - Sheta Brikhta
Azeri - Yeni Iliniz Mubarek
Bengali - Shuvo Nabo Barsho
Bulgarian - ×Åñòèòà Íîâà Ãîäèíà (pronounced "Chestita Nova Godina")
Cambodian - Soursdey Chhnam Tmei
Catalan - FELIÇ ANY NOU
Chinese - Xin Nian Kuai Le
Croatian - Sretna Nova Godina
Cymraeg (Welsh) - Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
Czechoslovakia - Scastny Novy Rok
Danish - Godt Nytår
Dutch - Gelukkig Nieuwjaar
Eskimo - Kiortame pivdluaritlo
Estonians - Head uut aastat
Ethiopian - Melkam Addis Amet Yihuneliwo
Finnish - Onnellista Uutta Vuotta
French - Bonne Annee
Galician [Northwestern Spain] - Bo Nadal e Feliz Aninovo
German - Prosit Neujahr
Greek - Kenourios Chronos
Gujarati - Nutan Varshbhinandan
Hawaiian - Hauoli Makahiki Hou
Hebrew - L'Shannah Tovah
Hindi - Naye Varsha Ki Shubhkamanyen
Hong Kong - (Cantonese) Sun Leen Fai Lok
Hungarian - Boldog Ooy Ayvet
Indonesian - Selamat Tahun Baru
Iranian - Saleh now mobarak
Iraqi - Sanah Jadidah
Irish - Bliain nua fe mhaise dhuit
Italian - Felice anno nuovo
Japanese - Akimashite Omedetto Gozaimasu
Kannada - Hosa Varushadha Shubhashayagalu
Korea - Saehae Bock Mani ba deu sei yo
Kurdish - Newroz Pirozbe
Lithuanian - Laimingu Naujuju Metu
Laotian - Sabai dee pee mai
Macedonian - Srekjna Nova Godina
Malay - Selamat Tahun Baru
Marathi - Naveen Varshachy Shubhechcha
Malayalam - Puthuvatsara Aashamsakal
Nepal - Nawa Barsha ko Shuvakamana
Norwegian - Godt Nyttår
Papua New Guinea - Nupela yia i go long yu
Persian - Saleh now ra tabrik migouyam
Philippines - Manigong Bagong Taon
Polish - Szczesliwego Nowego Roku
Portuguese - Feliz Ano Novo
Punjabi - Nave saal di mubarak
Romanian - An nou fericit
Russian - S Novim Godom
Sindhi - Nayou Saal Mubbarak Hoje
Singhalese - Subha auth awrudhak vewa
Spanish - Feliz Ano Nuevo
Swahili - Heri Za Mwaka Mpya
Sudanese - Warsa Enggal
Tamil - Inniya Puthaandu Nalvazhthukkal
Telegu - Noothana samvatsara Shubhakankshalu
Thai - Sawadee Pee Mai
Turkish - Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun
Ukrainian - Shchastlyvoho Novoho Roku
Urdu - Naya Saal Mubbarak Ho
Uzbek - Yangi Yil Bilan
Vietnamese - Chuc Mung Tan Nien
* lifted from theholidayspot.com
A year in blogosphere has offered me a way to explore some more my creative self. It also gave me the privilege of interacting with old friends, making new friends, and perhaps making new enemies (?), and learning from many across the continents. :)
Notwithstanding what Dr. Steve W. Price has to say about blogging --
"Aint Too Proud to Blog!"
"Blogs: A WWW.Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"
"For Bloggers, No Standards Is a Good Standard"
"I Blog, Therefore I Am"
-- I still say, "I luv bloooooggging!!!" :)
Let me thank all of you who visited this site, especially those who posted their comments. I hope to improve this site and make it more useful to all interested parties.
I also wish to thank my wife for trying mighty hard to keep up with my passion for reading and writing. She has never complained when I could not help in housekeeping at those times when I was glued to my books , the computer, or the ceiling. For this and for many other things, dakul na pasasalamat, agum! :)
Culture & Religion
1. Our waiting sheds now look beautiful with ethnic belts painted around their posts, just like this one:
[caption id="attachment_2103" align="aligncenter" width="413" caption="sms photo"][/caption]
2. There's this shop housing cultural artifacts, many of which were made by the shop owner, Mr. Pablo Bawer, one of the Province's cultural masters. I have just come to know about it although it has been there a long time already, just a block away from our house...
[caption id="attachment_2104" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="sms photo"][/caption]
All his products are "treated" and seasoned. Each of his shields take a year to make (including seasoning period).
3. Christmas carols are something we can't do away with. The musical instruments for caroling shown below which are made of recycled materials may not be new to many of my townmates, but they surely are new to me:
[caption id="attachment_2105" align="aligncenter" width="499" caption="Taken at the gate of the city mayor's residence. Speaks volumes of the ingenuity of the Filipino! :) - sms photo"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2106" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="sms photo"][/caption]
4. The St. William's Cathedral has become more beautiful. Friends say the construction of the new Catholic church building was begun during the stint of Fr. Carlito Cenzon, now the Bishop of Baguio. The Church has a new assistant priest, a long-time friend, Froilan Pangda. I was also informed by manong Fred Pangsiw, an Anglican priest and cultural master, that the Cathedral is home to Kalinga's "School of Living Traditions" where young and old alike get to learn more about their own culture.
[caption id="attachment_2107" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="sms photo"][/caption]
There are newly established Christian churches, many of which are of the Pentecostal/Charismatic tradition. Islam has also gained a foothold in the area, as this minaret now piercing the sky of Dagupan, the government seat of the City, shows.
There are several new faces in the city and provincial governments. And there are also new luxury cars for some of our local officials, thanks to the city's bigger share of the IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment). If only they used the people's money to buy more garbage trucks instead, or to build MRFs (Materials Recovery Facilities)...
For three decades, I had never seen the street fronting our house cemented, only filled with gravel and sand year in and year out. Now, it's concreted -- well, except the section across the main gate of the mayor's residence hehe... Ain't sure though when the rest of the streets two more blocks from our house would be cemented; if it will take one political administration to do it, it would be a miracle! :
And oh, by the way, our neighbor has found a new hobby -- golfing. He seems engrossed with it so much, proof of which are my two sisters' collection of more than a dozen golf balls that have whizzed over from his side of our wall for these past few past months. No broken glasses and contusions reported at home yet... so far.
A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness. 
Looking at the king’s mouth, one would think he never sucked at his mother’s breast. 
A child’s fingers are not scalded by a piece of hot yam which its mother puts into its palm. 
Why should a man suffer so grievously for an offense he had committed inadvertently? 
Living fire begets cold, impotent ash. 
A toad does not run in the daytime for nothing...Whenever you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, then know that something is after its life. [20, 203]
- Achebe, Chinua. 1994. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books.
My six-day visit to my hometown of Tabuk was a much-needed breather from the hurly-burly of city life (Tabuk is supposed to be a city, but to me it still hasn't lost its rural charm). To my delight and chagrin, some things haven't changed at all...
I had long missed the ricefield breeze, the shade of aged trees in the yard, and the free, pure drink from the coconut trees behind the house.
[caption id="attachment_2085" align="aligncenter" width="298" caption="The two remaining prolific coconut trees in the yard are low enough that a few meters of bamboo stick would be enough to get a bunch of buko crashing down. (sms photo)"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2086" align="aligncenter" width="310" caption="I used to climb up to the top of this caimito (star apple) tree, but now I could only reach half of its length without my knees trembling. The mango trees, just like the caimito, are as old (young) as I am, but they surely have outgrown me... :) -sms photo"][/caption]
Market Day. There are at least three "market days" each week in Tabuk during which loads of fruits, vegetables, meat and what-nots flood the market area. Here, you'd get to enjoy cheap fruits (four large papaya or pawpaws which cost more than a hundred pesos in Baguio City, for example, fetch only forty pesos in Tabuk), and bundles of edible ferns, and other foods some would consider "exotic."
[caption id="attachment_2082" align="aligncenter" width="253" caption="Blanched and sprinkled with a little vinegar and diced onions and garlic, this edible fern makes a fine lunchtime viand. (sms photo)"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2084" align="aligncenter" width="293" caption="Lined up for noche buena or media noche (sms photo)"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2088" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="These furniture come cheap, but I can't vouch for their quality hehe. This road crossing is particularly memorable to me because this is where we "newsboys" years ago would start off to all directions trying to outdo each other as to who would first get to sell all the stacks of papers apportioned to each of us. We'd walk or ride our bikes all over barangay Bulanao even at midday, shouting "Bannawag-Liwayway-Koooomiks!" or "Manila Bulletin - Inquirer!" all the way. We had to be good runners too, for at times dogs would mistake us for postmen heheh. (sms photo)"][/caption]
Politics & Culture. I had the opportunity to talk with and drink from the wisdom of some older friends, like print journalist Estanislao Albano -- arguably the man who now deserves the title "Dean of Kalinga journalists" which my father wore till his death -- and radio host Fred Pangsiw, an Anglican priest and cultural master, an authority on authentic Kalinga indigenous music. From them have I confirmed something about the socio-political condition of the province: Nothing much has changed. Ah, yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same... :)
The Old Capitol Carabao Pond. I also had a chance to meet again my childhood friend Ali Gacuya, after so many years. I was reminded of the murky carabao (water buffalo) pool fronting the old capitol where we used to swim and catch large, black leeches with our backs and behinds. We were quite an attraction to several passers-by, and we'd always get a whipping or a telling off from our parents each time. But we never got to drop the habit for some time.
[caption id="attachment_2089" align="aligncenter" width="295" caption="Ca. 1981. We three were called "The Capitol Boys" because our play area extended to the grounds and offices of the old capitol site. As you probably could read from our photos, we were some of the naughtiest boys you could find at that time. :) L-R Ali Gacuya, Renen Ballesteros, and me (Popoy). - AUS photo"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_2090" align="aligncenter" width="348" caption="The old concrete wall that guarded the old capitol had been replaced, but I still remember that the old wall had a special significance to us boys, for during our petty wars with our schoolmates, we would take cover behind it while the other boys -- the "enemies" -- lined up the road pelted us with stones and mud. (sms photo)"][/caption]
The New Capitol. The new capitol is now old, as evidenced partly by the the peeling paint on its facade, and the unwieldy grasses that have grown around and in the unfinished "gymnasium" beside it.
[caption id="attachment_2093" align="aligncenter" width="438" caption="sms photo"][/caption]
Responsible anarchy is about acting for the good of the group. It helps protect against 'group think.' It is an anomaly that is responsible for keeping the group together while at the same time preserving the individuality of a person.
- Joseph R. Myers, Organic Community: Creating a Place Where People Naturally Connect (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2007), 58-59.
Monday, December 22, 2008
As an Indigenous Person who once swam in the stagnant waters of restorationist, patternistic Christianity -- particularly that brand espoused by the (Stone-Campbell) Church of Christ -- I have taken a deep interest in what is known as the "Emerging Church Movement."
This is so for this cross-denominational and cross-ideological religious stream has brought with it the refreshing waters of a repentant ex-colonial world. Unlike the restorationist movement with which I was associated, this "faith current," if I may call it that, does not see itself as the religious Center to which those in the Margins must align themselves; it acknowledges the fact that the production and perpetuation of a faith system are not ahistorical;1 it does not seek to impose a whole theological system born of Victorian sensibility and the Enlightenment project upon other people who have been exposed to different historical accidents and social conventions. I may not agree with every idea that this movement has come to represent, but I do applaud its openness to dialogue and its willingness to allow Christianity to take shape in a particular country without the EuroAmerican mold with which the juggernaut of Christianity has been legitimized in the past centuries.
Fundamentalist/Conservative preachers and groups have condemned the Emerging Church for its "postmodernist" leanings.2 But if this epithet means deconstructing Western theology so as to make Christianity more relevant and effective in the "Third World," then I welcome it. If it means doing away with the claims of omniscience and infallibility by the rule-makers in the high places of Evangelical Christianity, then I extol it.
I am particularly impressed with the candor and humility of Brian D. McLaren as shown in his discussion on the "emerging church" (or, as he preferred to call it, the "church emerging"):
What are we in the so-called emerging churches seeking to emerge from?... We are seeking to emerge from modern Western Christianity, from colonial Christianity, from Christianity as a 'white man's religion.'
...we do not see ourselves as the emerging church -- meaning a slice, sector, or division of the church that is roughly analogous to 'the charismatic church' or 'the seeker church.' Instead, we see ourselves as the church emerging, meaning a growing edge of the church at large in all its forms, stretching from the margins into new territory beyond modern, Western Christianity.
That means we are emerging into a postcolonial faith, a post-Western faith -- not a faith that wants to forget and deny the many blessings of Christian faith in Western idioms, but a faith that no longer wants to be in denial about the dark sides of our history. We are emerging into a new era of Christian faith as a 'living color' global community, from a religion of conquest and control to a faith of collaborative mission and humble service. We are emerging from a version of faith that is wedded to various nationalisms, rationalisms, and political and economic ideologies into a new vision of prophetic faith that seeks God's kingdom and God's justice for all. We are emerging from a 'two-party system' or 'cold war' Christianity that is polarized and paralyzed by left/liberal and right/conservative cleavages, and we are emerging into an integral, holistic, creative, and transforming vision of the missio Dei in which we all participate as colaborers with God.[emph. his] 3
A restorationist community of faith (and I state this based on what I perceive as the Church of Christ's Philippine experience), such a missiological perspective can hardly be factored in most of its evangelistic projects. For whatever form Christianity has come from the Stone-Campbell Movement of the U.S.A. is often viewed as having directly sprung from the New Testament, AD 33. It is thus blind to its own biases, highly "textualized," and is largely cerebral in its approach to faith and practice. To them apply the following observation of Emergent villager Will Samson:
Conservative, cognitive/propositional approaches to understanding God exclusively through the text often do not take fully into account the lack of objectivity of human readers, nor do they fully appreciate the bias we bring as subjective readers.4
In another Emergent work,5 Kester Brewin describes Emergent Systems as being open, flexible, always learning. It gives premium to "distributed knowledge" over authoritarian sources of information, and practices "servant leadership."
My ministerial experience had given me the privilege of working with a few Christian leaders and churches who/that have embodied or showcased the characteristics of Emergent Systems listed by Brewin. Most congregations and leaders in my former church, however, have found themselves cloistered in a theological system that is suspicious of change, glories in the authority of US-based authors and publications, and promotes a top-down management style. While many Churches of Christ elsewhere6 are casting off a rigid, sectarian skin and are evolving into what Joseph Myers would tag as "Organic Communities,"7 most Churches of Christ in the Philippines still find it difficult to free themselves from the rut of a "1960s-church" they got stuck in as seen in their now glossy but virtually unchanged, content-wise, World Bible School booklets and Jule Miller Filmstrips/VHS-based Bible lessons, and the doctrinal issues they still engage in (a capella and "anti-ism" debates, "indwelling" issue, etc.)
All the foregoing and other developments issuing from the Emerging/Emergent school of thought give me hope for a Christianity that could still make its distinctive voice be heard above the cacophony of sounds in this pluralistic society.
There is always a danger of movements becoming monuments, as someone had warned. And this movement may find itself not exempted from ending up in such an ossified state, in the long run. However, the dynamic principles it espouses will surely influence other global and local movements in the generations to come.
On a more positive note, this faith current may eventually develop into divergent streams far beyond what its founders and current leaders may have envisioned, and be absorbed into the "multicultural forests" across the globe, thus making Christianity more localized and, hopefully, less structured and less formal. Then, will we have a truly heterogeneous Christianity united not by centralized formal and informal structures nor by written and unspoken creeds but by a common faith in a common Savior and a common testimony of personal transformation.
Whatever religious trends will come the Filipino Christians' way, these must not be, as the cliche goes, "swallow[ed] hook, line, and sinker," but appropriated -- what can be serviceable from these foreign ideas and practices to the Philippine Church should be adapted and mainstreamed into the local culture.
1 As Barry Taylor puts it in his article, "Converting Christianity: The End and Beginning of Faith":
Religion is always a cultural production, and the role of sociocultural issues cannot be discounted from the ways in which we envision and understand faith.
- Doug Pagitt & Tony Jones, eds., An Emergent Manifesto of Hope (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007), 167.
2 Notwithstanding the habit of some dogmatists of automatically attaching negative connotations to the term "Postmodernism," I believe that Filipino Christians will profit from appropriating concepts associated with this intellectual trend (as well as with Postcolonialism) like "deconstruction" and "decentering." To learn how to have a balanced outlook on Christianity and Postmodernism, see Pugh, Jeffey C. The Matrix of Faith: Reclaiming a Christian Vision. New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 2001. To get a hold on how some Christians have appropriated Postcolonial Theory, read Lapiz, Ed. Paano Maging Pilipinong Kristiano [Becoming a Filipino Christian]. Makati City: Kaloob, 1997. Suk, John, ed. Doing Theology in the Philippines. Manila: ATS/OMF Literature Inc., 2005.
Recommended online article: "Five Streams of the Emerging Church" by Scot McKnight.
3 Brian D. McLaren, "Church Emerging: Or Why I Still Use the Word Postmodern but with Mixed Feelings," in Pagitt & Jones: 149-150.
4 "The End of Reinvention: Mission Beyond Market Adoption Cycles," in Pagitt & Jones: 156. See also Ryan Bolger's "Following Jesus into Culture: Emerging Church as Social Movement," ibid.,132-139.
5 Kester Brewin, Signs of Emergence: A Vision for Church that is Organized/Networked/Decentralized/Bottom-Up/Communal/Flexible - Always Evolving (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007), 97-118.
Among my favorites when it comes to non-traditional concepts of leadership are these two works: Finzel, Hans. The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make. Colorado Springs: CCMI, 2000. Reprint, Manila: Christian Growth Ministries, 2002; Roxburgh, Alan J. & Fred Romanuk. The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2006.
6 To illustrate, I refer the reader to the last two chapters of this companion book to The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement (2005), entitled "1967-Present: A Crisis of Identity" and "Facing the Future as a Refugee Movement": Gary Holloway & Douglas A. Foster, Renewing God's People: A Concise History of Churches of Christ (Abilene, TX: ACU Press, 2006), 123-144.
7 A must-read for Christians wondering how their churches could be a hospital and not a dungeon for the spiritually ill: Myers, Joseph R. Organic Community: Creating a Place Where People Naturally Connect. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2007.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Uchendu: Mother Kite once sent her daughter to bring food. She went, and brought back a duckling. ‘You have done very well,’ said Mother Kite to her daughter, ‘but tell me, what did the mother of this duckling say when you swooped and carried its child away?’ ‘It said nothing,’ replied the young kite. ‘It just walked away.’ ‘You must return the duckling,’ said Mother Kite. ‘There is something ominous behind the silence.’ And so Daughter Kite returned the duckling and took a chick instead. ‘What did the mother of this chick do?’ asked the old kite. ‘It cried and raved and cursed me,’ said the young kite. ‘Then we can eat the chick,’ said her mother. ‘There is nothing to fear from someone who shouts.’ 
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books, 1994.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
sung by PORTIA SABOY-BANGANAN, et al.
Notated by ANATALIA MAGKACHI SABOY
Notated by ANATALIA MAGKACHI SABOY
Ethnic music is one of the richest sources of cultural values. Unlike Western music in which the beauty of the song is better gauged from its melody and lyrics, the Cordillera ethnic song's beauty lies in its cultural values and message. Collecting, recording and notating the ethnic songs of the different ethnic songs of the Cordillera will help not only to preserve this rich oral literature of the Cordillerans but will give opportunity for a deeper contextual analysis of the songs in order to gain insights into the aspirations, ideals, motivations, and hopes of the people in the mountain region. In this way, the Cordillera group of Filipinos will be better understood, especially in their attempt to find a place among their brother Filipinos.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
A reader who goes by the alias Wayway attacks me for "attacking other religions." Says s/he:
hello men! you’re attacking other religion and promoting your wrong belief! you’re so so feeling!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The time has come to examine, investigate and criticize the way of teaching Christianity that needlessly tramples upon the culture of the recipients. Through study and solicitous ways, those who have been run over, hurt and burnt before and by now have become paranoid about being victimized by rude religious ways, may still be reached and won over....
With careful and caring redemption, adaptation and contextualization, Filipino cultural forms will flourish, not die, with the march of Christianity in our country. Then, Christianity will be the sanctuary, not the cemetery, of Filipino cultural heritage.
- Ed Lapiz, Paano Maging Pilipinong Kristiano [Becoming a Filipino Christian] (Makati City: Kaloob, 1997), 100,109.
"It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath."
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The Filipino Christian is lost somewhere. To be a “good Christian,” does he have to abandon his cultural heritage and thus be a “bad Filipino”? This sense of being lost is sometimes shared and often caused by his foreign mentors who taught him, and probably even sincerely believed it themselves that being Christian means being Westernized.
For almost a hundred years now, evangelical Christianity in the Philippines has almost always been equated with Westernization or, more exactly, Americanization. For instance, a Christian should only be singing formal Western Music at church (the lyrics may sometimes be localized, though) or recently, doing an American gospel song. Filipino Christian worship has been mindlessly structured after Western prototypes without regard for indigenous -- and still very much alive -- Filipino concepts of time, space, spirituality, and community. Of course, all these encroachments were done in the high name of evangelization. In as much as the indigenous culture has been collectively adjudged "evil," "pagan," "animist," etc. by many foreign missionaries, it was deemed but proper to destroy and replace it with a "sacred" one; never mind if the replacement is not even the New Testament Eastern-type of Christianity that we see in the Book of Acts but just a version, among many versions: the Anglo-American form.
- Ed Lapiz, Paano Maging Pilipinong Kristiano [Becoming a Filipino Christian] (Makati City: Kaloob, 1997), xiii.