Monday, September 14, 2009

TAN-OK TI KAILOKUAN (July 20, 2009)

The Pride of Ilocandia, Dr. Paul Zafaralla's English translation of Eliseo Bragado Contillo's Tan-ok ti Kailokuan, the biography of Dr. Godofredo S. Reyes, is supposed to be published soon.
However, Dr. Reyes could not wait for the said book about him, foreworded by Juan S.P. Hidalgo Jr., a former editor of Liwayway, and edited by Cles Rambaud, editor of Bannawag, the best-selling weekly Iloko magazine, where he used to contribute.
The Poet Laureate of Ilocandia -- who excelled in Bucanegan or the extemporaneous verbal joust in Iluko -- died from a “lingering illness” on July 5 at the age of 91.
A businessman, mayor, governor, congressman, educator, and founder/president/chairman of the board of St. Mary's College in his hometown in Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur -- Dr. Reyes practised medicine in Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, and Nueva Ecija after served as the battalion surgeon of the 66th Infantry that fought in Northern Luzon during World War II.
During the wake, his 84-year old physician-wife who is first president of the University of Northern Philippines -- Dra. Dedicacion Agatep-Reyes -- vowed to continue her husband's legacy in promoting "veteranism": "In any manner, please feel free to tell me if there's anything I can do to support your endeavors in serving our veterans well."
Though wheelchair-bound, Dr. Reyes tried to attend the signing of the $787 billion US economic stimulus bill, including $198 million in benefits for Filipino World War II veterans like him.
He urged everyone to "wait for a little while longer."
Who said that doctors are patient too?
To this day, after 60 years, we are still looking forward to witness the United States government removing the provision in the Rescission Act of 1946 which declared that “the services rendered by Filipino veterans under the American flag are not considered as active service in the U.S. Armed Forces.”
U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney, in her speech during the celebration last February, admitted that it was the right time to honor not only a great friendship: “But the men and women whose heroism allowed everybody as free people, able to choose our own destiny.” She promised to Dr. Reyes and the rest: “Teams will be sent to 15 different sites to process the claims of U.S. veterans in order to reach all the veterans in the country for free. If you are not well, don't risk your life coming to us. We'll find you and come to you. The U.S. Veterans Affairs Office has processed around 2,000 claims. We give out $8 million a month in the Philippines to World War II veterans, and the lump sum in the stimulus package is an additional benefit.”
Sad to say, Dr. Reyes would not be here anymore to see such place as Philippine Veterans Affairs Office Fast Track Center or the temporary processing centers in provinces as well as the time when PV AO will coordinate with the regional offices of the foreign affairs department and local government officials.
He was laid to rest two days ago.
But his name is as immortal as, say, Carlos Angeles, Manuel Arguilla, Gregorio Brillantes, Pedro Bucaneg, Carlos Bulosan, Isabelo de los Reyes, Leona Florentino, Francisco Sionil Jose, Salvador P. Lopez, Jose Ma. Sison, and even Ferdinand Marcos whom Dr. Reyes included in the roster of great Ilokano writers of GUMIL Filipinas – Gunglo dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano iti Filipinas – or the Ilokano Writers Association of the Philippines, which he presided for 13 years.
Last June 20, during the U.P. General Alumni Faculty Homecoming and Reunion, Dr. Reyes (AA’38; MD’43) was one of the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Awards together with Prof. Araceli T. Baviera (AA’38; LLB’54cl), Carolina Gozon-Jimenez (BSBA’59), Dr. Florence Macagba-Tadiar (AA’54; MD’59; MPH’77; MHA’83), Atty. Ismael A. Mathay, Jr. (AA’51; BSBA’52), Dr. Serafin D. Quiason (AB’52c;) Justice Emilio A. Gancayco (LLB’47), who delivered the acceptance speech, on their behalf.
In 1988, Dr. Reyes was given the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas for Iluko poetry, alongside with National Artists Francisco Arcellana (Fiction in English), Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero (Drama in English), and Edith L. Tiempo (Poetry and Fiction in English). Other winners then were Liwayway A. Arceo (Filipino Fiction), Teo S. Baylen (Filipino Poetry), Genoveva Edroza-Matute (Filipino Fiction), Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil (Essay in English), Ramon L. Muzones (Hiligaynon Fiction), and Edilberto K. Tiempo (Fiction in English).
Now, it will be the turn of his translator, Dr. Zafaralla, to be recognized.
Again, the awarding ceremonies will coincide with the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) Convention to be held on the last Saturday of next month, August 29, at 3 p.m., at the GSIS Museo ng Sining, GSIS Main Office, Financial Center, Reclamation Area in Pasay City.
Based on this year's theme Literacy from Literature, the 35th UMPIL Convention will have the PAMBANSANG SEMINAR SA EDUKASYONG BATAY SA PANITIKAN that will highlight in the morning at 8 its guest of honor in National Artist, former Dean Virgilio Almario, with other such expects on literature-based education and cultural literacy index as U.P. Open University's Dr. Theresa de Villa who was the U.P. Integrated School's former principal; De La Salle University and Far Eastern University's Dr. Isagani Cruz who was a former Department of Education Undersecretary; and International Institute for Film and Arts's Dennis Marasigan who was the Tanghalang Pilipino's former artistic director.
Seminar fee is P1,000 inclusive of lunch, two snacks, copies of lectures, and certificate of participation. Commission on Higher Education chairperson Dr. Emmanuel Angeles helped us with a CHED Memorandum while we wait for a Department of Education Memo from Sec. Jesli Lapus. For details, please call us at # 922-1830 or email us at or visit our website
Three golfers -- Jesus, Moses, and an old man – get to the 18th tee. It is all tied. All three have the same score. Jesus' second shot goes into the water and lands on a rock. He walks on the water out to the ball and hits it within a foot of the hole. Moses' second shot also goes into the water and sinks. He parts the water and then hits his ball within a foot of the hole. The old man also hits his second shot into the water, but it lands on a waterlily. A frog comes out of the water and takes the ball. Just then a bird swoops down and grabs the frog and carries, with the ball, right over the 18th hole where the frog drops the ball right into the cup. Moses turns to Jesus and says: “You know, I really hate playing with your Dad.”
This is God. Tonight, I will be handling all of your problems for you. I do not need your help so sleep well. I love you. P.S. And remember, if life happens to deliver a situation that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it yourself. Kindly put it in the SFGTD (Something For God To Do) Box. I will get to it in my time. All situations will be resolved, but in my time, not yours. Once the matter is placed in the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it. Instead, focus on all wonderful things that are present in your life now.

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