|JOSE CORAZON DE JESUS|
Today is Jose Corazon de Jesus' 116th birthday.
Who cares about the Hari ng Balagtasan who also wrote with Constancio de Guzman in 1929 what we might call People Power's other theme song Bayan Ko?
Especially if everyone seemed to be all eyes and ears to the arrival of internationally acclaimed authors and publishers such as Christopher Cheng (Australia), Mita Kapur (India), Andy Mulligan (United Kingdom), David Parker (Hong Kong), Vikas Swarup (India), and Jayapriya Vasudevan (India/Singapore) at the 1st Manila International Literary Festival (MILF) at the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati.
Plus, this three-day event -- from 8 to 20 November – was devoted to its themeLOL: Lit Out Loud!, obviously for the Now Generation, be it X or Y, who, upon hearing this guy with a telenovela-sounding name, would automatically ask: “Hu he?”
Huseng Batute as he was, is, fondly called, may not have written novels like Dr. Jose Dalisay.
However, like the said MILF Keynote Speaker, he too is a journalist.
The thing is, Huseng Batute wrote his columns, not in prose but in poetry.
He was able to produce around 4,000 poems in his column Buhay Maynila as well as 800 poems in his column Ang Lagot na Bagting.
MILF's Day 2 saw a pre-birthday tribute was paid to Huseng Batute.
At least, he was mentioned during the discussion by panelist National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, who cited Huseng Batute's Ang Pakpak that saw print in 1928:
O, ibon ng diwa, ikaw ay lumipad,
tingnan mo ang langit, ang dilim, ang ulap,
buksan mo ang pinto ng natagong sinag,
at iyong pawalan ang gintong liwanag,
na sa aming laya ay magpapasikat
at sa inang bayan ay magpapaalpas.
In his paper Ang Makata at Ang Kaniyang Pagpaksa, Dr. Lumbera underlined De Jesus' playfulness in painting a picture of a wing with words:“Pinaglaruan ni De Jesus ang talinghaga ng “pakpak,” at ayon sa tradisyon ng bugtong nagtapos siya sa paglilinaw kung ano ang pakay ng kaniyang tula. Laro at arok ng imahinasyon ang pamamaraan ng makata,tradisyonal man o modernista.Ang sagwan,ang kamay,at ang dahon ang mga bagay na ibinunga ng laro.Ang “pakpak na lihim” ang naghatid sa atin sa tunay na “arok” ng tula–ang “gintong liwanag” na magpapasikat sa laya at magpapalaya sa “inang bayan.”
Dealing with the same topic Filipino Poetry Through Years, National Artist Virgilio Almario, coincidentally used another poem of Huseng Batute entitledGunita sa Nagdaang Kamusmusan, published in the 16 May 1928 issue of Taliba.
The persona, while watching a Santacruzan, had a flashback to his childhood days with his playmate, supposedly female, who used to play the role of a Reyna Elena.
Then the flashforward to the present when he is with her,not necessarily as his wife:
At ngayo'y kapwa na tayo magugulang,
pilak ang buhok mo't ang buhok ko'y uban,
Ang nagdaang araw,
kung magunita ko yaong kamusmusan
naiiyak akong hindi ko malaman
sa tabi ng daan.
For his part, former Dean Almario, who considered de Jesus as the best poet in Filipino when he read his commentary Wika ng Ika-20 Siglo ng Tula, revealed the secret code of this wordsmith's wisdom: “Isang Balagtasista si Batute, at bahagi ng kaniyang kamalayan ang konserbatibong pagtingin ng tradisyon. Ang wika niya'y tigib pa rin ng bokabularyong Espanyol – kurus (pansinin ang ispeling), kalsada, korona, setro, espada, kabayo, musiko, tsinelas. Ang wika ng nais niyang manatiling tradisyong kolonyal at Kristiyano. Gayunman, malungkot ang kaniyang pagtanggap sa katotohanan nang aminin niyang “naiyak akong hindi ko malaman/sa tabi ng daan.” Nararamdaman niyang naiiwan siya ng kasaysayan at modernisasyon sa tabi ng lansangan.”
As if taking his cue from the word “modern,” Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature youngest Hall of Famer, Roberto Aňonuevo, extended the time frame to the 21st century when he included the poetry-technology harmony in his Sulyap sa Panulaang Filipino sa Internet: “Pinalaya ng internet ang mga Filipino sa dating kulob na sirkulo na gaya ng Liwayway, Mabuhay Extra, at Sinag-Tala na pawang mahirap paglathalaan ng baguhang manunulat. Hindi na kailangang magpadala ng mga tula ang isang makata ngayon sa editor ng kung sinong magasin o pahayagan, at mailalathala agad niya nang mabilis ang kaniyang obra sa kaniyang blog o websayt anumang oras naisin.”
Last 19 November, Writing Online was problematized by Carljoe Javier, Luis Katigbak, and Marne Kilates but we were stuck at the Intercon's Dasmariňas Room the whole since we were with Erwin Romulo and Angelo Suarez tacklingEmerging Forms of Literature. After our session, Erwin gave us his Uno magazine “of fiction and creative nonfiction” where he serves as its Executive Editor while Angelo his “slightly smaller than a compact disc case” square bookBatch '97 Haiku.about him and his high school classmates' high hopes and otherwise.
And then, we really received a real CD from Elyss Punsalan, the site owner ofpakingganpilipinas.blogspot.
com, who produced that fiction podcast Ating Kuwento, Pakinggan Mo with a soft gray but bold all caps warning NOT FOR SALE featuring Yvette Tan's The Bridge, Angelo Lacuesta's Self With Dog, Kate Aton-Osias' Ghosts Between Moments, Kenneth Yu's The Sparrows of Climaco Avenue, and Dean Francis Alfar's Six From Downtown.
Elyss, during our talk, showed her interest in promoting some, if not all, the CDs we brought with us, as part of the character we made, being a retired MILF Commander, selling everything China and Taiwan made!
Yes, we resurrected the born-again Muslim writer we developed at the height of the Asian
Financial Crisis in 1997 when we were invited during a Poets Essayists Novelists (PEN) Conference at the Cultural Center of the Philippines' Tanghalang Manuel Conde.
Our task: to answer the question WHAT WE CAN OR OUGHT TO BE?
So we invented a poet turned prophet who predicted the bill – LIT ACT – proposed by writers who became politicians eager to create, say, a low-cost housing in Jose Garcia Village or a bar where you can order Krispy Krip Tacos or Ophie’s Choice Cuts while waiting for Godie or an Authorobics Fitness Program at the Alfrredo Navarro Salanga Gym.
To this day, 13 years later, our dream remains the same.
A dream as old as our marriage to Ellay as well as our first child, Psalma.
We fetched her at the University of the Philippines Integrated School (UPIS) high school campus where she is now a freshie.
She just came from a day-long field trip that would help her find her career path.
Then we met her,tired and all, after we attended the launch of Ambagan 2009: Mga Salita Mula sa Iba't Ibang Wika sa Filipinas and other titles of UP Press, proclaimed Publisher of the Year during the recent 29th National Book Awards, at the Executive House, that appeared to be empty, as if waiting for its new resident, or its new president.
Well, 13 years ago, who would ever think that e-ink would become a reality?
Not only Huseng Batute.
Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair...
No one is in charge of your happiness. All but one. You.