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jun sibug
paterno 'jun' c. sibug jr SOME OF the articles published in an undated Singsing magazine of the Center for Kapampangan Studies are now being resurrected and finding their digital pathway on the web pages of an internet newspaper. The SunStar Network Exchange has been on the web for a decade now sharing and disseminating news from different corners in the Philippines, using almost all major dialects spoken in the entire archipelago of over 7000 islands. The sun shines bright daily with fresh news and updates of issues, events, and opinions locally and internationally. I am an avid and sometimes rabid follower of two SunStar writers who regularly share opinions and updates on the goings on in the Pampanga cultural scene. Incidentally, both writers have very close ties to the Don Juan Nepomuceno Center for Kapampangan Studies. One has been the object of my howling for more care and accuracy in his articles on Pampango history. It seems that there will now be two who will be in my cultural barking lot.

Fr. Edilberto V. Santos has forwarded very interesting concepts regarding the Pampango language. He has offered some new explanations on some terms, which another priest who, about 300 years ago, with the help of a Pampango native, compiled and translated in the Castillan language. In 1860, unnamed friars revised the book first published in book form in 1732. I want to approach this subject with a guarded caution, keeping in mind my late mother who used to counsel me, saying, "Eca mamaquibat caring macatua queca" and that "Eca mamagpang nung eca micutnanan." I am sure, though, that Fr. Santos would welcome some observations and opinions on an article he had published on the web. I do find the article, entitled "The Kapampangan Concept of Ari," very interesting and important because it cuts deep not only into the historical but also into the religious aspect of Pampango culture. However, I find little comfort when writers about Pampanga and its culture piece together ideas, ancient and modern, bound by words and phrases such as "probably" and "must have been." It is even harder to understand why literal and figurative meanings are used interchangeably to propose an idea. I find Fr. Edilberto V. Santos as no exception. I will try to avoid such pitfalls.

Fr. Santos claims that "pre-Spanish Kapampangans did not have a king" to negate Diego Bergano's explanation of the word ari. According to him, Pampangans did not have a king and so could not have meant it this way, and thus proposing to say it probably meant "sun." Likewise, since he cannot find a word in Bergano's Vocabulario de la Lengua Pampango en Romance a word equivalent for queen, he went on to say "they do not have the word queen in their language because they have never had a queen in their life." One thing that should be made clear is that Bergano's book—while it stood out among the previous editions of other Augustinian monks—was by no means complete and so much less precise.

Given that Fray Diego Bergano was translating in Romance, the most convenient word for him was rey. And given that Bergano used rey as the equivalent of the word ari, should the English translation then be "king"? One's first instinct would be to say yes. Had he been translating in Latin it would have been rex. Rex would then translate as "king" or "ruler." His difficulty lay in the fact that there is no other word to distinguish ari in the feminine form as in other cultures. In Russia they have czar and czarina, Spain has rey and reyna, and the English have "king" and "queen." There are two entries for the word ari in Bergano's Vocabulario. While the first is ambiguous on gender, the second is more explicit. The two entries have subtle affinities in their meanings. It is not hard to deduce that the first entry was inadequately given explanation because it is silent on gender. Many words in the Vocabulario are found in the same manner. Anac and penganac refer both to "son" and "daughter." Another word is balayi, which refers to both "father-in-law" and "mother-in-law." When gender is not implied, either word lalaqui or babay is added, such as in anac a lalaqui, balaying babay, and so as in aring babay or aring lalaqui. To support this idea, one can refer to another book published in 1860, entitled Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala, by two Augustinian friars, namely Juan de Noceda and Pedro San Lucar. The entry for hari, translated as rey, was amplified with haring babae, translated as reyna. I need not elaborate on the cultural symbiosis of both ethnic groups and their languages. I submit that the proper translation for ari should be soberano, monarca, or obernante. And thus in English it would translate as "sovereign, monarch," or "ruler."

There are at least three words in the Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala that easily translate to the English word "rainbow." The word balangao, translated as arco celeste or terrestre, according to the friars, was seldom used. Even rarely found is bahag-suhay, which is translated as arco iris. The most commonly used and of a more recent vintage is bahag-hari, translated as arco del cielo or arco iris. In Bergano's Vocabulario the only entry found is pinan, where he added pinan ari as arco iris among the examples to illustrate its usage. In the dictionary portion of the same book is found the single word pinan as arco iris. He stated, however, that pinan is synonymous to bajag or bajague, which is translated as "loincloth." One thing needs to be pointed out here is that this word (bajag) is the only Pampango word or the only word entered in a Pampango book that I found where the "h" sound is distinct. Lastly, in both languages words equivalent to "sun" as in aldao or arao are found. I cannot find a rainbow connection for loincloth except the colors proper for royalty in Austronesia.

Indeed, we do have a word for sovereign or ruler. Our word for rainbow is at best merely derived or borrowed from the newest Tagalog word for rainbow. How could the Tagalogs have three and the Pampangos do not have a unique word for it? The word for king and queen is more apparent in Pampango. Tracing the etymology of the word resolves only half of the issue. If the Pampangos had such a word, how was such a word used or were there persons they referred to as such? Here lies the other challenge. There are no written records from pre-colonial era. Are there colonial records written at the outset of conquest that account for the existence of sovereign rule of a majestic family of sorts? Are there any oral accounts or stories no matter how remote, that proved such a ruler and vassal relationship existed?

At the outset of the Spanish colonization, both the missionaries and conquistadores found our ancestors run by rulers and the rulers having their separate dominions. They were loosely called reyesuelos, meaning "petty kings." All of the Lakans, Gats, Rajahs, and Datus were lumped together by the term principalia. Very few were aptly called by the titles proper in the language of their ethnic groups. Were there female rulers or sovereigns? One should read the book The Discovery and Conquest of Molucco and the Philippines written by Bartolomew L. Argensola in 1708. It will be found that throughout the lands of Oceania or Austronesia not only were there kings and queens who ruled their subjects but also queen regents who ruled in behalf of their infant sons who were successors to the crown. Closer to home we find a common story among Tagalogs—narrated by a certain Pacita Cordero of Pagsanjan, Laguna and which Dean S. Fansler included in his book Filipino Popular Tales—titled "Alberto and The Monsters," mentioning "Sinucuan, a king who had a brave son named Alberto" whose kingdom was close to that of "king of Casiguran named Luis."

Why was Cristong Ari never used? To be precise, using Fr. Santos's words "If the missionaries believed that ari meant both 'king' and 'queen,' why is it that, when they introduced Bapu Ari as referring to Mary, they did not also introduce Kristo Ari as referring to Christ the King, but, instead, introduced the Spanish Cristo Rey.

There are other books written in our language that should not be treated as mere bibliographical curiosities unworthy of our closer attention even if they were written for religious purposes. It is even more unbecoming for us Capampangans who observe yearly the passion of our Lord as a mere pompous event and tourist attraction. It behooves us that these books should be treated as gems of both our history and of our faith. What Fr. Santos is looking for is found in the following books most commonly known as Pasyon. In the book Bienang Queralandalanan ning Guinutang Jesuchristo, approved by Fray Ignacio Tambungui and published in 1905 and 1927, we find on page 70 the following stanza:
"Alang dapat a alijim.
Cang Cristong Ari ding Angel,
a ena talastas-nganpin,
ulinita nganang tambing
miniabing peparamdampin"
In another book, titled Banal a Pama-masa ning Balen qng Bie nang Queralandalanan ning Guinu tang Jesucristo, first published in 1907 and 1922 by Cornelio Pabalan with the approval of the then parish priest of Sasmuan, Pampanga Fray Luciano Illa, appears on page 179 the third stanza:
"Indu quecang idaing
qng Anac mung y Emmanuel
Jesus a lalu qng santing
bungsung pepalayo mu pin
Cristong Ari ding Angel."
The term Bapu Ari endured due to our compliance to church doctrines. Cristong Ari perished because of church acquiescence in the post-Spanish colonial era that the reading of the Pasyon was a mere folk tradition that should be tolerated. We recited the prayers of the rosary and the litany daily. The public reading of the Pasyon once yearly became a mere public spectacle and an occasion for social gathering. Any linguist like Fr. Santos should know that "what you do not use you loose." To my knowledge there is no prayer that was written or translated that includes the term Cristong Ari. The title of the Pampango version of the prayer "Hail Holy Queen" (Latin: Salve Regina ) and its opening phrase is self-evident and should revert to its original form, and that the "Litany to the Blessed Virgin Mary," translated in Pampango in 1878 by another Augustinian friar, Juan de Vena, should retain its integrity as it was written. In both cases, the gender of the word ari is implied. Changing the word ari to reyna is nothing more than keeping in line with what the Spanish language and culture is and not what is inherently correct in Pampango culture and diction. There should not be any confusion in the significance of the word as against the usage of the word as a title to an office. The queenship of our Savior's Mother and Her eternal sovereignty should not be trivialized to the level on the issue of the origin of the word in Pampango.

[About the author. Even in college, Paterno C. Sibug Jr., was known as Jun Sibug. He took his elementary education at Holy Family Academy, his high schooling at the former Sacred Heart Seminary, and spent college at the University of the Philippines. Mr. Sibug now lives in Chicago, Illinois and is presently working as a Pension Benefit Administrator. His main references are mostly books from the Newberry Library Filipiniana Collections and University of Illinois in Chicago. He cares about history, and is always proud to have been born a Pampango.]

-Posted: 12:22 PM 6/28/09 | More of this author on eK!

Papa Osmubal (Macau) writes...

Dear Ginung Jun Sibug, I don't know how it morphed to its present meaning and usage, but "balayi" is the address used by a couple's parents towards each other, not "mother-in-law" (which is "katuwangan a babayi") or "father-in-law" (which is "katuwangan a lalaki"). I am married and my wife's parents are my parents' "balayi" and in turn my parents are my wife's parents' "balayi". My wife's parents are my "katuwangan" (katuwangan a babayi ampong katuwangan a lalaki") and I am their "manuyang" (or manuyang a lalaki or "son-in-law"), whereas my parents are my wife's katuwangan (katuwangan a lalaki ampong katuwangan a babayi) and she is their "manuyang" (manuyang a babayi or "daughter-in-law").

-Posted/Via Email: 2009-07-02 11:51:15 PDT

Jun Sibug (Chicago, IL./USA) writes...

Dear Papa Osmubal,

You are absolutely right, the term balayi is used as you have described it. Perhaps I was vague in describing the term. For lack of a better word I used the term parents in law to refer to both both sets of parents. In this case it should have been mi-balayi. The word balayi never "morphed" or evolved to a different meaning. I will do a more diligent work finding the proper equivalent in English or Spanish. I welcome anybody who can help me with this. Thanks for your keen observation.

-Posted/Via Email: 2009-07-03 07:51:50 PDT

Jason Paul Laxamana (Angeles City, Philippines) writes...

In Bahasa Indonesia/Malaysia, "hari" means day. There's also "matahari" to refer to the sun.

Although I am not saying we should treat Bergano's book as the sole source, it is highly unlikely that the researcher would miss out the local word for "Queen" (if ever we did have kings and queens) when he has researched on the most mundane things like an itch (gatal) or the ancient words like SUNDIAM (a lance-like weapon if im not mistaken) and SAGINANUN (chant for the moon).

Pinanari / Bahaghari is more appropriate to mean "pinan/bahag ning aldo," instead of the "king." Why would a king wear a loincloth?

If the sun and the ancient lord Aring Sinukuan are the same to pre-colonial Kapampangans, then it makes a lot more sense to me.

Regarding, bajag, in Bergano, there's also BUGJA, LIJIM, and BIJAG.

-Posted/Via Email: 2009-07-08 19:48:19 PDT

The author Jun Sibug (Chicago, IL) writes...

Dear Mr. Laxamana,

Sure, one can find these words with the letter "J". We can split hair and argue how they are pronounced. What I wrote is that "bajag" is the only word "I found where the "h" sound is distinct" not the only word spelled with letter J. I live and interact with Spanish speaking people daily. Majority of those who are not conversant in English pronounce words starting with J as HY, eg. Jun Sibug as Hyun Sibug, jewel as hyuwel. Likewise they say jyo for yo meaning I, hyerba for herba, hyierro for hierro etc. The letter H in most cases is dropped as in honor, hacer etc. In the words dejar and mojado the h sound is very distinct. They are as confusing/confused as we are. Imagine if we drop H sound in bajag then it sounds baag or if we follow the sound when found in the beginning of the word it will sound bahyag or bahyag ari. Did Bergano made sure that it was not confused with a word for a body part. Were these four words really borrowed from Tagalog?

I do not treat Bergano’s book as the sole source and that is the reason I found the words/terms that Fr. Santos say are non-existent. Did the researcher miss the Pampango word for queen or did he not realize that it is also ari? Did Fr. Samson not discern that ari has a common gender? Mind you CKS staffers keep quoting 1732 when they mean 1860. Can anybody tell who revised the 1732 book? Certainly it was not Bergano nor his kins.
Why would a king wear a loincloth? Today’s kings do not. Our ancestors did because they did not have sewing machines and clothiers.

-Posted/Via Email: 2009-07-11 09:02:29 PDT

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