Saturday, May 25, 2013

Lakbay sa San Fernando, La Union: 7th Nakem International Conference (Part 4)

The main purpose of my visit to San Fernando City, La Union was primarily to attend the 7th Nakem International Conference, a conference covering wide topics from the languages and education. This particular installment of the conference carried the theme Panagtagikua: Our Right to Our Languages, Our Right to Emancipatory Education. I attended the conference with a paper presentation in tow.

Although it turned out that most of the participants and presentations are from the Ilocos region (or can speak Ilocano for that matter) I was never treated a total stranger. I got to know several elders and it was good to know many things about Ilocos – from the stories about tabako, to the Marcoses, and to the importance of family and relatives there. Conference-wise I realized that there still many things to be learned from the Ilocos region judging from the number of presentations. Researches on language and education are of particular interest for they are obviously trying to strengthen the grounding of the Ilocano language into their region.

With that in mind we can see that an advocacy gains meat and gravity if a concerted effort is done by a large number of people or group. I cannot see how or when the people in attendance would ever get tired of what their researches or endeavors. Love, respect, and passion are evident from them. If we are to learn anything from the Ilokanos, it’s not the often-told trait of kakuriputan (so they say), but this strong drive to put forward their advocacies.

 I was also able to present my short paper after several changes in schedule and it was an honor indeed to be able to discuss some brief things about what my short paper with none other than Dr. Aurelio Agcaoili who is one of the pillars of Nakem Conferences. Based in Hawaii, he nevertheless continues to widen our knowledge about the Ilokanos and the Ilokano languages. He may no longer remember me but I thought it was polite of him to translate to me some of the details of the presentations done during the two nights we were there. 


Finally, those nightly cultural presentations certainly made it more evident how strong their drive to intensify the Ilokano identity is. Composed of songs and traditional dances, the presentations were headed by the group Fokloriko Ti La Union. One trait that I saw (which as far as I remember is rarely seen in the Tagalog regions) is the raw enjoyment of the viewers to that point that they stood up, clapped their hands, and almost danced together with the music or the presentations. Lovely were those nights indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment