[it’s already too late for a last, senti blog for the year so instead i’ll move it forward and nail a first blog of the year, up to you na lang Precious Reader to like and hopefully appreciate the topic. onwards 2016! Thanks to philippinecities.com for the San Carlos City pic above!]
EARLY ON, I’d already given up learning goodwife Mahal’s Pangasinense dialect, not the least because it was markedly different from the Ilokano tongue of my contemporaries in university, but also because I didn’t want my in-laws to think I was trying too hard. In my slanted opinion, the Pangalatoks sound somewhere between Ilokanos and Kapampangans (although the latter really take some getting used to if you’ve never heard them before).
How wrong I was to not try learning even a few phrases! Tell you what, the Pangasinenses dearly love their language, just as they love everything about their province. This, despite the fact that the province is divided into large groups of Pangasinenses, Ilokanos and Tagalogs.
The dialect is richly sprinkled with the schwa sound (roughly a combination of the short “a”, “e” and “u” sounds), kien is a particle I heard in almost every sentence, antotan and labut were words obviously with a lot of uses / meanings since they were used as often as we did “uh” and “naman” in Manila.
Where we stayed for New Year’s Eve was a city that was considered the heartland of Pangasinenses, and I saw close-up how Mahal’s people were : frugal, hardworking, and clever. Of course, I’m being biased and opinionated, but in the sort time I was there, that’s what I saw.
Almost every house I saw had either areas set aside for the drying of palay, an open area set aside for carpentry work or woodwork, houses were always being rebuilt or remodeled, and believe you me, I hardly saw any idle menfolk around, of course it was the holidays where people were expected to be hung over, tongue in cheek. 🙂
The reality however was, everyone was just waiting for the national elections, and based on the public works posters practically shouting the names and mugs of the incumbents, not everyone was patient enough to wait. Everywhere were not-so-subtle posters, pictures and greetings of personalities obviously seeking public office. Even schools had posters of potential candidates surrounded by children, purportedly benefiting from the incipient education policies of these candidates.
Sa bagay, campaign period for the national elections is less than four months away.
All in all, I haven’t been around my homeland much, but I can tell that San Carlos City is one of the more progressive places I’ve seen. I only hope that in their drive towards progress, the Pangasinenses don’t lose sight of themselves and their identity. The fact that Mahal comes from here is just a bonus.
Thanks for reading!