I first realized the beauty of my native language when I was introduced to the poetry of Adonis Durado. That was when a World Literature class way back in college lightly touched local literature. But it’s not surprising when you grew up in a culture that looks up to anything foreign as superior and thus, better. This hypocritical nature has been bugging me off for years as I slowly built my love for the unique aspects of my own language. It is home in all sense of the word.
June gave us the second year of Cebu Literary Festival. I went in the hopes of hearing literary readings in Cebuano.Unfortunately, the only people who graced the audience with that were: my previous teacher codenamed Vampire Rodrigo (that’s what he called himself back then, I don’t recall his real name now) with his creative nonfiction and Jona Bering, fellow normalite with her poetry about identity (if I recall it correctly). It was kind of disappointing since I expected Nikay Paredes to give us some of her binisdak tiradas or Adonis Durado to show up with one of his ngilngig balaks.
Nevertheless, there were interesting discussions: about home, staying loyal to one’s native tongue as a writer’s medium, writing, gay literature, and some such that tried to fill up decades of literary dormancy.
LitFest is young. It still has a long way to go and I intend to witness its journey through the years.
Of course, one of the best things when going to LitFest, aside from stimulating cerebral talks – is meeting like-minded people. I hauled Gino along, saw John, Maeren, watched Therese and Jerika sing, and of course, buying really hard-to-find prints of Cebuano fiction and poetry books.
As one of the aspiring creatives of my native Sugbo, I hope that this initiates a kind of creative revolution, education and liberation among the youth. Literature has a lot to offer. Especially our own literature. I hope it sparks that dormant artist in everyone to let them see the true marvel of what is innately ours. That we do not need to look up to everything foreign and white and porcelain to recognize beauty. May it give us great big hands and whole, willing hearts to embrace our own.
Sa binisdak ug inatong mga istorya ug balak!