WMSU-LDRC fortifies Spanish-Filipino amity thru cultural exhibit PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 00:00

As a way of strengthening the link between the Philippines and the Kingdom of Spain, Western Mindanao State University hosted a grand exhibition of cultural icons prominent during the Spanish colonization in the 1800s and a celebration of the country and Spain’s friendship through a series of activities that are aimed at promoting the preservation of the Spanish culture and heritage in the city.

Through the efforts of the Language Development Resource Center under the auspices of the Research, Extension Services and External Linkages (RESEL) of WMSU, LDRC through Director Prof. Julie Uy-Cabato collaborated with the Spanish Philippines Cultural Cooperation and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) for the conduct of the two-day event dubbed as “Amistad entre Filipinas y España.”

The grand celebration kicked off on Friday, August 29 with the “Dia Engrande Celebracion entre España y Filipinas” where Spanish and Filipino dances were performed by WMSU’s Jambangan Cultural Dance Troupe and renditions of Spanish songs were sung by the WMSU Grand Chorale. Various award-winning films in Spanish were also screened during the day. The highlight of the Dia Engrande was the opening of the exhibit which featured century-old relics, photographs, books and mascota gowns by celebrated designers in the city.

In his speech, RESEL Vice President Dr. Roberto B. Torres stressed how strong the influence of Spain is in modern day Zamboanga, citing how evident it is as observed in the modern day practices, architecture, mode of dressing and more importantly, the Chabacano dialect which is the strongest evidence of Spanish occupation in the Asia’s Latin City.

WMSU’s Vice President for Planning, Administration and Finance, Dr. Ederlinda M. Fernandez motivated the students, faculty and guests to honor Mother Spain with recollections of how the Philippine history has been enriched with the culture and tradition of Spain.

The festivity is in accordance with Senator Edgardo Angara’s Philippine–Spanish Friendship Day Bill (Republic Act No. 9187) celebrated every June 30 that marks the day when President Emilio Aguinaldo commended the besieged Spanish soldiers in the Church of Baler for their loyalty and gallantry. This celebration, as mentioned in the bill, shall commemorate the cultural and historical ties, friendship and cooperation between the Philippines and Spain.

Since Zamboanga is one of the cities that were greatly influenced by the arrival of the Spaniards, Prof. Cabato found it significant to host the friendship day between the two countries to develop a strong responsibility to promote, love and preserve the Chabacano culture especially to the young ones so they can pass it on to the next generation.

Prof. Cabato further reiterated that to fully appreciate the interplay of culture between the two countries, the audience had to understand first what is native to them and therefore Filipino dances were also staged by the Jambangan Dance Troupe.

The first day of the observance of Filipino-Spanish friendship day capped off with the classy ‘Noche Cultural y Cena’ – a night of merriment which enriched the audience’s understanding of Spain’s influence through the staging of dance and music by the university’s performing arts groups and the debut of an original composition in Chabacano by Dr. Genaro Yap Aizon (musician) and Prof. Claro R. Potenciano (lyricist), as performed by a student named Nissan John B. Sumicad. For the cultural night’s finale, mascota gowns designed by local designers were flaunted by the candidates of the forthcoming Ms. Zamboanga 2014. These Zamboangueñas portrayed the image of Maria Clara as they gracefully glided through the catwalk wearing their stylish mascotas embellished with intricate beadwork and sophisticated design that embody the craftsmanship of the Zamboangueño designers.

LDRC and NHCP sponsored lectures on the second day of the festival entitled “Exploratins and Transformation: Creating Text and Identity.” Mr. Alvin Alcid, Chief of the Research, Publications and Heraldry Division of the NHCP graced the event and commended WMSU for this undertaking, stressing how this advocacy can greatly contribute to the preservation of the Spanish heritage not only in the city, but in the country as well.

Notable personalities from within and outside the university were the resource speakers of the mini-conference called “La Ciudad de Zamboanga: Sus imagenes, Canciones, Modas, Rituales, Arquitektura, Lenguaje y Literatura” on Saturday, August 30—a brief presentation of different works in Chabacano text and literature, radio dramas and newscasts, music and architecture, fashion and other images.

WMSU’s VP for RESEL, Dr. Roberto B. Torres, who is the President of the Consejo de Investigacion y Desarollo de Lenguaje Chabacano, deepened the audience’s knowledge on the Chabacano language with his talk on “Creole Chabacano as a Mother Based Tongue for K-12.”

Dr. Genaro Yap Aizon, former VP for Academics of the Adamson University and current adviser to the City Mayor on Culture and the Arts discussed the trends in Chabacano Literature and Music who, in addition, has shared some poems and short stories in Chabacano.

Meanwhile, Prof. Claro R. Potenciano, Jr. of the Planning and Finance division and former WMSU’s VP for Administration talked on Zamboanga Myths and Rituals of Spanish origins.

College of Architecture’s Dean, Arch. Domingo A. Abarro, showed some existing proofs of the Spanish occupation in the city through pictures of Spanish-inspired architecture throughout Zamboanga City.

Spanish-inspired fashion photography was lectured by noted Zamboangueño fashion photographer Sefi Curada who talked on the history of the Filipiñana and Mascota dress and the birth of fashion photography during the Spanish era.

The LDRC Director herself, Prof. Cabato was among the speakers. She presented her translation of the legendary Spanish Noli Me Tangere. Prof. Cabato and Prof. Melchor D. Jalon, her co-translator made a twist to Jose Rizal’s classic, incorporating Chabacano and some terms of the new generation so as to entice the youngsters to read masterpieces like the Noli which is part of the country’s rich literary heritage.

In connection to the translation of the Noli Me Tangere, Prof. Melchor D. Jalon, Head of the English Department, shared more literary pieces in Chabacano, while Prof. Jose Maria A. Bue provided samples of Chabacano dramas and news reports, its history and how they are delivered by students of the WMSU Mass Communication department.

The speakers answered the questions of students and guests in an open forum that subsequently followed after all the lectures.

All in all, the two-day event was a success through the joint efforts of the Spanish Philippines Cultural Cooperation, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, WMSU’s RESEL-LDRC and the academe in general, with the support of the University President, Dr. Milabel Enriquez-Ho.

The LDRC’s initiative greatly contributes to the preservation of the customs and traditions that were influenced by the Spaniards who once walked the Asia’s Latin City.(Mandy Dalugdug – PAO, WMSU)

By: Dante Corteza