A Content Analysis of Bilingual Poetry From Paolo Manalo’s Jolography By Matthew Arcilla INTRODUCTION In separate pieces chronicling a history

of language policy in the Philippines, both Victor Sugbo (2003) and Clemencia Espiritu (2002) observe that changes to language policy have been directed towards national unification in the face of a tumultuous relationship with language(s) itself/themselves. In my previous collaborative research (Arcilla, Criste, et al., 2007), we noted that the common thread linking three Southeast Asian nations like the Philippines that are bilingualist in nature is that their connection to the English language is one that is a product of colonial history. This perspective is further explored by Eric Gamalinda in English is your mother tongue/Ang Ingles ay tongue ng ina mo (2003). In this essay, Gamalinda notes the condescending opinion given by Americans regarding Philippine literature. Although the friar Juan Francisco de San Antonio wrote praises in his Chronicas regarding the literary and poetic sensibilities of the Filipino (and this was the 18 th century), the lack of a national literature was held as proof of the Filipino’s inferiority. The Americans expected that after three centuries of Spanish rule, the Filipinos would have produced a great body of Spanish-language literature, but that was overlooking the reality of censorship that hounded Filipino writers under Spanish rule. Not only was literature heavily monitored, but instruction and education on the Spanish language was reserved for only the most elite of individuals. As one friar wrote in Tagalog, “Filipinos … ought not to understand Spanish, for the moment they speak Spanish they will become enemies of the King and God. They ought to learn only to say prayers and spend the rest of their time on carabaos." (Gamalinda, 2003) What was clear to the Americans was this: the culturally backward nature of the Filipino backward made colonization justified and necessary:
“By having them go through the pains of learning a new language, the United States reinforced over the what mentor-pupil Rudyard sullen Kipling peoples, relationship, described half-devil in and reinforced his famous half-child. also poem its as superiority America's



author Nick Joaquin, [...] described it this way: "A people that had got as far as Baudelaire in one language was being returned to the ABC's of another and taught to read 'Humpty-Dumpty' and 'The Little Red Hen' instead of Cervantes, Calderon de la Barca, Lope de Vega, and Ruben Dario.”

However, my interest lies not within the domain of how one resolves this coloniallydriven neurotic relationship with language or what factors drive its continued existence, but rather how it manifests itself in the form and structure of language itself. To do that, I will examine selected pieces of Jolography, a collection of poetry by Paolo Manalo. JOLOGS: ARE WE WHAT WE EAT OR WHAT WE DANCE?

In the souvenir program for the 2005 Tanghalang Pilipino production R’meo Luvs Dewlhiett, the term jologs is said to refer to the masa crowd of the 9os, and refers to ‘being in step with the sign of the times or establishing affinitiy with the masa while becoming unmindful of stereotypes and bigotry.” (TP, 2005) Wikipedia, the online dictionary, features some remarks from Nigel Palfaro:
“Actually the first time i heard the term jologs is in the Francis Magalona song. The way a jolog person is portrayed in the song, it appears that the person's characteristics is the same as that of a "cowboy". An "anything-goes" person. The same portrayal is akin to the characters of the movie also entitled "jologs". They do not necessarily have to refer to urban poor. More likely, it has almost the same meaning as the phrase "walang keme". Or "walang arte". Also somehow related to "street smart". (Palfaro, 2005)

Prior to the release of Jolography, Manalo produced an essay that received much circulation on the web entitled “Being the True, the Good, the Beautiful and Definitive Meaning of Jologs (or When is the Squattah Not the Othah)”. This essay is reproduced in the back of the collection and describes a supposed discussion of the term within a classroom setting. Here, Manalo lays out the multiple definitions and etymologies of the term as a means of somehow triangulating the meaning-space that it occupies. In the essay, Manalo and ‘his students’ yield the following definitions (Manalo, 2002):

Jolog came from Jolina Magdangal. It's what a fan of hers is called. "Jol" from Jolina + "og" like the suffix -ite or -ian. However, the word was in existence before Jolina became a star.

The word originally referred to the Pinoy hiphop, or hiffhaffers, especially those seen walking as a group in malls. Hiphop fashion includes those very loose and wide pants that were huhulog-hulog (kept falling). "Hulog" later was spelled "Julog" until it was pronounced "ju-log", then its final form: "jo-log".

The term was coined by high school students in Quezon City, specifically those familiar with Quezon Avenue in the 80's. Back then, across National Bookstore, Quezon Avenue, was a cheap disco derisively known as "the squatter of discos" and bore the name Jaloux. High school students from private schools would tease each other: "Hey pare, I saw you at Jaloux last night." Eventually other schools picked this up. "Si John, pumupuntang Jaloux." "Kadiri, Melanie's Jaloux." Eventually, the name Jaloux was corrupted: "Ja-Loukh", "Ja-Look", until it eventually became "Jaloog" then "Jolog.”

The term may have also originated from food. An order of dilis, tuyo and itlog was known as 'diyolog' and was regarded as the food of the poor. People would say, 'Oh, look she eats diyolog.' Later it became 'Look, diyolog, o.' Until the 'diy' got changed to 'j', hence 'jolog.'"


Published in 2003 by the University of the Philippines Free Press, Jolography collects many poems previously published by its Manalo on his on-line group-blog this is psychicpants.net. Many of these poems use a combination of transliteration and metonymy to explore the concept of language not as a rigid abstract structure but as a space that is lived. As Lawrence Lacambra Ypil puts it:
“I cannot help but evoke the poems as LIVED SPACE, as PLACE filled with its own chatter of tsismis, done unapologetically in its own twisted grammars, while its tongues strut to their own mongrel music of half-waltz and half-rap. Welcome to the country of our loveliest mistakes. […] Where etched on bathroom stalls are the strange calligraphies of some syntax gone awry, a grammar gone wild, a post-coital, post-colonial....schizophrenia.”

Prior to publication, Jolography received the 2002 Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Poetry, and during its release, it achieved a certain degree of memetic popularity due to its novel use of Taglish. Although Manalo is not the first Taglish poet (one other Taglish poet that comes to mind is the late Rolando Tinio), but he is probably the first to attempt to use “hindi bale, size doesn’t matter / it’s the toot that counts” with earnest seriousness. “It is unfortunate, however, that what younger poets have picked up on is merely the possibilities of Taglish, something that actually already predated Manalo,” notes one observer. point for the existing hegemony of metaphor-driven poetry. It is also a mistake to think that the purpose of Jolography is to ‘elevate’ jologs culture which is the conclusion drawn by Rome Jorge, a writer for the Manila Times: "[O]ne can elevate the colloquial, the trashy and the raw into high art [...] The elevation of jologs culture is also a fine example of artistic innovation of [this] kind. With Jolography and R’meo Luvs Dew-lhiett, artists honed in the conventions and aesthetics of established classical forms apply their discipline to an underrated and much-maligned sub-culture.” In the afterword to his MA thesis, Manalo coins the term "Sabanggaan", a neologism designating the space “where two languages collide, although the collision isn't accidental. In Jolography, collision was deliberate, so instead of an "accident waiting to happen" it's a "happening waiting for an accident." He further clarifies in an interview (Manalo, 2002):
“The poetry comes from the need for errors in the happening of language. It entertains these errors and says they aren't mistakes. The assumption here is: when two broken languages collide they form a (w)hole.”



his Taglish with deliberate purpose, rather than as an exotic flavoring or a shiny new coat of

TAGLISH: THE REFUGE OF THE TAGALOG-CHALLENGED ANGLOPHONIC FILIPINO POET Jolography, the eponymous first poem (pp. 5-6, Jolography) of the collection, opens with the verse, “Oh how dead you child are.” This is a transliteration of the Filipino expression “Ay patay kang bata ka” and is an intentional grammatical corruption borne out of an attempt to translate what should not be translated. Which is entirely the point. As Kris Lacaba notes:

“Original writing is often about transgressions. It is about doing things with language you're not supposed to do. It is about thinking things you're not supposed to think. Feeling things you're not supposed to feel. In a coconut shell, it's not doing as you're told.” (Lacaba, 2004)

However, in spite of its jologs roots, Lacaba insists that Jolography is not jologspeak. In fact, much of the poetry is primarily in English. As an Anglophone, Manalo is confronted with the difficulty of writing poetry in a manner that is not removed from the subjects that interest him (such as popular culture and mass culture). As the poet Francisco Arcellana observed:
“There is something uncommon in the not enviable situation of the Filipino writer in English and this is the insuperable problems of language. The life from which he draws substance is lived in a language different from the language he uses. He is therefore twice removed: by the language and by the work of art.”

Therefore, to write in Taglish is a natural means to address this problem because it is an attempt to compose literature in a language that is one of lived space like what Lawrence Lacambra Ypil spoke of, and as mentioned earlier, Manalo was not the first to write Taglish. Gamalinda (2003) notes that it was in the late 50s that Taglish really came to the cultural fore as a lingo that was ‘urban-centered, media-fueled” and “hip and young”. Rolando Tinio started creating poems like Valediction sa Hillcrest:
Pagkacollect ng Railway Express sa aking things / (Deretso na iyon sa barko while I take the plane), / Inakyat kong muli ang N-311 at dahil dead of winter, / Nakatopcoat at galoshes akong / Nag-right turn sa N wing ng mahabang dilim. (Tinio,

1958) Tinio maintained that poets should feel free to write in any language they desire, suggesting that the notion of ‘developing literature’ by means of ‘programs’ or ‘initiatives’ is an artificial one.
“The Tagalog writer will write in Tagalog for those who wish to read in Tagalog. The Spanish writer will write in Spanish for those who wish to read in Spanish. And, for as long as there are readers in English, the best thing is for the Filipino writer [to write in English]. If tomorrow, I suddenly decide to read nothing but Tagalog poems, perhaps even to write Tagalog poems -- well, isn't that nice? Perhaps I will, and perhaps I won't, but whatever I choose to do is certainly nobody else's business.” (Gamalinda, 2003)

Jose Dalisay addressed the matter in simple terms when he wrote in the Asian Pacific American Journal "Among the writers I know here in Manila, the issue of whether to write in English has ceased to be an issue -- if it ever truly was; you write in the language you know, and through which you can do more knowing; otherwise, quite simply, you can't and you don't."

DEATH TO THE METAPHOR, LONG LIVE METONYMY When Rome Jorge made the mistake of describing Jolography as a collection meant to ‘elevate’ jologs culture “[from] the colloquial, the trashy and the raw into high art,” his observation was drawn from the assumption that Jolography concerns itself with jologs culture, when in fact it concerns itself more with the language itself of jologs culture --- its form of linguistic expression. By substituting Tagalog for English transliterations, and English for Tagalog, Manalo brings the contiguity of concepts into focus, as well as problematizing them as they navigate between languages. This play of strange against strange is best exemplified in Echolalia (pp. 810, Jolography), where Manalo writes that “An epol is still an apple as long as it’s read / that way:” and that “truth was, the moment / when either epol or fig / Or figment of epol was partaken, / the tongue sharpened / Into the serpent’s form.” Peksman (pp. 11-12) simultaneously juxtaposes punnery with metonymy: “The truth is what was taken / was maybe got/ as in the heavy” and “…To see / is to bilibid, to be blind / is too divine: in the darkness / more expectations”. ‘Maybe got’ puns as “mabigat” and plays against the notion that the value of truth lies in its ‘weight’. ‘To see is to bilibid’ conveys the notion that equating sight with ‘witnessed truth’ is ‘imprisoning’ the concept of truth itself. For many people, this is a difficult concept to embrace especially in the realm of poetry. Caroline Hau observes that by “[transcribing] the ineluctable mingling and cohabitation of languages within postcolonial Philippines [... the poems in this collection give rise to a kind of politics] that questions and rewrites the linguistic and social rules long used to valorize English at the expense of Filipino, coños at the expense of jologs, authors at the expense of readers and heroes at the expense of ordinary people.” Allthough this jargon-ridden nonsense easily leads one to suspect that is merely empty praise, closer examination of these statements make it clear that Hau does not perceive Manalo’s poems as ‘poetry of content’ but as a ‘poetry of form’ where it is the act of writing itself and not what is being written about where the poetics lie: metonymy. Manalo notes that with metaphor, “similarity is both enigmatic and insightful. Metaphorical thinking makes sense of the world by re-orienting the strange with the familiar and saying that they are one.” Metonymy allows objects in context to stand in place for whole concepts. A crown is a king, a printing press stands for media or expression. Manalo concludes that metonymy can serve as an alternative to metaphor poetry by accepting estrangement, “where there are no more distinctions among objects. Nothing is different, everything is clutter and the clutter is too close it is suffocating and familiar. Instead of unity, there are associations. Metonymical thinking is to see the clutter as a network that can go all the way back to the Sexbomb Girls or Jose Rizal, or Wendell Capili (who is Metonymy Personified in my book, he who is Friendster before there ever was Friendster).” SURFACE TENSIONS: WHY JOLOGRAPHY? It is evident now that Jolography represents a pursuit of metonymy in favor of metaphor that has taken the form of the bilingual wordplay that characterizes Taglish ‘jologspeak’. But what remains unanswered is the question of why it takes that form. As mentioned above, much of the development of Filipino poetry has been a conflict of language use and its relationship to

readers and writers. Lacaba declares that the bilingual writer is in an unstable position, and Jolography is a response to developing a third-space of poetic language that foregoes both ‘pure English’ and ‘pure Filipino’, “[one that negotiates] a place that is both broken and fixed, absent and present, lost and found.” Manalo is not writing poetry that is meant to replicate the lingua franca of the jologs. On the contrary, most of the poems in Jolography are mostly in English (with some Latin & Spanish quotations thrown in for good measure) and the use of Tagalog or conventionally incorrect transliterations and punning is done for intentionally disruptive purposes. In response to Jorge’s assertion of that Jolography is an ‘elevation of jologs’, Manalo attempted to clarify by saying that the act of using the rules of jologspeak (without actually replicating it) was a conscious decision that had nothing to do with elevation or stooping down. “hindi ko inisip na i-elevate ang "jologs culture" o "bumaba" sa antas nito”. (I did not think of elevating the ‘jologs culture’ or ‘going down’ to its level.” Manalo clarifies in an interview that the book starts out “with the premise that the language that we're using is flawed, damaged, corrupted, sold out, negotiated... and yet it's still beautiful.” He explains that the process of adopting the jologs form --- that is to say, its spontaneous use of code-switching and other ‘incorrect’ acts of language use’ --- is not unlike the ‘sampling’ of a DJ. Where a DJ samples sound effects to enhance his soundscapes and remix existing material to create something new, Jolography attempts the same. Bienvenido Lumbera put it best: “Manalo's Englishing of the Filipino of the streets and the campus communicates a sense of the milieu of the urban poor youth known as jologs, its most attractive quality being a wry sense of humor. How far Manalo can go with the language he has taken pains to develop is worth watching out for. His is a struggle with English by a poet proficient with the language but seeking to bend it as far as it would go to address Filipino realities.”

REFERENCES Arcilla, Criste, Selga, Perez, & Ustaris. (2007). “An Examination of Bilingual Language Policies in Three South East Asian Nations: Philippines, Singapore and Hong Kong.” Espiritu, Clemencia (2002). “Language Policies in the Philippines.” Gamalinda, Eric. (2003) “English is your mother tongue/Ang Ingles ay tongue ng ina mo Lacaba, Kris. (2004) “this is not jologspeak.” Manalo, Paolo. (2003) Jolography. Manalo, Paolo. (2002) “Being the True, the Good, the Beautiful and Definitive Meaning of Jologs Palfaro, Nigel. (2004) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Nino_Gonzales/ Sugbo, Victor N. (2003) “Language policy and local literature in the Philippines”. p.1-8 Tinio, Rolando. (1958) Valediction sa Hillcrest. Ypil, Lawrence Lacambra (2004). The Country of Our Loveliest Mistakes.

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