Pangasinan: A Dying Dialect (?

By Ernest M. Serote (lifted from: ‘Balon Silew’ Oct-Dec 2000 issue - with permission to republish from publishers) A POPULAR JOKE is told about a young Pangasinense who, returning home after a year’s stay in Manila, is completely ‘tagalized’. Feeling hungry one mid morning, he rushes to the kitchen and finds his mother preparing their lunch. “Ang bagal naman ni Inay,” he says, “Gutom na gutom na ako, e. Ano ho bang ulam natin?” He sees a basket of live crabs. “Inay, ano ba ire?” he asks, pointing his forefinger, and suddenly blurts out: “Aray ! Anak na lasin alama ya, kinetket to ak!” The preceding anecdote is an exaggeration, of course. But it is a telling example of how many Pangasinenses unwittingly kill their language through disuse. For a Pangasinense in another region loses his cultural identity – language especially, and is readily absorbed by the culture of that other region. This, among other things, account for the rapid decay of Pangasinan dialect. More of the causes later. In the not-so-remote past, Pangasinan was one of the major dialects in the Philippines. It bares close affinity with some Indonesian tongues, a fact often cited by historians as proof of the assertion that the fabled Princess Urduja was not a native Amazon but a migrant from the South. Pangasinan, too, has a fair share of the Hindu Arabic terms, an off-shoot most probably, of the once flourishing trade between Sual and the Arab world. Pangasinan before the Ilocano Deluge, must have been spoken throughout the length and breadth of this big province. Many barrios in what are now predominantly Ilocanospeaking towns have retained their original names in the dialect. The barrios of Caoringan in Sison, Nancayasan in Urdaneta, Cabayaoasan in Mangatarem, are only three of the scores that can be named as cases in point. Also, many aging people from the Ilocano-speaking towns, whom this writer has had the chance to meet have intimated quite nostalgically that they are, or used that they had to adopt a second language having been overwhelmingly outnumbered. The existence of people still fluent in Pangasinan in as far as south of Paniqui, Tarlac and the distinctly heavy streaks of Pangasinan terms in Ibaloy, the dialect spoken by the Igorots in Benguet, point to the Palaris and Malong in the once resplendent past. Today, Pangasinan is a dying dialect. It is spoken only in a handful of towns in the central part of the province. And the frontier is continually being pushed inward due to incessant incursions of the

Ilocanos from all sides. Even in these diminishing places that are ‘pre’ Pangasinan speaking are as virgins are in England. Perhaps enrichment from other languages augurs well for many particular language. Unfortunately, it is not so with Pangasinan. Contact with other cultures does not enrich but rather annihilates Pangasinan. The invisible limits of what remains a Pangasinan-speaking area are readily noticeable as one takes a bus ride from the city of Dagupan outward to any direction. One notes how, after travelling 20 kilometers or so, the passengers conspicuously change to Ilocano the way the driver shifts his gears. So small has the area grown that the Pangasinenses, once a major ethnic group, are now reduced to mere cultural minorities. Political campaign strategists in Manila erroneously and sweepingly consider Pangasinan as part of Ilocandia. To native Manileño, other region, a Pangasinense is an Ilocano. Campaigner therefore, who spice their speeches with a smattering of Ilocano idioms usually endear themselves to Pangasinan audiences. If this trend goes on, one dreads that day when Pangasinan-speaking people, cultural minorities that they are now, will be edged out into the sea, like the rats of Hamelin, there being no mountain vastness in Central Pangasinan to which they can retreat. That would mean the death of Pangasinan. And when that happens, “lingotopsy” will surely unravel the following causes of the death of the Pangasinan dialect. For one thing, there has been no serious and sustained effort to preserve, much less propagate, the dialect. One vital factor in the propagation of any language is the development of its written literature. But alas, Pangasinan literature is largely oral. There is a dismal death of vernacular, including a novel in series. The Pangasinan novel, too, assuming that it deserves such a name, has almost died with the late Maria Magsano of ‘Samban Agnabenegan’ fame. Ironically this novel and some other works which include Colegiala Dolores Nami-ko (a translation from Japanese). Bales na Kalamangan, can be obtained more easily in their English translation than in their original version. The translations were done by Juan Villamil who also has novels to his name, notably: Ampait ya Pagbabawi, Pakseb na Kapalaran, Pinisag ya Puso, Diad Tape na Daluyon and Sika Tan Siak. The themes of these novels and their variations have nourished for some time another indigenous literary form – the zarzuela. The zarzuela used to be popular fare not only among the simple barrio folk but also in the more sophisticated poblacion. Years ago, no town fiesta was complete without a zarzuela as a major presentation. Now zarzuela is a dying art. One last ditch effort to revive the art was weekly radio program ‘Zarzuela on the Air’ directed by Lorenzo Morante, but it did not last. Lorenzo Morante, who is better known as Lorenzo ‘Tason-taso’, represents the last

gasping breath of another dying art-cancionan. Cancionan is Pangasinan’s answer to the Tagalog ‘Balagtasan’ or the Ilocano ‘Bukanegan’, a sort of verbal joust usually between a man and a woman. It used to share equal popularity with the zarzuela. Now, too, it is a literary form in its death throes. Original Pangasinan songs and ribald tales are occasionally hummed from oblivion by older folk usually after several glasses of alac-bogbog or CDC gin. Unfortunately, these songs and tales never get written for posterity. Of course, the most readily accessible literature in Pangasinan is the Bible and a few religious literature like taw-tawag, galikin, and passion. But how many read today? Another cause for the death of Pangasinan ‘lingotopsy’ is that assertion made at the start of the essay: that Pangasinan speaking people are generally not assertive. Some even go to the extent of denying their dialect. That is understandable. With hardly a literary heritage to stand on and with a stage of linguistic development suitable only for grade two, how can Pangasinenses expect to stand with pride beside Ilocano and Tagalog? Pangasinenses take pride instead in their facility in learning other languages and getting themselves lost in or assimilated by other cultural groups. Two Ilocanos can transplant Ilocandia anywhere in the world as they use their dialect without feeling embarrassed even before a king. Children of Pangasinenses who migrated to other regions, however, hardly know their parents’ tongue. Pangasinenses are uniquely funny. As hosts, they try hard to seek the language of their guests. As guests, they struggle with the language of their host. Which is a very convenient way of losing, as it were, one’s roots. Must the Pangasinan dialect be left to die

Hundred Islands

Lose yourself among the Hundred Islands, scattered like emeralds in the deep blue
waters off Pangasinan. Unexplored coves and islets await seekers of solitude. Each one in its own pristine beauty basks in the sun, lapped by the waters of Lingayen Gulf.

Situated in Alaminos, Pangasinan, Hundred Islands is a gem waiting to be
discovered. Choose among it's many facets. Soak in the sunshine on the white sand beaches of Quezon Island. Frolic in the shallow waters of Children's Island. Hire a boat and go island-hopping. Explore the abundant marine life beneath the waters of Lingayen Gulf. Hike through caves and across island trails and discover interesting rock formations.

Only three of those myriad islands have been partially developed in the interest of
ecological balance. Accomodations on these developed islands are rustic and basic, for those who wish to touch base with nature. Nipa huts and duplexes offer simple facilities, such as kerosene lighting, a drum of fresh water, and trundle beds.

Pangasinan is a province 250 kilometers north on Manila. The province is bordered by the provinces of Zambales and Tarlac on the south, Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija to the east, La Union on the north and the Lingayen Gulf to the west. The name

Pangasinan was derived from the word "asin" or salt due to Pangasinan's vast salt making industry. The province is also a major producer of mangoes, rice, milkfish and bamboo handicrafts. Today, Pangasinan is more known for its most popular tourist attraction which is the Hundred Islands National Park. A cluster of more than a hundred islands off the town of Alaminos on the Lingayen Gulf. Of which, the biggest island is named Quezon. Most of the islands are small and uninhabited and are only occasionally visited during the day by local and foreign tourist. Most of the bigger islands have beaches where visitors can spend the day or camp out for a picnic. However, only a few of these island have facilities. Those that offer facilities are: Quezon Island with viewing decks, toilets and picnic sheds, the Governor's Island has accommodation facilities for those who would like to stay longer and the Children's Island which has bathrooms, camping and sleeping areas. Now, visitors to the Hundred Islands can better enjoy their vacation with water sports facilities offered for rent at Lucap Waterfront (Tel # +63 75 5512246) for activities like jet skiing, windsurfing, kayaking, snorkeling, parasailing and big game fishing. Other Tourist Attractions of Pangasinan: Places of interest in Pangasinan are: the 2 lighthouses in Bolinao: the Cape Bolinao Lighthouse in Barangay Patar and the Port Bolinao Lighthouse in Guigui-wanen in Barangay Luciente; the Tara waterfalls in Bolinao; the pristine Balingasay river; Antong Falls in the town of Sison; the Urduja House in Lingayen; the Salasa Church in Bugallon; Mount Balungao in Balungao; Manleluag Spring National Park in Mangatarem; Bolinao Museum; Sanctuario de Senor Divino Tesoro in Calasiao; Redeemer’s Cross; Agno Umbrella Rocks and the Lingayen Gulf War Museum in the town of Lingayen. For the adventurous, there are several caves in Pangasinan waiting to be explored. There is the Cacupangan cave in the town of Mabini, Cindy’s cave in Bolinao and the 200 meter Villacorta Caves in the town of Villacorta with waterfalls, pools and rock formations. Aside form the beaches found on the Hundred Islands, one need not get a boat ride to get to a beach in Pangasinan. The coastline of Lingayen Gulf is blessed with numerous beaches for tourist and vacationers. There is the Bonuan beach, videoke stalls to match and other beaches that dot the coastline of Pangasinan. Best Beaches of Pangasinan: ● Abrak Beach in Bolinao has huts for rent for the budget conscious and several resorts for those with bigger budgets.

● Tambobong Beach, also in Dasol has pristine waters and a fishing village serves as a backdrop. ● Colibra Island, in Dasol has a beautiful shoreline; clear waters that is good for for diving and snorkeling. The island’s beach however has no shade. So be prepared to get a dark tan. ● Tondol Beach in Anda town offers a long stretch shallow and calm waters. Ideal for sunbathers. ● Arnedo Beach also in Bolinao offers several resorts, some with surfing facilities with reasonable rates.

Philippine Normal University
Taft avenue, Manila

Philippine History 1

History of pangasinan

Submitted by: Sheena Peralta I-3

Submitted to: Prof. Remedios Ong

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