Friday, February 26, 2016

Filipino migrants help promote Ilokano culture in LC

Performers during the cultural show held at the MMSU-CTE Social Hall on Feb. 17, 2016. They are composed of officers and members of GUMIL Oahu namely: Gladys Mae Menor, Divina Menor, Mr. and Mrs. Rizal and Mila Fernandez, Mr. and Mrs. Eddie and Nena Bueno, Atty. and Mrs. Rafael and Elizabeth Alimbuyogen and Jun Bermisa. (Lei Adriano)
By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff reporter

LAOAG CITY—Filipino migrants from the island paradise of Hawaii found their way back home to promote Ilocano culture as they entertained students through songs, dances, poetry and theatrical play rolled into one. 

Held at the social hall of the Mariano Marcos State University-College of Teacher Education in Laoag City, Gladys Mae Menor, president of the Calayab Association Hawaii Chapter who served as guest of honor during the 12th GUMIL (Gunglo Dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano) Ilocos Norte Convention and Literary Seminar on February 17 said it’s always been an honor to give back to the Ilocanos back home and help them appreciate our local culture which is very unique to the world.

As one of the advocates of Ilocano culture and traditions in Hawaii, Ms. Menor urged the youth to take pride of their culture and identity as an Ilocano. 

Ilocanos still remain as the biggest Filipino migrants in Hawaii, the first destination of overseas Filipino workers in the United States. Most of them were petitioned by their forefathers who worked as plantation workers locally known as Sakadas over 100 years ago.

Record shows that of the total 62,366 Filipino migrants in Hawaii during the period 1998 to May 2005, about 31,346 were from the Ilocos region or about 50 percent of all Filipino migrants in Hawaii during that period. The Filipino population in Hawaii is now estimated at 300,000, or 15% of Hawaii’s total population.

In fact, the University of Hawaii has started offering basic Ilocano course since last year to increase reading comprehension, develop linguistic skills in Ilocano and promote the appreciation and awareness of the Filipino culture.

Like in other countries who are promoting their own languages, Ms. Menor also lauded the Department of Education in its effort to implement the Mother Tongue-Based Multi-lingual Education program in which children’s mother tongue is used in the classroom as bridge in learning other languages such as Filipino and English.

In the form of songs, dances, poetry, bukanegan, kinnantaran, and sarsuela unique to the Ilocanos in the early years, performers from Hawaii led by Ms. Menor and Rizal Fernandez, in his capacity as president of the Gunglo Dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano (GUMIL) based in Oahu took the center stage of the MMSU-CTE social hall to the delight of the young audience, giggling over funny anecdotes only true-blooded Ilocanos could relate to. 

Like Sherynyl Gaspar, 17, she said it is her first time to watch kinnantaran and drama in Ilocano which she described as “amazing.”

“It’s funny, educational and entertaining. I hope to see more of these because I enjoyed watching with my friends,” said Ms. Gaspar. 

According to Mr. Fernandez, members and officers of the GUMIL Oahu composed of mostly professionals from various fields always find time, after a long day work, to meet with the group and do rehearsals in they have a scheduled event. 

Unlike when they perform in Hawaii where they sell tickets pegged at $25 to fund their charity programs and goodwill mission in the Philippines, the February 17 cultural show for the students here were provided free, with a complimentary lunch and snacks courtesy of the group.  

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