WEB AND WEAVE: Why Few Writers of Iluko Literature? (Part I)

Writing With
Being the “Bible of the North,” Bannawag continues to serve the
Ilokano writers and readers alike. This institution has carved its
name among the Ilokano folks, writers and subscribers as it outranks
other publications like Sirmata, Rimat (has ceased its operation)
among other media outlets. This implies that the real testing ground
of Ilokano writers is their ability to have their works see print in
this widely patronized weekly magazine.

Membership. Nearly
all respondents of this study (n: 57) hinted that they are members of
the National Ilokano Writers’ Guild of the Philippines, simply
called GUMIL Filipinas. However, since the academe is groomed as the
production outfit of future writers, nearly one half of the
respondents (n: 26) are linked with school publications. Other
writing groups like PEN International, Pluma ni Bukaneg and Timpuyog
Dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano (TMI) have their unique membership among
the writers.

This implies that the Ilokano
writers have become global; do not only confine themselves to Iluko
writing but also in Filipino and English; hence they affiliate
themselves to some prestigious international writing organizations.

From the table, it is interesting to note that the Ilokano writers
excel in so many literary contests. They did not only win once, but
twice and even more. Side by side with their literary counterparts in
Manila and Visayas/Mindanao, Ilokano writers invaded the prestigious
Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature and Talaang
Collantes/Ginto, even contests in the Internet like RFAAFIL, Premio
Andel and others.

This implies that these literary
contests, in support of their culture, have greatly favored the
Ilokano writers to hone their skills.

Personal Assessments,
Viewpoints of the Ilokano Writer-Respondents

reflected in the table, only six Ilokano writers (9.50%) do write
children’s stories as compared to those who do not (65.10%). This
implies that this writing genre is not attractive to the writers
themselves with various reasons presented in the same table.

Volume of
Published Stories.
of the six writers, two or 33.33% each publish children’s stories
with varying volume, ranging from little to many. This affirms the
earlier finding that said genre is not pleasant to them. Hence,
there is dearth of Iluko children’s literature/stories.

Reasons for
not Writing.
dearth of Iluko Children’s literature is precipitated by a myriad
of factors such as time (12.70%), limited knowledge (12.70%) and
marketability (11.10%). Many seemed not interested and ignorant or
unable due to their specialization. However, others still considered
it as something worth venturing.

This implies that writing
children’s literature is not a viable enterprise among the Ilokano

Judgment on
the Quantity of Iluko Children’s Literature.
affirm their earlier nonchalant attitude toward writing children’s
literature, most of the respondents (42.90%) claimed little quantity
of published Iluko children’s literature and 22.20% judged it to be
very little. This implies that there is really a need to strengthen
this writing genre. Non-doing of it is tantamount to more
disadvantages to future Ilokano readers especially the young.

It is gleaned from the table that
the culprit lies among the Ilokano writer’s selective writing and
compounded by the publisher’s intolerance. This is an affirmation
of their earlier declaration that this deficiency or ‘malaise” is
an offshoot of many intervening factors. Two lucid negative effects
of this dearth of Iluko children’s literature are the readers (
read: the children) accumulated ignorance and non-familiarization
of their unique culture and worse, cultural indifference. This could
support the claim of several scholars that children of Ilokano and
Tagalog parentage speak Tagalog at home, not Iluko even though they
are residing in the dominantly Iluko-speaking provinces.

A very worse scenario that may
happen if there is continued non-writing of Iluko children’s
literature by the Ilokano writers is the declining interest of
children in reading and writing which may sooner evolve the early
demise of the Iluko literature and/or language.

This therefore implies that the
advent of so many computer generated games, internet service
providers even makes the scenario a real thing to happen. If that
happens, it’s not only the Ilokano children who will suffer, but
also our young populace all over the Philippines who would be totally
alien to our cultural identities.

(To be continued)