These last three weeks had been the longest and most frenetic of my life as a trying hard tri-media man.
Plus or minus my pretense at the theatrical and some upcoming film project, first with students of my modern Philippine film class at the university and then some wild commercial screenplay projects that have begun with some wild stories of immigrant life--this project so wildly existing in the head, the weeks had been a bundle of joy that today, I fulfilled yet again a guest hosting job at Radio KORL 1180 AM's "Nagmamahal sa Iyo" by Susan Domingo Bald, with today's topic centering on love and its complexities.
As in the previous co-hosting job for three Sundays (Feb 11, 18, & 25) in a row with Danny Agsalog's "Anggulo," that tackled a variety of issues bordering on the comic and the light side of Philippine American life, today's show with Susan was fun--and only fun it could be, with calls coming from a diverse group of listeners.
Susan and I had fun riposting questions and granting the listeners their request that I recite one more time my love poems, the request from two of the callers who are the topnotch decision makers of the Dingrenios Association, a solid group I should say, with no less than their mayor Dr. Modesto Castro flying in from Dingras, Ilocos Norte, to crown the three muses of the grand coronation last February 23, the night before the Fiesta Ilokana and Amianan that we put together at the Philippine Consulate General on Pali Highway.
In Honolulu, Hawai`i, you have no way to go except to become a party animal, which probably explains that there is not much time left in the hands of writers because of the many community activities that they go during weekends.
Many of these social gatherings are worth going into if one were to look at how communities are built from gatherings like these, the gatherings solidifying relationships, contacts, and networks.
As part of the advocacy strategy of the Ilokano and Philippine Drama and Film Program which I coordinate, I cannot miss occasions like this, and in my exchange with Dr Raymund Liongson of the Philippine Studies Program of Leeward Community College of the University of Hawai`i, Charlene Cuaresma of the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training, and Helene Manzano of Domestic Violence Clearinghouse and Legal Hotline, things are clear in terms of our community involvement--a direction that Dr Liongson is also taking, bringing the academe to the community, and not just simply waiting for the community to come to the hallowed halls of the academe.
I told Dr Liongson: "Our duty is to commit our programs to the people. Our duty is make our programs available to the community."
And so I began my other writer's already dedrazzled self: to be a radio broadcaster and always using such a radio broadcast as the launching pad to educating our people more and more about the urgency of preserving and sustaining the heritage language of all of our peoples, in the Philippines, in the diaspora, and among the ranks of our "hapas"--our mestizos--and our local borns.
My having been a coordinator of a language and heritage program has given some kind of a perspective that is privileged, affording me data and facts and ideas and vantage points that are not readily available to everyone. I can only thank the gods for this privilege.
While coming up with the finishing touches of my own radio show that, I think, I will name as "The Philippine American Radio Show," with segments highlighting the diversity of the cultures and languages of the homeland and the evolved cultures of the immigrants kailian, and delivered in three langauges initially, I thought and thought a lot about the future of the hapas and the local borns in our midst.
My concern is not whether these hapas and local borns will have the boldness and daring to accept their multilayered identities in a spirit of renewed communal vigor.
MY concern is how much space is given the hapas and local borns to questions themselves, their own sets of purposes, their dreams of making it big somewhere beyond these islands. The island fever is not a myth but an ugly reality for those who have the means to unwind even in workdays.
I liked the phoned in request for me to recite my love poems, and I thought that I was prepared, with pieces I drew from two collections I put together way back in the 90s, with only two copies left in my collection because I must have distributed the low-budget books to friends, free of charge of course when they acted as if they were the last poor person on earth like me.
The books are "Rugso dagiti Panawen ti Risiris" and "Derrep iti Panawen ti Dangadang."
In the poems, I talked about love in its earnest, its joys, its pain. I talked about love in a loud and proud voice, in a soft and modulated tone, with passion in the heart remaining in there, with passion in the soul, also remaining in there. Some samples:
Mano nga isem ti subad ti pananglangan
iti panaginnaddayo sagpaminsan
dagiti balikas a naglaon
kadagiti maubon-ubon nga ayat?
Pagbalinenta a sagrado a salaysay
ken awanan-gibus a sagawisiw
ti agpatnag a darikmat.
Mapuypuyat met ti rabii...
I am going multipartite now: the radio, the print medium, the stage. I wrestled with Manang Pacing Saludes so now I am directing the komedia at the Waipahu Intermediate come March 31. Let us see how far we can go.
God, I did not know I can summon all the energy! In a couple of weeks, I might formally start my radio program on early Sunday morning, one program meant to push ahead with our advocacy for heritage language and culture and for all other causes linked with Philippine American immigrant issues.
For those with that incalculable savviness in internet technology around the world, you can log on to www.korlam.com. Hear me guesting on Sundays, 12-2PM, Honolulu Time.
See you on radio.
A Solver Agcaoili