(Note: This is by way of sharing this commitment to claim and reclaim ourselves as Ilokano immigrants in the United States. My vow when I started to hold the reins of running the only Ilokano Language and Literature Program that leads to the bachelor's, the minor, and the certificate, is to honor the Ilokano ancestors and people by always speaking in public gatherings in Ilokano, with a translation in English on the screen, on a simultaneous presentation to the audience.

This experimentation was--is, indeed--a risque, but risque I took in stride, with always the Ilokano in my mind.

Some have reacted strongly for this boldness and daring, and some even told me, "Hawai'i ditoyen, barok!/This is Hawai'i already, sonny boy!"

I would always invariably end up pitying some of our kailian who pass themselves off as 'somebody' else but who, in reality, are 'nobody' because they cannot even claim themselves. And some of those who have this stride, this boast, this swagger, are Ilokano writers themselves--or those pretending to be one. Have mercy on us!)

Iti nagan dagiti adalanmi iti Ilokano Language and Literature iti Universidad ti Hawai`i iti Manoa, iti nagan dagiti amin a manursuro, iti nagan ti komunidad dagiti Ilokano ken taga-Amianan, iti nagan dagiti amin a Filipino a mangipatpateg iti kannawidan, kananakem, ken kulturada, padanonendakayo amin iti daytoy a taripnong.

Ikarimi ti maysa a nakalallalagip a padas iti daytoy nga aldaw gapu ta daytoy a selebrasion ket maysa met a pananglagip iti kabaelantayo a mangitandudo iti kinaasinnotayo, kabaelan a beggang met laeng iti awan patinggana a panangirupir kadagiti kalintegantayo a kas tao, a kas komunidad, a kas tao ken komunidad nga addaan iti kabukbukodan a wagas tapno maawatantayo no ania ti bugas ti biag.

Iti baet daytoy a panagraragsaktayo, adda naigamer a liday iti kada garakgaktayo.

Ta numan pay iti daytoy a pabuya ket ginandattayo nga ipakita ti agdadata a kinadakes nga adda iti kinaranggas iti taeng, maysa manen a kabsat ti adda ita iti morge tapno iti kinaagmaymaysana a kas nalamiisen a bangkay ket maipalagip kadakayo ti moral nga obligasiontayo: ti pananggibus kadagiti kakastoy a pasamak, ti pannakakettel ti kakastoy a kinaranggas. Daytoy ti gapuna nga iti daytoy a fiesta dagiti tularamid ken iti pannakaipabuya kadagiti video, sinanamakami—sinanama ti sibubukel a programa ti Ilokano iti daytoy nga Universidad—a saanton a maulit daytoy a kinaranggas iti taeng.

Ibulonko iti panangpadonmi kadakayo ti panangirakurak nga idatonmi met daytoy a pabuya iti sibubukel a komunidad tapno iti kasta ket maibatimi ti maysa nga adal maipapan iti kinapateg iti ammo maipapan iti kanser ken salun-at. Malappedan ti panagwaras ti kanser iti selula ti tao no nasapa pay makitan daytoy.

Ibatik ti maysa a paripirit: nga agpada a kanser iti gimong—iti komunidadtayo—ti kinaranggas iti taeng ken ti sakit a kanser mismo.

Sapay ta ibati daytoy a program ti maysa nga adal: nga amintayo ket addaan iti obligasion tapno magibusan dagitoy a parikuttayo iti kagimongan.

Dumanonkayo amin, apo—ken kasta met a naimbag a bigatyo amin.

A Way of Welcoming

In the name of our students in the Ilokano Language and Literature Program of the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, in the name of the members of the faculty, in the name of the community of Ilokanos and the peoples of Amianan, in the name of all the peoples of the Philippines who value their customs, consciousness, and culture, we welcome you all to this gathering.

We promise a memorable experience today because in this celebration is that remembrance of our ability to take pride of who we are, our ability that is at the same time the very ember of the fire of the endless, relentless struggle to fight for our rights as people, as a community, as a people and as a community that has its own ways of knowing the meaning of life.

In the midst of our merrymaking today, there is sorrow in our laughter.

Even if in this presentation we aimed to show the evil in domestic violence, there is one sister in the morgue that, in the aloneness of death as a cold cadaver, we are reminded of our moral obligation: the ending of incidents like, ti snuffing out of this form of violence. This is the reason why in this festival of dramas and the showing of videos done by our students, we are hoping—the whole Ilokano Language and Literature Program of this University—that no incidents like this one is going to happen again.

With our welcome goes out announcement that we offer this festival to the entire community s that we could leave behind a lesson on the merit of cancer and health awareness. The spread of cancer cells in the human body can be stopped if the diagnosis is done early.

I end with a revelation: that both domestic violence and cancer as a sickness—are social cancers—in the community.

We do hope that this program will leave a mark on all of us: that all of us are obligated to put an end to all these problems we have in our society.

Welcome to all of you—and good morning to all of you as well.

(Opening remarks, 2007 Drama and Video Festival of the Ilokano Language and Literature Program, U of Hawai`i at Manoa, November 17, 2007, Honolulu, HI)

A Solver Agcaoili
Nov 17/07, Hon, HI

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