A view of the pinanggang sugbuanong banayBy madrilena de la cerna
Cebu Daily News
Coordinating and hosting the 5th Memorial Lecture of Pinanggang Sugbuanong Banay at the ILC Room of UP Cebu on July 20 was challenging and fulfilling. Challenging because a week before the memorial lecture, the Library building which housed the Conference Hall, the original venue of the lecture, was ordered vacated due to several cracks in the beams. We could not bargain for one week delay of the evacuation because the building was beyond repair. The alternative venue (I chose the ILC or Interactive Learning Center) provided a more intimate and friendly atmosphere though it could accommodate only 95 people. The photo exhibit was not a problem because the lobby of the Undergraduate building was just the right venue.
The Memorial Lecture is part of the monthly recognition of the 75 families of distinction of Cebu City hosted by the different universities of Cebu. This is where the recognized families share their contributions to the development of Cebu City. I have attended the previous four memorial lectures but the fifth memorial lecture was different in many ways. First of all, the role of the master of ceremonies greatly matters. Prof. Aurelio Vilbar, High School Principal of UP Cebu was a very good host, full of wit and humor in introducing or reacting to the presentations, soliciting reaction and interaction to each presentation and providing very smooth transition of the different parts of the program. The presentation of the five families through their representatives were varied in format, very personal yet informative, humorous and serious. The presenters stuck to the agreed time allotment of five minutes per presentation except for the del Rosario video presentation which was more than five minutes but did not drag the whole lecture. The reactions of two faculty members and four students that followed the presentations were revealing and thought-provoking. Dr. Rhodora Bucoy pointed out the invisibility of the women in most of the family contributions which prompted some of the presenters to add the colorful participation of their women. Citing the various origins and status of the families, she made an interesting conclusion that the history of Cebu City is not just the history of the burgis and the middle class, it is also the history of the masa. Prof. Henry Espiritu observed that the families’ contributions to the development of Cebu City are in the context of national history. He proposes that all the knowledge gathered from the presentations not just be contained in the coffee table book which eventually will come out in February 2013 but be indigenized and accessible to every Cebuano especially the young ones. I heard that the K to 12 curriculum for Social Studies in Grade Three is on Local History which is a perfect period for a child’s education especially with the early feedback that the use of the mother tongue from Kinder to Grade Three is very effective. We appreciate the reaction of the students. Clarissa Degamo, a fourth year political student of UP Cebu, pointed out the examples of self-reliance and resourcefulness of the families recognized in July which was the theme of the memorial lecture. She quoted Juan Inocian from the photo exhibit, “Magkugi ug magdaginut aron molambo.” (Work hard and save in order to prosper.) She also cited that from puso making, the Church, politics, governance even the defense of the country’s freedom – all these the families helped develop. She was elated that the wives and mothers, sisters and daughters were referred to in sharing in the struggles of their husbands, sons, father or brother. She recognized the “ importance of recognizing these families who have been resourceful enough to have stood through the test of time and epitomizing a family that extended itself beyond the corners of their homes to the community in which they reside.” She ended with a challenge not only to those who think they are able but also to those who just need a little “push” to continue what was started and developed by the pinanggang Sugbuanong banay, by not wasting opportunities for development of the city. Different ways, different origins and activities but we all have the same goal – to develop the pinanggang Sugbo. From the mouth of babes, we hear “Let’s continue to inspire. When we inspire, we give hope. By giving hope, we are building dreams and by building dreams – we shape our destiny.” It was a pity that very few students could attend the memorial lecture because of the limited venue.
The greatest difference that the July Memorial Lecture made was the use of Cebuano all throughout the program – from the invocation which was a Cebuano song for the Blessed Virgin, the Cebuano version of the pambansang awit by Jess Vestil; the message of Mayor Michael Rama; the welcome remarks of UP Cebu’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Dr. Ritchelita Galapate; the rationale of Diamond Core Group Chairperson, Dr. Lourdes Jereza; the presentations of Architect Socorro Borromeo Atega (for the Borromeo family), Msgr. Achilles Dakay (for the Dakay family), the video presentation by Mr. Manuel del Rosario (for the del Rosario family), Atty. Raymond Garcia (for the Garcia family), and Dr. Reynaldo Inocian (for the Inocian family); the intermissions which were Cebuano popular songs, the reactions of the two faculty members and four students from the Social Sciences Cluster of UP Cebu, and the hosting of the whole program. No one sounded awkward while speaking in Cebuano. It was an interesting experience because it disproves what Dr. Francisco Nemenzo, former president of the University of the Philippines and a Cebuano, used to say that we Cebuanos speak Cebuano only when we are joking and shift to English when we talk about serious matters. That is no longer the case.