Pinang and Istoy, A Translation to English of a Poem in Hiligaynon by John Iremil Teodoro

(The following poem, originally written in Hiligaynon, was written by my Iyas panelist Prof. John Iremil Teodoro. Teodoro is one of the leading writers in the Western Visayas languages of Hiligaynon and Kinaray-a. The poem was shared by Leoncio Deriada to members of Ateneo de Davao’s SALEM during an informal coffee shop session. In its simplicity, the poem succinctly captures Philippine domestic realities.)


Si Pinang kag si Istoy
ni John Iremil Teodoro

Samtang si Pinang
nagalangoy sa lalabhan,
si Istoy iya
nagalangoy man sa isa
ka pitsel sa serbesa.

Kag kon gab-i
samtang ginapasuso ni Pinang
ang ila agot,
nagasuso man si Istoy
kay Sharon
nga masahista sa Aldeguer.

Sang akon ginpamangkot si Pinang,
ahay, husto lang magtulontulon
sang iya mga luha.



Pinang and Istoy
by John Iremil Teodoro

While Pinang
swam in her laundry basin,
her Istoy would be out
swimming in a
pitcher of  beer.

Then, at night,
while Pinang breast fed
their youngest baby,
Istoy would be suckling
on Sharon
the masseuse at Aldeguer

When I would ask Pinang about it,
ahay, all she would do is swallow
her own tears.


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