‘Lungsod na pinagpala, Kidapawan: Kasaysayan, pamahalaan, paniniwala, at tradisyon’ by Ferdinand Bergonia: A Review

Bergonia, Ferdinand L. 2004. Lungsod na pinagpala, Kidapawan: Kasaysayan, pamahalaan, paniniwala, at tradisyon. Kidapawan: City Tourism Office.

The historiography of Kidapawan begins on very shaky foundations with this pioneering work on North Cotabato’s capital and only city.

The book is encumbered by a host of problems that cannot help but frustrate the reader keen on learning more about Kidapawan. The first problem perhaps is its language: the whole book is written in standard Filipino. This choice of medium at once alienates readers (reading Filipino to the uninitiated reader, like this one, is an unwelcome throwback to days when Filipino teachers forced us to read Rizal in Tagalog) and proves inauthentic to the locale’s linguistic situation (even the mother tongue of ethnic Tagalogs in Kidapawan is influenced by Cebuano or Hiligaynon).

It takes us back even further against our will to our classroom days with how textbook-like it is written. With its overview-style sections on the histories of Mindanao and the province of North Cotabato and the sector profiles of Kidapawan, the book reads like those textbooks that made ‘memorization’ a bad word for students, as they laboured over them in elementary Sibika and High School Araling Panlipunan.

The book has general overviews but lacks detailed and crucial discussion of facts. It has for instance a list of mayors of Kidapawan, but there is no talk of the state of Kidapawan during each mayor’s term. This is particularly frustrating when it is evident an interesting story lies behind each mayor’s career. There are tergiversations, for example between Alfonso Angeles Sr. and Emma Gadi in the 1960s, but there is not even any mention of their rivalry in the book. And between 1976 and 1980 there was a sectoral government headed by Cesar Sabulao, but there is no explanation about the circumstances surrounding this arrangement (though one suspects it has something to do with the unrest of the Marcos years).Like our textbooks it reads like it has just enough information so teachers can quiz their students about it.

(This review is in Ateneo de Davao’s Tambara, Vol 32, Issue 1 (2015). To read the rest of the review, get a copy now! Or read it on Academia.edu! )

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