Personal Correction on Leoncio Deriada’s Pigpen

I would like to make a statement on how I have been promoting, teaching, and talking about Leoncio Deriada’s short story ‘Pigpen.’

It is one of the stories I most often recommend, and when I was teaching literature it was always on the reading list (as expected it has always been well received by students, even those who would otherwise be apathetic to literature). I wrote a very juvenile review of it sometime ago on this blog.

Throughout those activities, and most especially in my teaching, I had often emphasized one interpretation of the story: that the main character Inocencia, who had sexual intercourse with her own father Purok, was a willing party to the act and was led to it by her longing for sexual activity in the rural isolation of their home. As one of my students in PWC so memorably put it, ‘kay kettle man.’ I emphasized the tension between subconscious carnal urges and the cultural norms that are upheld on the level of the ego.

I regret doing so.

While it is true that Inocencia had to deal with the latent urges brewing within her (‘she was beginning to desire a man,’ to quote the story, ‘any man.’), I was foolish to have failed to notice the dynamics of power between her and her father. Parents will always occupy a subconscious position of power over their children, even adult ones, a power dynamic deeply embedded in human psychology. This is why incest between parent and child is always rape. Purok took advantage of his influence as parent and of his daughter’s own frustrated urges to coerce her into something she would have, without the pressures, vehemently refused. This is evidenced by how distraught she is later at what she had allowed herself to do.

Purok raped Inocencia, and this story shows how complex a matter rape can be.

Inocencia was exploited  She never refused, but it is victim blaming to read silence as consent. She was silenced. She was put in a position not only in which she could not refuse.

But no means no, even when it is not said.

And then she was led to believe that she wanted it. Inocencia was reduced to her urges, her rational will was disregarded, and she was objectified. She is a victim.

I regret possibly having played a role in reinforcing a culture of misogyny and victim blaming. I sincerely hope that my former students, upon careful reflection, will realize too that what I had taught them was wrong.




Anime to Watch: Golden Kamuy

Image result for Golden Kamuy

A recent anime title that everyone should check out is Golden Kamuy

Based on the Manga series by Satoru Noda, Golden Kamuy is set in cold Hokkaido just after the Russo-Japanese War of 1904, and is about a young but veteran soldier, Sugimoto. In Hokkaido he encounters a tangled web of conspiracies and plots involving a large heap of gold hidden by the Ainu, the serial killer who killed the Ainu and hid it, a faction in the local detachment of the army hoping to get hold of the gold to fund a coup, the prisoners on whose bodies the serial killer tattooed the map leading to the gold (among them the now elderly but no less deadly leaders of the legendary Shinsengumi), and a young Ainu girl, Ashirpa, whose father was among the Ainu murdered because of the gold.

Image result for Golden Kamuy

As is evident, it is a series with a delightfully convoluted plot (and all that at just 13 episodes so far). It is something fans of macho silliness and gutsy action would enjoy. If you liked the Briggs Arc in Fullmetal Alchemist, you will love this series (the two series share many animation staff).

Related image

This is from FMA, but it may well be from Golden Kamuy too

But the strength of Golden Kamuy for culture-nerds like me is the rich anthropology in it.

Soup made with Anemone, Butterbur, and Ostrich Fern (See this study)

The series celebrates Ainu culture in detail: Ashirpa introduces Sugimoto (and the viewer) to lots of Ainu cuisine, customs, and beliefs, and there are lots and lots of Ainu dialogue. I relish at the trivia on how to make squirrel meatball soup, but even better is the sight of battle-worn Sugimoto so delighted at every new thing Ashirpa introduces to him. Frankly it’s adorable.

He’s still composed here

Anime has always been used for tourism and cultural appreciation (more than half of Detective Conan’s episodes have the characters solve a crime in some tourist destination), but this is the first time I’ve seen a deliberate effort to use it and promote awareness about a cultural community, one of the most marginalized in Japan.

Golden Kamuy’s first season just ended, catch it before the second season (which airs in October) comes out!

Kidapawan History in the Philippine Historical Association Annual Conference



I will be presenting a paper on Kidapawan history in this year’s annual conference of the Philippine Historical Association.

The conference will be held on 20 to 22 September, with the first two days in the GSIS Museo ng Sining and the last day in the National Museum of Natural History, both in Metro Manila.

See the PHA blog post on it for more details.

The paper I am presenting, ‘Origins of the Toponym of Kidapawan: A Re-evaluation,’  is a catalogue of extant proposed etymologies to the name of Kidapawan, debunking the official ‘tida pawan’ version. To my knowledge it will be the only paper to be presented that deals with Mindanao tribal history.

I am not the only one to present  a paper on Kidapawan history, however. Christian Jay G. Jarabe will be giving a paper on the history and economic contributions of the Ilonggo settlers in Onica. I am looking forward to his paper most.

I will also be in Manila to conduct research in some of the capital’s archival repositories. Not only are major documents most likely to be in Metro Manila, all the best books on anthropology are there too.

This barbarian will have to go to the civilization to be able to write Kidapawan’s past.

Molingling: A Translation from Monuvu to Davao Filipino

(It’s been an annual tradition on this blog for me to celebrate Buwan ng mga Wika by translating literary works. I usually translate poems and works of short fiction to Davao Filipino, in my efforts to dignify the unique hybrid of Tagalog and Cebuano in Southern Mindanao.

This year I make one translation for the month, but this time the source is in another Filipino language, Obo Monuvu.

I translate here the legend of Molingling, as recounted by the late tribal source Tano Bayawan, from his original Monuvu to Davao Filipino.

Bayawan’s account of the legend is as it appears in the 2005 book A Voice from Mt Apo, edited by Melchor Bayawan and translated to English with annotations by Ena Van der Molen, published by the Summer Institute of Linguistics. It is a remarkable book. one of the best books I’ve bought in decades. It is a detailed record of the Monuvu culture related by sources from the tribe itself – it is to date the most authoritative source on the tribe’s culture. As someone who grew up in a town which is traditionally Monuvu domain, it is invaluable. The book turns out to be available online! You may also contact the Summer Institute of Linguistics for hard copies!

The Davao Filipino here is not entirely a translation from Monuvu, I relied heavily on Van der Molen’s English. I am trying to learn Monuvu, and this is an attempt to get a better grasp of it, so this is much less a translation and more an exercise in language acquisition. Van der Molen’s English can be read in the book, and I have chosen not to include it here. I have nevertheless chosen to include some of her annotations where they add to information on the translation. 

The legend of the incestous Molingling that appears here is one of many versions that are told among the tribal peoples in the Greater Kidapawan Area. I know of three other versions: one recorded in Gabriela Eleosida’s 1961 graduate thesis at the University of Manila (sourced from Limpayen Guabong and in which Molingling’s name is ‘Parayan’); one recorded in Marilyn Jara’s 1997 graduate thesis in the Ateneo de Davao University (with sources in Amas); and one recounted to me by Datu Basinnon Ebboy of Meohao last year.

Eleosida’s recorded version says the sister (who is named Badbaran) turned into a crocodile, and the place where the siblings lived turned into a lake which disappeared but instead gave its name to a baranggay in Kidapawan (this could only be Lanao).

In Datu Basinon’s version, Molingling simply became an eel, and swam in every river except the Saging river, which is considered sacred as the Onitu bathe in it.

Van der Molen (or more likely Melchor Bayawan) makes a note on Tano Bayawan’s version which resembles the version Jara records: ‘In other versions,’ the note goes, ‘the story of Molingling continues after he is transformed into an eel, travelling around from place to place turning people and places into lakes. He is finally deceived by a spirit, transformed into a shrimp, killed, and subsequently eaten by the Tagabawa and Diangan which, in effect, inoculated them against the curse of the anit.’

There are bound to be other, unrecorded variations passed down the tribal families in the Kidapawan area. It is my pleasure to make one version available here.)



Tano Bayawan

Ingkon ini1 si Molingling2 woy si Kobodboranon, tootobboy. Si Molingling mama no kakoy en ni Kobodboranon, woy id oubpa sikandan diyot Kuaman. Si Kobodboranon oraroy no molihonnoy woy moogod no molitan no waa  en od  ko-iingan to kolihonnoyoy rin  ka-ay’t intiru’t ingod. Na, ini mandan si Molingling, mosandog sikandan no mama. Id inguma kos timpu nod kopiyan don sikandin nod osawa, no iyon id kopi-i rin no ba-ay iddos iling taddot tobboy rin no molihonnoy woy moogod. Duwon don ini si Molingling id pomuhawang nod ipanow sud nonangkap tod osawan din.

Ganito si Molingling at si Kobodboranon, magkapatid. Si Molingling ang lalaki, kuya ni Kobodboranon, at nakatira sila sa Kuaman. Si Kobodboranon  maganda at masipag masyado, na walang makatapat sa kaganda niya sa buong (intero ng) nundo. Na, ito man din si Molingling, gwapo siya na mama. Nagdating ang panahon na gusto na niya (ni Molingling) mag-asawa, at gusto niya maghanap ng babae na kasing ganda at sipag ng kapatid niya. Kaya ayon si Molingling nagplano na mag-alis para maghanap ng asawahin niya


Na kahi rin ki Kobodboranon to, ‘Ka-ay ka pobbe-en Kobodboranon sud ipanow a pa, od nonangkap a pa tod osowan ku. No otin dii a od pokokita to ba-ay no iling to kolihonnoyoy ru, dii a vo od uli,’ kahi rin.

Kaya sabi niya kay Kobodboranon, ‘Paiwan ka dito, Kobodboranon, kay mag-alis ako, maghanap ako ng asawahin ko. Pag hindi ako makakita ng babae na kasing ganda mo, hindi ako mag-uwi,’ sabi niya.


Na, id ipanow si Molingling sud nonangkap to osawan din taman en to asow rin don od kolingut kos intirut ingod, no waa poron en sikandin nokokita to osowan din. Ungkay man sud uli ron nanoy sikandin, ondan mat nokokita sikandin to ba-ay no oraroy en no molihonnoy. De-en id poroniyan din woy id ikohiyan din to, ‘Na, sikkow ron kos ba-ay no id nonangkap ku, su nolingut kud inis ingod piro waa a poron en nokokita to id kopi-i ku nod osowan, solamat su nokita ku sikkow, na od po-osoway kid moho.’

Na, nag-alis si Molingling para maghanap ng asawahin niya hanggang sa halos malibot na niya ang buong (intero ng) mundo, pero hindi (wala) pa rin siya makakita ng asawahin niya. Tapos nung malapit na sana siya mag-uwi, sakto nakakita siya ng babae na maganda masyado. Kaya gilapitan niya at gikausap niya ito, ‘Na, ikaw na ang babae na ginahanap ko, gilibot ko na itong mundo pero hindi (wala) pa rin ako nakakita ng gusto kong asawahin, salamat at nakita ko ikaw, mag-asawa na tayo.’


Na kahi tat ba-ay to, ‘Oran be-en kos od diiyan sud kopiyan a me-en mandad kikow.’

At sabi ng babae, ‘Tapos pano din ako magtanggi diyan na gusto man din kita.’


Te, ondan be-en to id tandang kos allow to kandan no kosaa. Ungkay man su asow rok allow to kosaa ran no notobbangan si Molingling tat od osowan din su nolibmit sikandin tat ba-ay. De-en, nokopomuhuwang si Molingling no dii rin dod ponoyunon od osowan iddos ba-ay, id uli moho sikandin diyot kandan.

Te, ang nangayari tapos nun kay gisabutan ang araw ng kanilang kasal. Tapos nung araw na ikasal na sila, natabangan3 si Molinglingling sa asawahin niya at nadamakan4 siya sa babae. Ayun, nakadesisyon si Molingling na hindi niya ituloy (ipadayon) na asawahin itong babae, at nag-uwi na lang siya sa kanila.


To kod-inguma rin diyot baoy ran, id ituu rin tat tobboy rin iddos langun no notomanan no waa nokita rin no mongovay no iling to kolihonnoyoy tat tobboy rin. Duwon man kun nanoy piru notobbangan sikandin su nolibmit tat ba-ay. Na mid ikahi si Molingling to, ‘Kobodboranon, moppiya pa od porumannoy ki od undiyot oweg to Tinananon su od pomolihus ki woy’d pomippi woy piyoddow ikos mga kesay.’

Pagdating niya sa kanila, gisabihan niya ang kapatid niya na wala siyang nakita na babae na kasing ganda ng kapatid niya, meron man sana pero natabangan siya at nadamakan sa babae. Tapos sabi ni Molingling, ‘Kobodboranon, mabuti pa magpunta tayo doon sa sapa ng Tinananon para maglaba at maligo, dalhin mo yung mga malong.’


Idda ve-en ko ungkay iddos mgo batu nod pongkokita riyot Tinananon no duwon mgo tinobbilan no patow idda ongki Molingling. To riyon don sikandan to oweg, od ko-olihan don moho si Molingling tat tobboy rin. De-en kokahi rin tat tobboy rin no si Kobdodboranon to, ‘Siketa ron moho baling kos od po-osoway.’

Hanggang ngayon may mga bato pa na makita doon sa Tinananon na may mga tinobbilan5 na lakra nila Molingling. Nung nandon na sila sa sapa, na-akit si Molingling sa kapatid niya. kaya gisabihan niya ang kapatid niya na si Kobodboranon, ‘Tayo (kita) na lang kaya ang mag asawa.’


Te, idda re-en pooyukoy ron sikandan. Podtuuy mandad so idda re-en no timpu, tigkow ron id mosukirom kos ingod, id kokilat woy id pomaansi. Na, id doppot iddos kaamag woy id dunnas kos doorakkon uran no iling to timbovakaa nod pokotaddu riyut bolivuran no Molingling. Na kosi Molingling ki Kobodboranon to, ‘Ngilam ka su od lonawon ki, panoypanoy ka sud paahuy ki.’ No-oseng de-en ni Molingling idda no id dadsang kos dakkoon baansi. No-oddisan dan tat baansi su idda re-en nokosuhat to dakkoon tungonnu. To id paahuy ron sikandan, od loloupuhon dan don en to baansi. No riyot inoyyuhan dan nounow ron iddos id oubpan dan.

Te6, doon mismo nagtalik sila. Sa sandali din na yun, bigla na lang nagdilim ang mundo, nagkidlat at nag-dalugdog. Tapos nanghangin ng malakas at mga kumagko kalaki na ulan ang nahulog sa puyo ni Molingling. Nagsabi si Molingling kay Kobodboranon, ‘Abtik ka kay bahain tayo, handa ka kay mag-alis tayo.’ Natapos lang  sabihin ni Molingling yun nung biglang nagdating ang kalaking dalugdog. Natamaan sana sila ng kulog7 pero ang natamaan kay malaking puno. Habang nagatakbo sila, ginahabol talaga sila ng kulog.  Ang lugar na kanilang gitirahan kay nahanaw na.


Ungkay man su ud inguma ran don diyot oruwon daama no nokodtimbang, na kosi Molingling to, ‘Na duwon ki en od ukit to tongannan duwot oruwon daama, Kobodboranon.’ To riyon dan don to tongannan, od lipiton dan don nanoy tat oruwon daama, kosi Molingling to, ‘Kobodboranon, ngilam ka sud lipiton ki to daama,’ piru kosi Kobodboranon to, ‘Tukoggow to poondag du,’ Na gulari to id tukog ni Molingling dos poondag, no nosesse re-en moho ini. De-en kosi Molingling to, ‘Tukog du kos kikow’n souroy.’ Id tukog ni Kobodboranon kos souroy rin, de-en waa ran noponayun tid lipit tat daama, woy id ponayun dan don id ipanow. Na, idda ve-en ko-ungkay kos ngoranat Monsouroy diyot oweg to Tinananon. Na, ponayun inis dakkoon uran woy bansi piru dii ran me-en od kosuhat su duwon man suku ni Molingling.

Ngayon pagdating nila sa may dalawang talampas na naga-harapan, nagsabi si Molingling, ‘Na, diyan tayo magpasok, sa gitna niyang mga talampas, Kobodboranon.’ Pagpasok nila sa gitna, halos ipitin sila ng mga talampas, nagsabi si Molingling, ‘Kobodboranon, ingat ka kay maipit tayo ng talampas,’ pero sabi ni Kobodboranon, ‘itukog mo yang poondag8 mo.’ Na, pagtukog ni Molingling sa poondag niya, napisa lang ito. Kaya sabi ni Molingling, ‘Itukog mo yang suoroy9 mo.’ Pag-tukog ni Kobodboranon ng Suoroy niya, yun bakit hindi (wala) na nagpatuloy (padayon) ng ipit ang mga talampas, at nagptuloy (padayon) sila ng alis. Kaya ngayon ang lugar na yan ang ngalan kay Monsuoroy10 sa may sapa ng Tinananon. Na, nagpatuloy ang mga malaking ulan at kulog pero hindi sila matamaan kay may Suku11 man si Molingling.


Na kosi Molingling no, ‘Kobodboranon, od uli kid diyot baoy.’ Na laggun tod ipanow sikandan nod avoy re-en do uran woy kaamag, Na id oseng iddos Inanit to, ‘Pomon to nosaa ka man, Molingling, no od tombunan ku sikkow to mgo batu.’ Dam be-en no-uug iddos mgo batu no iling to korokolloy to baoy sud tombunan en sikandan. Dam en mandad ponongkisa ni Molingling iddos mgo batu. Idda ve-en so taman ko-ungkay duwon sopuun toriyas no paanan dobbe-en batu no id ngoranan don ungkay to Kaakaa. Na ungkay man su riyon dan don to koko-unnan, id iomolloy ran diyot tebbeet oweg. Kosi Molingling to, ‘Kobodboranon, od oimolloy ki pa su novolloybolloy ad.’

Tapos nagsabi si Molingling, ‘Kobodboranon, mag-uwi tayo sa bahay.’ Na, habang nagalakad sila pauwi nagpatuloy ang ulan at hangin. Tapos nagsalita si Inanit12, ‘Dahil nagkasala ka man, Molingling, tabunan kita ng mga bato.’ Tapos nun, nahulog ang mga bato na kasing laki ng bahay para tabunan talaga sila. Pero pagkatapos nun kay nahampas palayo ni Molingling itong mga bato. Hanggang ngayon may sampung topiyas13 doon sa lugar na puro bato na ang tawag Kaakaa. Tapos kay nakauna na man sila, nagpahinga sila sa may tabi ng sapa. Sabi ni Molingling, ‘Kobodboranon, magpahinga tayo kay gikapoy na ako.’


Ingkon inis Gamowhamow pomon to dii me-en od koso-utan to Inanit onsi Molingling su duwon me-en pongallang dan no idda es suku, id ballig moho iddos Gamowhamow to kosili. Id loppow sikandin diyot linow woy id totongko ki Molingling, kahi rin to ‘Molingling, ko-ungkay no allow od kovatun kowd, siyak en kos id popiyod to ko-unturan nod popoudtulon kikow.’

Ito naman si Gamowhamow14 dahil hindi mahabol ni Inanit sila Molingling kasi may Suku siya, ginawa ni Gamohamow ang sarili niyang kasili. Naglutaw siya sa ibabaw ng linaw at gikausap si Molingling, nagsabi, ‘Molingling, ngayong araw kay kuhain kayo palangit (kovatun15 ), ako ang gipadala galing sa unturan16 para sabihan ka.’



‘Tee17,’ kosi Molingling, ‘od gaaw ka ron moho, ingkon don mak sinolimbaa?’

‘Tee,’ sabi ni Molingling, ‘nagabiro ka lang, asan man daw ang sinolimbaa18?’


Kahi tat kosili to, ‘Asow ron en od lonna, na kuo kowd me-en panoypanoy su ko od lonna ron kos sinolimbaa, lukas dow robbo tod untud. Piru,’ kahi tat kosili to, ‘Lumbag du pa ikos suku ru su dii ka od kovatun ko duwon ika, su diid kotanggap diyot ko-unturan kos minuvu no duwon suku.’

Sabi ng kasili, ‘Magdating na yun, kaya maghanda kayo kay pagmagdating ang sinolimbaa makasakay lang kayo. Pero,’ sabi ng kasili, ‘Ilumbag19 mo yang suku mo kay hindi ka kovatun kung meron ka niyan, kay hindi ginatanggap sa unturan ang mga tao na merong suku.’


Na kosi Molingling, ‘Ko ungketen baling, id lumbag kud inis suku ku, osaa bonnaa. Waa ka id aakaa?

Sabi ni Molingling, ‘Kung ganon pala, ilumbag ko itong Suku ko, basta totoo lang yan. Hindi ka nagaatik?’


‘Tee,’ kahi tat kosili, ‘lukut kowd me-en su asow rod poko-untud kos allow, saddook od kotonanan kow.’ Too, dan don be-et id lumbag don ni Molingling dos suku rin.

‘Tee,’ sabi ng kasili, ‘bilisan ninyo kay magtaas na ang araw, baka maiwan kayo.’ Too20, tapos nun gilumbag ni Molingling ang Suku niya.


Na kahi tat kosili to, ‘No-okalan ka, Molingling, ko-ungkay od kovauy kad no kosili.’ 

Na, sabi ng kasili, ‘nauto ka, Molingling, at ngayon gawin ka nang kasili.’


Dan don be-en tid dakkoo iddos oweg id gommow riyot id imooyyan onni Molingling. Tee, worad sikandan nokopaahuy su worad man iddos suku ran, no nounow en iddos id oubpan dan pomon tat dakkoon oweg. No si Molingling novauy ron no dakkoon kosili no idda ron en ko-ungkay so od tommanon dan no toorawi. Iddon linow, idda ron be-en ko-ungkay sa dakkoon linow riyot Gonatan nod ngoranan to linow’n Molingling.

Kaya ang nangyari sunod nun naglaki ang sapa sa patag kung saan nagapahinga si Molingling. Tee, wala sila nakatakas kay wala na man ang suku sa kanila, at nahanaw ang kanilang ginatirhan dahil sa malaking (tubig) sapa. Si Molingling naging malaking kasili na ngayon ang tawag kay Toorawi. Yung linaw, yan ngayon yung malaking linaw sa Gonatan21 na ang pangalan kay linaw ni Molingling.


  1. Vander Molen’s note: Ingkon ini, literally ‘where this.’ Here it functions as a typical formulaic opening of a traditional Manobo narrative
  2. Vander Molen’s note: Molingling: ‘a person who brings others to ruin’
  3. Notobbangan: from ‘tabang,’ ‘tasteless,’ literally ‘he lost taste in her.’
  4. Vander Molen’s note: nolibmit, literally ‘made dirty.’ According to tradition, one day Molingling was watching the young lady pound rice while she had her younger sibling on her back. While pounding rice to feed the family, she fed some of it to the child. To eat ahead of others is considered a very bad character trait in Manobo culture.
  5. Tinobbilan: I could not find a good translation in either Tagalog or Cebuano for what Vander Molen renders as ‘checkered design.’
  6. Vander Molen’s note: Te: the speaker uses this exclamation particle as a rhetorical device both to denote disgust at the incest and to point the listener to what will happen to the protagonist next as a result of this action.
  7. Vander Molen’s note: According to the Manobo worldview, it is thunder that strikes a person, not lightning
  8. Poondag: A long bamboo flute with five holes, the longer of the two Monuvu flutes (the other being the Lantuy). It is now rarely seen
  9. Souroy: A zither with six strings made out of a large bamboo cut the length of three hand spans. It is usually played by women. Melchor Bayawan describes the Poondag, the Souroy, and other instruments in A Voice from Mt Apo
  10. Vander Molen’s note: Monsouroy: a village near the Tinananon River in Arakan, Cotabato with two cliffs facing each other. A strip of land believed to have been the souroy instrument of Kobodboranon connects these two cliffs. When someone walks on that land an echo can be heard like the resonance from a souroy
  11. Suku: a magical stone that protects its owners from divine punishment brought about by committing a taboo. Romeo Umpan has a lengthy account in A Voice from Mt Apo on the Suku stone.
  12. Inanit: the onitu (spirit) in Monuvu cosmology who punishes taboos with lighting and thunder. The name derives from ‘anit,’ ‘taboo.’
  13. Topiyas: I do not know if Vander Molen’s translation of this as ‘hectare’ is accurate
  14. Gamowhamow: the female onitu who watches of those fishing, who owns the rivers and who provides fish.
  15. Kovatun: I feel that the word is untranslateable
  16. Unturan: Vander Molen renders this as ‘the peak of heaven’
  17. Vander Molen’s note: an exclamation that denotes intense surprise and disbelief
  18. Sinolimbaa: a recurring motif not only in Monuvu folklore, but in the legends of many tribes in Mindanao. Its name ranges from Salimba, to Sarimbar. In Manobo and in some other tribes it is a floating boat (Vander Molen renders it here as ‘airboat), while in others it is a giant pendulum with a golden, cage-like end woven like rattan and on which the hero is expected to hop on to reach heaven.
  19. I could not figure out what ‘lumbag’ means, so I have left it untranslated. Vander Molen renders it as ‘pitch.’
  20. Vander Molen’s note: Too, an interjection made by the speaker denoting ‘take note of what happens next.’
  21. Vander Molen’s note: Gonatan: A small town located in Northeast Arakan, Cotabato Province, at the edge of the Tinananon River. This is said to be where Molingling ended up because in the middle of the lake, the remainder of the posts believed to have been his house can still be seen today. In that lake small fish have been caught there with their eyes where their tails should be, a sign of the curse of anit afflicted on Molingling. These small fish are said to have formerly been cockroaches in Molingling’s house that were subsequently transformed into small fish. If accidentally caught by someone fishing in this lake, these fish are thrown back. If they are eaten, the person will get the curse of the anit.


My Historical Timeline of Kidapawan History in the City Gym!


As part of the celebrations of Kidapawan’s 71st Foundation Anniversary (no I haven’t problematized that date yet), the City Government opened an exhibit which features a timeline of the city’s history. I prepared the timeline, while the City Tourism Office’s Oliver Legaspi and Angeline Lim prepared the visuals.

And what glorious visuals they were.


The Introduction I wrote for the exhibit






The exhibit was a project of the City Culture and Arts Promotion Council. It is the second time they have a very visible exhibit during the town’s August festivities (last year it was an exhibit of old pictures). It will be in place until the end of this month.



Like last year’s exhibit, this year was also well received, with students, teachers, and all kinds of people walking in to take a look.


Vice Mayor Jun Piñol, a fan of local history, also takes a look at the exhbit


It was particularly a pleasure seeing members of the Monuvu tribe come and look at the timeline. They saw what an important role their ancestors played in the city’s history.



While the exhibit was launched, several copies of a History Primer I wrote (and also designed by Oliver Legaspi) were also given away for free. The Tourism Office printed a hundred copies. All copies were gone for less than three hours.

I am particularly proud of this accomplishment because most of the facts displayed in the exhibit and in the primer were long forgotten: the electoral dispute between Emma Gadi and Alberto Madriguera, the land grabbing from the Monuvu in Perez, the massacres of Moros during the Marcos era.


The mass grave of 15 Moro civilians killed by government elements in Brgy. Patadon in the 1970s. an unrecorded massacre. I am still gathering data on this and other such Moro civilian massacres in Kidapawan

In many of these cases, the mere fact that the historical event was publicly displayed was itself a major step towards correcting historical injustice. This was particularly the case with the Moro massacres.

For the past year or so I’ve been spending most of my days poring over archival documents and sources, talking to respondents, and writing down what I could to slowly, slowly finish this comprehensive history of Kidapawan. It is almost always tedious, and there are rare moments when it is glamourous.

This exhibit’s launch was one of them.

I get published Internationally!

My review of Mindanao Harvest 3 (edited by Christine Godinez Ortega) came out in Asian Cha!

You can read my review here.

Mindanao Harvest 3 is a collection of folk tales from Mindanao retold for a modern audience by an eclectic mix of literary writers and researchers. It is one of the few attempts made so far to make Mindanao’s endemic narrative traditions more accessible to the general public.

Asian Cha, which is based in Hong Kong, is an online journal which publishes literature and art from and about Asia. It has an international readership, and receives submissions from dozens of countries.You can read more about them here.

My review came out in a special issue focusing on the Philippines, edited by Eddie Tay and Tammie Ho with Ricardo de Ungria and Larry Ypil.

This review is my first international publication. Getting published outside the country is hardly easy for a Mindanawon writer, but I am hoping this won’t be the last