The Waray People as depicted in literary writings
- A Preliminary Survey of Waray Poetry” by Ma. Luz C. Vilches discusses the nature of the Bisaya (Leyte – Samar in habitants) as observed and reported by Fr. Francisco Alzina, a Spanish Jesuit who did missionary work in Leyte and Samar for forty years in the seventeenth century. It gives an account of how Fr. Alzina tried to understand the nature of the Waray people by analyzing their language. The latter found that the name Bisaya, if derived from the language of the people means a happy man , good tempered and pleasant. In the same article, Vilches mentions the acquiescence of Daroy that, indeed, the Waray people are carefree and sybaritic, which is greatly substantiated by many practices that are still existing in contemporary Waray society. For example, after a day’s work during weekends, Waray men, and even women, gather together to drink tuba, to tell funny stories and to sing to the accompaniment of a guitar. Vilches, further explicates the Warays’ enthusiasm in celebrating fiesta’s and other feast-making activities which they enliven by staging plays, and sponsoring amateur singing contests and elocutions in verse. Vilches also emphasized that among the Warays, these celebrations and merry-makings are the occasions to express thoughts and sentiments in metaphoric language through poetry and songs which may be indicative of the people’s literary talent.
- Another writing entitled “Ancient Bisayan Literature, Music and Dances” (1982) by Cantius J. Kobak further discusses Fr. Alzina’s observations of the Waray people’s literature, music, musical instruments, songs and dances as recorded in his Historia de las Islas de Bisayas…. 1668. He mentions that among the poetic compositions and songs, Alzina describes the ambahan, the bical, the siday, the anogon, and the awit. Then, in treating the stories and epics of the people, he mentions and describes only two: the sareta or susumaton and the posong. He also mentions that it is very regrettable since the given examples of these stories and epics are in summary form and in Spanish translation. Furthermore, he explains that these ancient poetic forms, songs, stories, and epics revolved about love and war.
- Victor N. Sugbo in his essay “Humor in the Plays of Iluminado Lucente” deduced that Iluminado Lucente, being one of the better known playwrights in Leyte and author of some thirty plays, never formally wrote his principles of aesthetics of the theater but summed up what he considered dramatic art in a preface to a play “An Duha nga Sportmen” which he had dedicated to his friend Vicente Quintero. He said that in his play he did not only intend to arouse laughter and amuse the audience, but that deep in the play is a lesson for his fellowmen. Sugbo also surmised that humor is a significant element of Lucente’s art which to him was a means of unmasking the hypocrisy of society and the evils of the world.
- “A Historical Survey of the Lineyte-Samarnon Zarzuela” (1990) by Clarita C. Filipinas discusses how the playwrights, their plays and the theater served as the vehicles of entertainment and even information dissemination prior to the development of cinema and the introduction of electronic devices in our country. The theater mentioned here refers to the dramatic presentations on open-air makeshift stages built by the townspeople or barriofolks in plazas and/or enclosed spaces sometimes used as gymnasiums and cockpits. She also mentions that through these people were kept abreast of the socio-economic, political, cultural, historical, moral and religious issues of the time. The theater reflected these, and brought them to the people during festive occasions, both those inherited from ancestors and those introduced by the colonizers. One such occasion was the celebration of fiestas to honor patron saints, another May festival or the Santa Cruzan, mostly participated in by young adults and children. Filipinas further purports that these occasions were instrumental in the development of theater in our country in general, and in Leyte and Samar in particular.
- Furthermore, in another writing in Leyte-Samar Studies entitled The Cultural Context, Filipinas discusses the immense entertainment provided by the komedya or hadi-hadi which gave the Lineyte-Samarnon playwrights opportunities to translate or adapt Spanish or Tagalog romances or scripts in Waray. Although it touched on the conflict between the Muslims and the Christians and the eventual conversion of the former to Christianity, the hadi-hadi or komedya provided a fantasy journey into the lives of kings and queens through fabulous costumes, mock fights and duels, giants, and beautiful stage scenery. She also explains that the hadi-hadi or komedyabayanihan spirit of communal cooperation was inculcated.
- Filipinas further names the playwrights worthy of commendation because of their efforts in dabbling on the hadi-hadi or komedya. These were: Pedro Acerden who wrote Floresto, Flordeluna and Flordecante; and Pedro Separa who wrote Princesa Isabel. Another noteworthy playwright was Genersoso Nuevas who directed and acted in a hadi-hadi before writing plays.
- Siday or poems were among the first to be translated. Such poems as An Hubog (The Drunk), An Maabugho-on (The Jealous Lover), Ngay-an Ha? (Really?), and Ha Can Maria Santisima San Pagsaca sa Langit (To the Most Blessed Virgin Mary on Her Assumption to Heaven) , written by anonymous writers and retrieved and translated by Salvador Mondragon, were among those published in a weekly magazine Eco de Samar y Leyte (Vilches, 1982, 65) which was an official publication of the Diocese of Calbayog, Samar circulated from 1911 to almost 1940. These were known as Mga Siday Ha Eco de Samar y Leyte (Poems From Eco de Samar y Leyte) which were mostly lyric poetry that captured the interest of the people and became the expression of their lives, mirror of their preoccupations and the embodiment of their general worldview.
- Mga Siday ni Iluminado Lucente (Poems of Iluminado Lucente) such as Mga Kasamdong (Sad Thoughts), Mabalik Pa Ba? An Kabatan-on, An Paglaum, (Will It Come Back? Childhood, Hope), An Higugma (Love), Ha Pangpang Han Daguitan (By the Bank of Daguitan) were also translated by Victoria S. Salazar. In these poems, Lucente, urges a realistic view on the notions of love, hope, and youth in relation to time. (Vilches, 1982, 74)
- Other Waray literary enthusiasts such as Andres K. de Veyra, Rita Quiloña, Gregorio Luangco, among others endeavored to translate into English patriotic and nationalistic Waray poems of poets Casiano Trinchera, Francisco Alvarado and Vicente I de Veyra as well as some Waray folk songs.
- Furthermore, Andres K. de Veyra translated Agustin El O’Mora’s Leyte, Puro Han Kasiyahanan ( Leyte, Isle of Firsts), a musical-dramatic presentation of the crowning of a queen who reveals the hidden treasures of the province of Leyte from the beginning up to the recent times, written and provided with lyrics and music.
Waray Researchers on Waray Writings…
- Corazon C. Maye, in her study entitled A Study of the Women Characters in Eighteen Zarzuelas of Iluminado Lucente (1968) reported thus: The zarzuela was introduced in the Philippines by the Spanish in the hope of providing wholesome entertainment to the people. The intellectual Filipinos, seeing the huge crowds that flocked to see the zarzuelas, promptly decided to use such plays as a vehicle for expressing their protest against the injustices of the colonial masters. The patriotic theme later on gave way to social themes. Maye also found out that the themes of the eighteen plays revolve around one great topic: love of country, and its corollaries: preservation of native customs, traditions and mores, and cultivation of the native language. She concludes that Lucente presents his countrywomen’s weaknesses, not to hold them out to the ridicule of other people, but for their own entertainment, that they might laugh and , laughing understand themselves better. Furthermore, she concludes that to drive home his themes, and delineate his characters more effectively, Lucente frequently used exaggeration and satire. His female audience might at first have taken his melodrama as pure entertainment, but the more discerning of them certainly discovered later, and perhaps to their chagrin, the subtle attack upon their own faults and shortcomings, their own follies, hypocrisies and pretensions.
- Nenita G. Tamayo, in her study entitled Selected Leyte-Samar Proverbs as Found in the Divine Word University Museum (1976), translated into English and systematically grouped these Leyte – Samar proverbs. Tamayo concludes that except for the proverbial comparisons, the Leyte-Samar proverbs generally lend themselves to literal translations which, nevertheless are pregnant of rich allusions and varied interpretations. She further concludes that by their highly metaphorical language and power to compress, in a single brief phrase, the wisdom of an age, these proverbs are obviously poetry in prose. And as such, they easily appeal to the readers’ sense of humor. Finally, translated into English, the proverbs assuredly will cater to the leisure of a wider public.
- In the study, Educational Elements of Selected Folk Songs of Tacloban City (1968), Aurora T. Gozo, who gathered songs which are still sung by the people of Tacloban, transcribed these songs into musical notations, translated the lyrics into English and determined the educational implication of these songs, finds that the rich content of the songs fell under the following headings: Love of Country; Parental and Filial Love; Nature Songs; Love Songs, Christmas Songs and Miscellaneous songs. Gozo concludes that the lyrics are greatly revelatory of the character of the Leyteño: his tender feelings for family and country; his closeness to and concern for the things of nature; the quality of his imagination; and his virtues and defects. She further concludes that the varied content of the folk songs and their pertinency to certain objectives of education make them excellent supplementary educational material and that their use in the classroom will: (1) provide pupils an insight into their culture and develop in them an appreciation for it; (2) cultivate in the pupils “refined” nationalism; (3) inculcate in them ideals of good manners and right conduct; and (4) engender in them an appreciation for nature and beauty.
- Esther G. Anota, in her study, A Search for Identity in Edith L. Tiempo’s “A Blade of Fern” and “His Native Coast” (1985) , attempted to find out how the theme, a search for identity, is dramatized in each novel. She found out that the novels of Tiempo and her dramatization of the theme, a search for identity, are characterized by the following elements: the portrayal of the ‘search’ is complete in that the author makes connections between the character’s problem of alienation to the necessary solution of this problem to the moment of realization and to the acceptance of self or return by giving meaning of each stage to the whole life of the searcher; the novels are affirmations of life because these portray life in its reality during those years; the novels present the comparison between living in reality and in illusion, but that the author lets her characters bravely face reality and accept the self so that they are strengthened against the odds of life which provides an end to the journey motif which is usually followed by any searcher for personal identity; and that the theme became coherent and meaningful through the artistic manipulation of the plot structure and the devices or techniques used in characterization.
- Myrna D. Kuizon, in The Romantic Vision in F Sionil Jose’s Waywaya and Other Selected Short Stories (1984), dealt with delineating the romantic vision through character analysis in F. Sionil Jose’s Waywaya and other selected stories as well as discussing the romantic elements in character portrayal and relating these to a continuum of human experience. Her study revealed that on the surface the Waywaya and other selected stories depict a variety of pictures in contemporary Philippine set-up which, when viewed without depth and dimension seem to be realistic. It also revealed that these said literary pieces do not only treat the external nature of things but also the serious and internal levels of understanding; and that being romantic stories, they treat of the unplumbed depths of the human heart, the problems of life, the educated native torn between his gratitude to a benefactor and loyalty to his people, the unsearched vacuum of the soul of man, and the self-made man exposed to the temptation of easy living. Moreover, the study showed that the characters in the stories clearly delineated the romantic vision of life for they are abstract projections not reproductions of the concrete and are not copied reportorially from particular persons, and that the motivations for their actions are in consonance with their personalities. It revealed further that the author displays an evident skill in the handling of the language and the arrangement of incidents as well as enriched the stories with images by appealing to the imagination and the emotion of the readers.
- Similarly, in A Critical Analysis of the Love Stories of Julie Yap Daza (1988), Yolanda Holares Abregana aimed to describe, analyze and evaluate the seventeen short stories contained in the book, The Love Stories of Julie Yap Daza. Her analysis focused on the elements of fiction namely, plot, character, theme, and point of view.
Abregana then concluded that Julie Yap Daza is one of the country’s promising fictionists whose short stories certainly deserve more attention because of their potentials for literary merit and that as a modern short story writer, Daza is to be appreciated for her individual skill in writing and uniquely handling her stories which makes up the true literary merit of her works. She further concluded that Daza uses childhood and adulthood experiences in all their varieties and dimensions making her characters come alive effectively in the reader’s imagination as they are placed in a well-detailed setting and react to believable events in a convincing way. Moreover, her themes are relevant, significant and universal; and her works mirror realism in the sense that she portrays life objectively.
Source: Belinda’s Master’s Thesis