SEDUCTIVE, romantic and seemingly flirtatious are the words produced by the curves of the tongue brought about by the eloquence of the Bisaya language. It’s not just because thoughts are more comfortably expressed through the vernacular but because Bisaya gives a different flavor and a different take on the mix of humor and romance to the usual poems consumed. After all, these balak (poems) more than what they are known for are little pieces of the author’s mind about Visayan culture and the Cebuanos in general.
In line with the appreciation of the native language, a back-to-back book launch is scheduled to happen tomorrow, Aug. 9, 6:30 p.m. in Palm Grass, The Cebu Heritage Hotel with Far Left and Bathalad publications presenting Adonis Durado’s Pahinungod sa Di Hingtungdan and Josua Cabrera’s Sa Bukid sa Mahayahay.
Josua Cabrera’s Sa Bukid sa Mahayahay is a poetry book with his illustrations. These illustrations were paintings which he has previously exhibited in a show. The story speaks of a romantic yet cynical take on provincial love ruined by circumstances. The illustrations begin with very bright and playful colors with the characters’ clothes remaining white as a symbol of purity and later on evolving with hues of a darker contrast with the characters’ clothing beginning to gather colors as innocence is tainted.
“The title used to be Talikala, which has a negative vibe to it because Talikala/Tanikala is a booklet one can find during the Holy Week which contains the sufferings of Christ. The literal meaning of Talikala is a chain, link or bond, an iron shackle. It is quite negative but I contrasted it and made it look very light. In the story I wanted to portray the provincial type of courtship with the Harana and the kind of pure love. Their environment got destroyed and at the same time their relationship was weakened. The lady had to leave for the City and the man got dragged away by a flood,” said Josua.
The ending was worded in this way, “Ang kang Undong pahiyum maglutaw-lutaw sa panumduman sa panahon. Ang kabukiran, buwan ug bituon, igo na lang handurawon,” which means that the beauty of the province and their love only remain to be imagined because they both are now far from each other.
Adonis Durado’s fourth book entitled Pahinungod sa Di Hintungdan (To Whom it May Not Concern) is a poetry book containing balak with their respective English translations. The book can be flipped over depending on which language the reader would prefer because the translation is in the other side of the book, and the poem and their translation have the same corresponding pages.
“The reason I asked other writers to translate it to English is that I go abroad and I have friends there who are also writers. So the only way I can promote Cebuano is for them to be able to read my balak. But if my balak is in Cebuano only, they will not be able to appreciate it. So I prefer for my works to have English transations even if they are not perfect. Because these books we have today, for example Tolstoy, his books have gone through hundreds of translators, even Shakespeare’s works, if not for that we won’t be able to read them,” said Adonis.
His books are translated by other writers from whom the author asks the favor of translation and he respects the way they understand his poem. In his perspective the translations create a different facet and a different understanding. In addition, the book is categorized into four sections as explained by the author himself.
“Alang sa dili Katuo—is all arse poetica, these are poems about poems; these poems talk about balak. The second section Alang sa di Kalitok—these are poems playing with the language; Nakatilaw na ba ka’g tagam? Naligsan na ba ka’g mirisi? Alang sa di Kangisi—these are humorous poems and Alang sa di Katakos—provides an ambiguous idea which somehow points to something that cannot be weighed or someone not chosen. It is here where the theme starts to get serious,” said Adonis.
The cover is a realistic painting by internationally acclaimed artist Marvin Natural which exhibits a bold and honest commentary on Cebuano humor.