MAS LINGAW Gyud sa KBNZ” was adopted as the slogan of Katilingbang Bisaya sa New Zealand when I took over the leadership of the organization from long-time Auckland resident Rosendo Menchavez. And fun it has been.
Other than the usual fellowship activities, we’ve been involved in fund-raising drives for the calamities in the Philippines, as well as helping out Filipinos in New Zealand who seek financial assistance due to unforeseen tragedies.
But what I find most enjoyable is the celebration of Semana sa Pinulungang Binisaya.
Like last year, we spread in one week programs the propagation of Bisaya Language, especially among the children and youth.
On Monday (Sept 9), we focused on garay/balak, followed by Bag-ong Huning Binisaya on Tuesday. Our focus is to encourage the creation of new poems and songs in Bisaya.
On Wednesday, we had members submit personal comedic experiences in Katawahahaha. We even had a short film festival, which we called “Bangga sa Pelikulila” that also featured a one-woman drama performance by Tessie Baclay.
Baclay used to voice the lead characters of popular radio soap operas like “Flora del Cielo,” “Sa mga Mata ni Angelita” and “Suginlan Ko Ikaw.”
On Friday we had a sort of media forum among members in a program called “Hisgot-Hisgot” chaired by Elmer Cerna. We tackled the following issues: “Should the Bisaya Language be used by Bisaya families in New Zealand in their dining table?” “Should pork barrel be abolished?” “Should the Philippines seek the help of the US in the event China occupies Spratly Islands?”
The culminating event happens today September 14 in PinakaPasundayag where the winners in the different competitions will be announced.
They are expected to showcase their winning pieces in between performances of traditional Bisaya songs, original Bisaya compositions and a tribute to Max Surban whose music tickles Bisaya-speaking Filipinos throughout the world.
Finally on Sunday, we will have a Misa Pasalamat attended by parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes Glen Eden. Fr Mario Dorado, OFM has been kind enough to allow us to sing one Bisaya song (“Kay Kita Usa Ra”) during the mass. After the mass, we shall serve snacks to all churchgoers.
I do know that the Cebu Provincial Government organizes activities during its founding anniversary, but I am not too sure if there is an officially designated “Semana sa Pinulungang Binisaya.”
If there isn’t, I propose that one be designated every second week of September. If Bisaya-speaking people in New Zealand observes such, wouldn’t it be more relevant to Bisaya speakers in the Philippines?