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2nd Suguidanon conference tackles integration of Philippine epics in K-12 curriculum

After a successful initiative of foregrounding the Panay Suguidanon (Epics) in 2013 and holding the 1st National Conference on the   Suguidanon (Epics) in 2014, UP Visayas took the next step through the 2nd National Conference on the Suguidanon (Epics) of Panay. The main purpose of the conference is to build on the wealth of knowledge in and about the epics of Panay by bringing together scholars, community workers, and local chanters in an effort to propagate Panay epics and other Philippine epics.

With the theme, “Integrating the Suguidanon (Epics) of Panay and other Epics of the Philippines in the K-12 Curriculum,” this year’s conference gave emphasis on the relevance of the epics integration to the enhanced basic education curriculum held at the UPV Auditorium, Iloilo City campus on December 10-11, 2015. 

UPV Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension, Dr. Ricardo Babaran, who opened the conference, emphasized the objectives of the two-day conference especially the need to link the Suguidanon of Panay to the K-12 curriculum as well as to build the network of scholarships and community outreach particularly in the context of performative and expressive culture. 

The conference objectives are 1) to bridge the learning modules  of the Schools of Living Tradition and/or local communities with the development of the curricula of academic institutions and the Department of Education ; 2) to develop young scholars  who will help  build  the network of  scholarship and community work in support of the Panay Bukidnon  performing and expressive culture, particularly those related to chanting; 3) to create awareness among the academics, inculcating in them the value of recognizing culture and living traditions as essential learning tools; 4) to build linkages between the Panay Bukidnon and other indigenous communities and institutions like the academe, the government, and NGOs for the harmonious production of knowledge that will make the most of local literatures such as the Suguidanon (epics) in the educational curriculum; 5) to relate and  compare the Panay epics  with the other epics of the country and generate links with the other epics of the world; and 6) to integrate  the Suguidanon and other epics of the country in the K-12 Curriculum. 

In his message, UPV Chancellor Rommel A. Espinosa pointed out the importance of embracing the Panay Bukidnon culture and its relevance to the K-12 curriculum and the importance of institution of support for similar endeavors. 

Dr. J. Neil Garcia, Director of the UP Press, gave the keynote speech. Garcia said with 160 excellent book titles that they have published since he assumed office as the director of the UP Press in 2011, “without a doubt among the titles that I’m proudest of are the books that we are featuring here today. The product of decades of painstaking research and translation work by a team of researchers from the UP Visayas—admirably headed by Professor Emeritus Alicia P. Magos—this epic series marks a singular moment in the history of Philippine publishing, for it presents in textual form the irreplaceable wisdom and communal lore of the Panay Bukidnon people. This is the first time that such a substantive oral corpus has been recovered, transcribed, translated into three languages, and subsequently published, in our country.” 

Garcia also spoke on the role that Suguidanon plays in the K-12 i.e., how storytelling can be an approach to teaching and learning, as well as the use of mythopoeia or the creative appropriation of folkloric materials as examples of how myth intertwined with creativity. 

He also read one of his mythopoetic retellings coming from the Panay Bukidnon entitled “The Legend of the Seafoam.” It features the characters of Tungkung Langit and Alunsina, the primordial conjugal couple in the primordial Visayan world. 

The keynote speech was followed by the launching of two new books, Amburukay and Derikaryong Pada. The books were turned over to Chancellor Espinosa, VCRE Babaran Prof. Emeritus Dr. Alicia Magos as well as to Panay Bukidnon representatives Federico and Romulo Caballero. 

Magos, the chief researcher and senior translator of the epics, expressed gratitude to the University for the support to her efforts in documenting and publishing the Suguidanon epics, which were the product of almost 25 years of her arduous research. 

There was also an opening of the exhibit that featured the influential and powerful women in Suguidanon by the students of the University of San Agustin. A cultural show was also held. 

The two-day conference featured18 papers, four creative works, and one panel discussion, which talked about the integration of the Suguidanon in the K-12 curriculum, the epic’s potential as resource for teaching, as basis for referencing, and calls for the development of materials that are culturally sensitive and age appropriate as well as promotes teacher effectiveness and their ability to negotiate between in their own culture and that of what is embodied in the text.  Some presentations also discussed the epic’s adaptation into other genre types, which can be used as resources for discussing regional literature, use of eclectic approaches to promote cultural awareness, and the use of Suguidanon to contextualize lessons in measurement. There was also a discussion on the ethno-mathematical protocols and procedures on some selected tinubok patterns of Panay Bukidonon could be used as context and illustrations in certain lessons in high school mathematics, among others. 

The conference was organized the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension through the Office of the Continuing Education and Pahinungod (OCEP).   

A Suguidanon character cos play by the students of the University of San Agustin and Central Philippine University at the Bike Lane, Sen. Benigno Aquino Avenue on December 5 complemented the conference activity. Furthermore, a Suguidnon maritime exhibit on “Ang mga Buyong kag ang Ila mga Barangay sa Suguidanon” was also opened at the John B. Lacson Maritime University Maritime Museum on December 9, 2015.

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