Friday, September 3, 2010

magdalena jalandoni

My first encounter with Magdalena Jalandoni was during a field trip we had in my elementary years. We were toured in her house by Ms. Ofelia Jalandoni, her only niece who was her caretaker in her old age until she died and now the guardian of her memory. That two hour encounter when I was twelve years old left a lasting impression on me that throughout the years whenever I would pass her house (now a museum) at Commission Civil I would remember the stories about her with great fondness. One story happened when “Lola Ina” as she was fondly called, was twelve years old. During the night of the belasyon of a relative, an arrogant young man challenged the ladies present in the wake to an exchange of binalaybay. One of the ladies would say something in binalaybay and it will be answered by the man, and they would do so alternately until one surrenders. After an hour or so all the ladies present surrendered and the man was beaming with pride. It was then that ladies remembered Magdalena who came to convince Francisca, the mother of Magdalena to send for her. The mother woke up the twelve year old Magdalena who had just recovered from chicken pox. With hair unkempt and with a face mark with blisters she was made to face her arrogant opponent in a duel of binalaybay. The man laughed at her sight and Magdalena sensing that she was being belittled straightened up and sent out the first salvo of words, in exact meter and rhyme. The fight went on until the early hours of the morning until the man surrendered and went away down-faced defeated by a twelve year old.

The second time I encountered Magdalena Jalandoni was when I was in Theology when I chose for my study in Christology her work, the Siete Palabras. It was there that I encountered her no longer through anecdotes but first hand, through her work - a work that for many years had sent people to tears whenever this was read on Good Friday. She would describe in beautiful poetic Hiligaynon the scene at Calvary as though she was there herself when Jesus was agonizing on the cross. The description was so detailed, so picturesque that it would take her a paragraph or two to describe the dark cloud looming above the cross.
That was Magdalena Jalandoni, foremost Hiligaynon poet and prolific writer who, as Ms. Ofelia Jalandoni describes, writes as “easily and as naturally as if she was breathing air, whose words gush forth as water flows in a waterfalls, unimpeded and unobstructed and in torrents.”
Magdalena Gonzaga Jalandoni was born on May 27, 1891 at dawn in her parent’s house on former Alvarez, now Benedicto Street, Jaro, Iloilo City. Her parents were Gregorio Jalandoni and Francisca Gonzaga. Her father Gregorio was the Directorcillo of Salog when he died at 25 years of age. Magdalena had an only younger brother Luis who later married Amelia Benedicto Ledesma , also of Jaro.
Her formal schooling started in the school of Clemente Gonzales and his wife Donata. In June 1902 she studied at the Colegio de San Jose where she was a day boarder, and in 1904 she entered the same school as an enterna. She wrote her fist corrido “Padre Juan and Beata Maria’ at the age of ten, and “Don Juan Gonzaga” also a corrido at the age of twelve. Later on she wrote “Lucibar and Portivillar”, “Principe Recaredo” and Heneral Manfredo.” Her mother brought these corridos at the La Editorial Publishing House where these were printed and sold to the public.
On November 6, 1906 she entered the Iloilo High School. She stopped her studies after the first year because her mother did not approve of co-education and just stayed at their home where she wrote in her native tongue.
At the age of sixteen she wrote her first novel “Ang Mga Tunok sang Isa ka Bulak” which she finished in December of 1907. She did not have the work published right away because she was by nature shy and was reluctant to be known to the public. Since then however, she wrote steadily and produced a great number of novels, short stories, poems and dramas even though her mother prohibited her from writing admonishing her  that it was not proper for a girl to dedicate her time to writing. Instead he daughter should learn all the work done by women inside the house. However, despite this prohibition her works were consistently published in La Panayana, and other papers in Ilongo before the outbreak of World War II. 
Francisca also advised her to marry a good hardworking man, but Magdalena had a different man in mind as regards her would-be husband. He must not only be a very handsome man but he must also possess the soul of an artist. The only person who approached her ideal man was the hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Magdalena never found him among those who courted her and thus she remained single for the rest of her life.
After the war, Magdalena continued writing novels in rhyme and meter, novels in prose which were also published in the Iwag and Hiligaynon publications. Later several universities took notice of her works and decided to collect them. Now her works are kept in the University of the Philippines in Diliman and in the Visayas, the Ateneo de Manila, the Universities of Iloilo and San Agustin, the Universities of Syracuse and Yale in the United States and in the National Library.
The writer died on September 14, 1978 at the age of 87. At the time of her death she had written a total of 66 volumes composed of 24 novels, long poems, dramas, historical epics, translations, meditations, poems, her autobiography, a bibliography of her works and many other literary pieces. The author lost twenty novels during the second world war when these were burned inside the Archbishop’s Palace in Jaro where she kept them.
During her lifetime she had received many awards recognizing her contribution to the enrichment of Hiligaynon, her native tongue and the genius that made her such a prolific writer. Among them was the First Republic Cultural Heritage Award for Literature given by then President Ferdinand Marcos in June 12, 1969.
Her niece once told me about her and what a prolific writer she was. She would sit on her desk with her right hand holding the pen on paper writing as fast as she could and her left hand counting continuously the meter.  One time during her old age her niece was walking with her at the Rotary Park. Out of the blue her niece challenged her to say something about what she saw - the beautiful sea, the refreshing breeze and the moving sunset. Magdalena breathed deeply and words just flowed out of her. Her niece scampered for any piece of writing paper she could find, even receipts, to record those beautiful words flowing out from her soul. But she could not do so as it came through flawlessly and so naturally like the breeze of the afternoon air. 
And so it is with this article. I could not fully capture the person of this literary genius that was Magdalena. She is like her poetry. She is better left to speak for herself . . . in her works.

Iloy Ko Nga Duta

Mahal kong duta nga mainabyanon
nga ginluntaran ko sa dakung’ kawili,
sa akon matam-is nga pagdamguhanon
malulu mong’ tingug ang nag ili-ili.

Sang bata pa ako, daan kong’ natun-an
nga tubson ko ikaw kag di pagbayaan,
sa tanan kong’ gugma ikaw man ang pun-an
kag tunay mong sabak ang akon higdaan.

Kag sa imo langit ako gapasilong
upod ang panaad nga dili magbudhi,
unungan ko ikaw, kag dili ko iglilang
nga tunay nga imo ang akon kabuhi.

Kag samtang gabutlak ang mahal mong adlaw
kag naga inigpat ang imo bituon,
gina yauban ta sa dakung’ kahidlaw
kag gina ambahan sang tagipusuon.

Kon ang imo dag-un labing hamungaya
Kalipay man nakon nga wala sing sanglit,
ginahugyawan ko ang imo himaya
Kag ginapanugyan sing hugot sa langit.

Katam-is sa imo, duta kong’ puluy-an
nga dapat ko ludhan, tubson kag sabakon,
tahuron sang tanan kag di pag kaluy-an
kay ikaw ang bugal sang kabuhi nakon.

Sa isang’ ambahan akon ginadayaw
ang imo kataas nga may kamahalan,
ang imo hayahay akon ginabayaw
kabuylog ang dungug sinang imo ngalan.

Kon sang dughan nakon ang kibu magdulog
nga ang pag ulikid nabilin sa imo,
sa mahal mong sabak ako magatulog
nga nagapanabon sang hayahay nimo.

Kag sa imo duta pabay-ing magdapun
mabilin kong’ yab-uk nga labing dagaya,
agud tubtub san-o magsaksi gihapon
sang imo pagtangis ‘kon sang paghimaya.

Umapas sa Patyo

Si Inday Lolita, but-anan nga bata,
bugtong kag napun-an sinang’ pagpalangga,
sang tunay nga iloy, kag halus nalata
ang kalag kag lawas sa pagpaangga.

May tatlo ka tuig ang iya panag-on
apang ang panglawas may pagkahuyata,
may panghunahuna nga tuman kapag-on
kag sarang masiling nga hilway nga bata.

Pangabuhing’ imol ang iya ginmat-an,
apang manggaranon kon sa pagpalangga,
lamang sa ulihi iya nasugat-an,
ang dakung kalisud nga iya kasangga.

Napalong ang dabdab sang gugmang’ hamili
kag lumus ang dughan sa kaghang’ ginmulu,
kay latid sang palad, sa labing hinali
napatay ang iloy nga tuman kalulu.

Ang itum nga lungon nga ginatagu-an
sang bangkay sang iloy iya ginakup-an;
sang luhang’ masulog ginapatuluan
kag maghalayaon sing walay natup-an.

Sang ikalubong na, daw makahangawa!
Kag nagisahanon ang ilong’ Lolita,
ang amay nangita sing bag-ong’ asawa
nga nagnin katal-us sang iya Rosita.

Isa ka babae nga tuman ka bangis,
nga ang kasingkasing sa limbong natuoy,
kay sa iya manak labing’ nagpatangis
kag labing nagsikway sing walay kaluoy.

Sa baylo sang gugma sang iloy nga tunay
panugyot sang mandig snga labing libagon
kag diin ang gugma nga makapalunay
Sa kalag sang ilo nga mabinatyagon

Sa baylo sang haluk, ang mga libahud
sa baylo sang angga, buyayaw kag gasud,
sa singal sang mandig nga labing magahud,
pangakig sang amay among nagaasud! . . .

Taghuy ni Lolita, wala sing pagkanay,
Kay lumus sa kagha nga daw ikamatay,
- ako magalakat, magaapas kay nanay,
kag buylog kay manding, pabilin ka, tatay . . .

Kag wala maglisa ang hambal sang bata,
nga nagbalatian sa lakas nga kagha,
kay ang kasingkasing sang sungon nakita,
napatay nga puno ang mata sang luha! . . .

No comments: