The Center for Kapampangan Studies (CKS) of Holy Angel University took a huge leap in promoting Kapampangan culture through its annual competition in celebration of the Buwan ng Wika participated by 120 young poets and songwriters around the province.
Songwriting and poetry-making were the two categories made available through the online platform participated by many young Kapampangans who proved that the Kapampangan culture still thrives among the youth.
The Director of the CKS, Mr. Robby Tantingco, expressed how much the contest brought surprise to them.
“First, we didn’t expect so many young Kapampangans to still be interested in Kapampangan poetry and Kapampangan music. Second, we didn’t expect them to still be able to write and compose in Kapampangan. And third, we didn’t expect them to be this good!” he said.
“Ulu” by Gerald Chu topped the poetry category, followed by “Quing Maskup a Dalan” by Errice Pabalan receiving the second prize, and “Gapus” by Joshua Valencia having the third prize.
Meanwhile, “Aliwa Ka” by Jay Gopez prevailed in the songwriting category, followed by “Regalu ning Guinu” by Mary Jane Babadilla claiming the second prize, and “Milabas” by Nilo Nucup and Don Mauro Gomez for the third price. Mica Navarro was also recognized for the best performance with her piece, “Milasbas”.
The poetry category revolves around the insights and feelings of the participants during the pandemic. It was exemplified through their strong opinions of how the government responds, how the situation impacts their lifestyle, and what role religion plays that the youth are active survivors rather than passive victims of this current situation.
Free verse spoken word poetry and children’s song-themed songwriting were the main focus of the contest.
The CKS uploaded the 120 entries on their Facebook page during the last week of the celebration of the Buwan ng Wika which then received thousands of likes and shares each. Some entries even reached 70,000 engagement from the netizens.
Judges for the competition are composed of renowned professionals in the chosen field such as Jason Paul Laxamana, laureate Tec Sanchez Tolosa, and Gerone Jan Baladhay for the poetry category while Edwin Lumanug, Andy Alviz, and Irwin Nucum were for the songwriting category.
The Villanueva Award, serving as the top prize for the poetry competition, was donated by Atty. Stephanie G. Somera while all the prizes in the songwriting category were donated by a Macau-based Kapampangan poet, artist, language expert and National Book Award winner, and HAU Alumnus, Oscar Balajadia a.k.a. Papa Osmubal.
The said competition ended on a positive note manifesting the love of the youth for the Kapampangan language as shared by Tantingco.
“My faith in them is renewed with this contest. What they need is more people encouraging them, supporting them, and guiding them, not shaming, belittling and mocking them.”
LAYOUT BY: Cristine Joie Q. Bacud
PHOTO SOURCE(S): John Mark Smith, CKS, Ironwulf En Route