ONLINE, I have created a Facebook community called 21stCentury Literature with Peter Solis Nery.
Its aim is to discuss the teaching of the K-12 core subject 21stCentury Literature from the Philippines and the World.
After a successful textbook on Creative Writing for the HUMSS strand of the senior high curriculum (now on its 2ndedition), I was commissioned to write two more textbooks:
The above-mentioned 21stCentury Literature from the Philippines and the World, and Contemporary Philippine Arts from the Region.
Both are core subjects of the senior high (as opposed to the specific HUMSS — Humanities and Social Sciences — textbook I have already written).
I also promised it to be a resource for materials that may be taught in the subject.
I am a proud textbook writer.
I have won the Editors’ Choice award for my first textbook because the editors find my work accurate, clear, reader friendly.
My textbook is also well loved by teachers and students because of its tone, fluency, and contemporary language.
As a writer, I take pride in knowing my readers, and in understanding their milieu.
As a writer with a strong online presence, I actually study the psychology of the millennials and the so-called iGeneration.
I am a relevant writer this way.
So, really, I understand that I am an acquired taste.
I do not delude myself that I am a favorite read of everybody.
I know I have fan readers in Panay News.
(Because readers tell me!
And because my editors tell me!)
And that’s the reason why I write the way I write.
I know I have my own followers.
Which may not be in millions, but are loyal to me.
It is no secret that I write in three languages — English, Filipino, and Hiligaynon.
My best works in fiction and poetry are in Hiligaynon.
My best plays and children’s poetry are in English.
My best screenplays are in Filipino.
I write poetry, fiction, and drama in Filipino, too.
I haven’t won a major award in my fiction in Filipino, but I am pretty competent in the language.
In fact, I have done several translations of my English and Hiligaynon works into Filipino.
Originally written as Si Padre Olan kag ang Dios in late 2012 (and which ultimately won the 1stprize at the Palanca Short Story in Hiligaynon in 2013), I translated the piece into Filipino while waiting for the Palanca verdict.
After its Palanca win, my former English language professor at UPV Celia Fuentes Parcon translated Padre Olan into English.
I like the translation so much that I have declared it as the official and definitive translation of the work.
At one time, I made a special booklet containing the original Hiligaynon version, Ma’am Parcon’s English translation, and my Filipino translation.
I gave it to then-Archbishop Angel Lagdameo through his secretariat.
But I never heard from him at all so I don’t know if he ever read it.
Well, if he didn’t, it’s all his loss.
In the Filipino and English versions — “Si Padre Olan at ang Diyos”, and “Father Olan, God, and the Rain”, Si Padre Olan kag ang Dios is making the rounds of junior high school textbooks as a representative literature from Western Visayas.
And why not?
The story is a first prize Palanca winner.
The writer is a most notable Ilonggo writer.
The setting is Guimaras, which is often neglected in the discussion of West Visayan literature.
The local color is steep in history and culture.
And the theme is pretty transcendent.
Here now, in installments, is the story in Filipino:
Si Padre Olan at ang Diyos
© Peter Solis Nery
Unang-una sa lahat, si Don Beato Yngala na nagmamay-ari ng pinakamalawak na taniman ng palay sa buong bayan ng Buenavista. Noong Martes bago ang kapistahan ni San Juan, pinuntahan niya sa kumbento ng Navalas si Padre Roland Javellana na kilala rin sa palayaw na Padre Olan. Inanyayahan siya ng pari na mag-almusal. Hindi pa man umabot ang ikasiyam ng umaga, nanggigisa na ang init. Nagbabalingaso ang araw, parang may dinadarang. Nanlilimahid sa pawis ang don na nakadamit ng puti at manipis na kamiseta na may mahabang manggas, ngunit hindi dahil sa pagod. Pawisan din si Padre Olan, subalit hindi dahil sa pagkaasiwa o takot sa don. Lubhang maalinsangan lamang ang panahon. Idinikit ng umaagos na pawis ng pari ang kamiseta sa kanyang balikat at dibdib. Nagpunas siya gamit ang panyo.
Dahil sa sobrang init, doon sa hardin sa likod ng kumbento nagpahanda ng almusal ang pari. May kubo sa gitna ng hardin ng mga bulaklak na, maliban sa nagmumurang mga bogambilya, ay natutuyo at nalalanta na ang mga pananim dahil sa napakahabang tag-init. Oktubre pa nang huling umulan, kalagitnaan na ng Hunyo ngayon. El Niño na naman!
Sa sementadong daanan mula kusina ng kumbento, namataan ng pari ang pagkabiyak ng lupa sa magkabilang taniman ng mga nangalanta at nakayukong mga bulaklak ng azucena at African daisy. Nakabukaka ang lupa sa labis na pagkatuyo, nakanganga, parang bunganga na nakatingala sa langit na nagmamakaawang umulan.
Ang pula ng mercury sa termometrong nakasabit sa isang haligi ng kubo ay umabot sa 43°C (halos 110°F), ngunit walang nakapansin noon. Naramdaman lang ng pari na labis-labis ang singhal ng sinag mula sa nagmumurang araw. (To be continued)