Buhayin ang Tanaga!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A Tanaga by Enrico Torralba

Here's a tanaga on play and its many meanings:

Ang dami mong kalaro:
Bus na rumaragasa,
Dyipning paliko-liko;
Ikaw ang laging taya.

by Enrico C. Torralba

How can simple lines call upon memory so well? A play on ambiguity's limits is apparent here. How it plays in the mind of the reader will summon the many layers of meaning that it holds. Should we ask, what has the tanaga revealed to you? Perhaps that is the role of poetry.

Short poems in particular, haikus, tanagas, dalits, couplets and quatrains seem to reveal more in their brevity. The confined space is haunting the reader with all the contents - so much meaning within its walls. It takes mastery to tame these walls that can easily collapse on the words within it.

There is an obvious invitation to the reader to weigh each word more dearly in a short poem than a longer one after all, the choice of words on a finite measure demands the best words to be set. How does a writer select the best words that can maximize or approximate the meaning that he wants to capture?

Ah, well that's where the art is found in the Tanaga.
posted by Jardine Davies @ 1:43 AM | link | 0 comments

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Haiku and the Tanaga

Clair's website features an academic take on the tanaga and the haiku. Do check it out in this link. Here's an interesting quote:

However, it should be noted that the definition found in Juan
de Noceda and Pedro de Sanlucar's Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala, it did not
that the tanaga is a monoriming quatrain, but the form is stated as composed of
seven syllables (per line), and has four lines (Manuel 1972?).

If this is so, then modernizing the Tanaga by dropping the perfect rhyme, or rhyme altogether is actually a movement toward fulfillment of its (possibly) original form. Most popular tanagas have a rhyme on the last syllable - a feature quite common in other forms of Filipino poetry. While I do not have evidence to point out that internal rhymes were used in tanagas, it is not entirely irresponsible to surmise that they were utilized, at least among the oral tradition, or in the ancient tanagas themselves.

The Filipino language and its regional counterparts have certain elements which makes me want to believe that such a case is very possible. Consider the nature of the vowels themselves in the ancient Filipino syllabication in the baybayin/alibata:

The vowels "e-i" and "o-u" are regarded as interchangeable sounds. The same goes for the consonants "d" and "r"; they are considered to be interchangeable sounds. The liaison between words, and substitution of the consonants "m" and "n", or "p" also seem to support this idea
that with such mechanics in the language itself, it is not impossible that internal rhymes are formed on purpose - especially in a predominantly phonetic or short "a" language like ours.

Furthermore, all these phonetics I've mentioned have remnants which exists and remain noticeable to this day when Cebuanos and Visayans, and other provincial citizens speak the language. This is also noticeably a common accident among students who have Filipino as their second language, as far as I've noticed it.

All these seem to point that it is not a remote possibility that internal rhymes are inherent characteristics of the language itself. While it cannot be categorically stated that they were exploited and used to the advantage of ancient Filipino poetics, it does seem show that it is not entirely difficult to consider it being applied.

I hope a more scientific study is made on this matter. If there exists one already, please email me and let me know.
posted by Jardine Davies @ 11:49 PM | link | 0 comments

Two Tanagas

I have been on a hiatus-of-sorts. Having been busy with my poetry, my online life thus, had to suffer. I have been absent from my blogging community, too, and this blog in particular had been a long time without an update.

It is such a pleasure thus, that when I am ready to update this blog, one tanaga in a local/regional Filipino language I have solicited months ago from a friend is waiting to be read in my inbox. It would be dream come true seeing a hundred thousand tanagas not just in foreign languages, but also in the original Filipino languages and regional dialects! I wonder when that day will come?

I leave it to you now to enjoy:


hutik sang kagab-ihon
nagapukaw sa akon
kapung-aw sang kahapon
akon lamang suungon.

A night's whisper keeps me awake.
My nostalgia of yesterday,
this I have to bear.


kay wala sang pigado
kung ang Diyos ang husgado
nano mang panghimulos
manggad nga indi imo?

For mendicancy exists naught
If judged by the Almighty
Why keep a wicked spirit
On wealth that's temporary

(Translation by the Author)
- Annvee
posted by Jardine Davies @ 4:02 AM | link | 1 comments