Philippine Literature: Lola’s Proverbs in Today’s Graffiti

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   The Philippine Embassy (London) and Official Residence of Ambassador Edgardo Espiritu played host to an exciting evening of indigenous Filipino literature and cultural lecture aptly presented to the Filipino-British Community by Professor Rosario Cruz-Lucero.
   Ambassador Espiritu welcomed Professor Lucero who was in London as a part of her international travel to promote Philippine Literature and Culture in the context of a modern and contemporaneous point of view.

Prof. Rosario Cruz-Lucero
   Professor Lucero is currently a lecturer at the College of Arts and Letters, University of the Philippines (Diliman). Her lecture is the result of years of various in-depth research into the life and ways of native Filipinos and their transliterated perception of the modern world. Professor Lucero focused her lecture on how our present contemporary environment has influenced the traditional literature and eventually culture of aboriginal Filipinos.
   After a sumptuous light snack served by Mrs. Lydia Espiritu and the other Embassy Officials, the lecture kicked off with Ambassador Espiritu thanking all those who took the effort to attend the activity despite its short notice. He further stressed his delight to those who were present as it only shows their undying interest in Philippine Culture and Literature. He added that while most Filipinos in the UK are now the results of inter-racial marriages, their presence is a significant display of their value and commitment in learning more about their ethnic roots.

   In her lecture, Professor Lucero presented Philippine Literature and Culture as they were more commonly known. She used traditional proverbs, riddles, graffiti and even commercial tag lines as an example of modern transliteration of historic epics and myths. She further detailed various traditional rituals and their symbolic representations as these were originally intended and how these same rituals and symbolic imagery have been either lost or transformed by the modern world.

   Furthermore, Lucero showed the audience how these seemingly unique Filipino literature and culture are related to most modern literature and way of life. She also cited how most contemporary and modern writers and authors have tapped into the rich imagery that traditional epics and literature transformation can do.
   While most of those present at the Philippine Literature and Cultural night lecture criticized the scholarly approach in the way the lecture was generally presented, second generations Filipinos present at the event remarked positively. Vincent Fajilagmago, vice-chair of the newly formed association Philippine Generation said “I never understood Philippine literature and how attractive it can be…I have seen other race promote their culture but not understand why or how it is attractive, but what the professor showed me is how ingenious we were and our language and literature. It’s got me really thinking.” Vincent is now more involved in various Filipino activities and promises to help keep the Filipino spirit alive in the UK.
Michael Duque 



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