GUMIL Filipinas Launches Website, “Balikas”

GUMIL Filipinas President Eli Raquel

GUMIL Filipinas President Eli Raquel

In a move that cements Ilocano as one of the major languages that will play a significant role in the recently approved mother tongue-based Multilingual Education (MLE) policy of the Department of Education (DepEd Order No. 74 s.2009), GUMIL Filipinas, under the leadership of Pres. Elizabeth M. Raquel, released the following:

gumilfilipinaslogoGUMIL Filipinas (GF) or Gunglo Dagiti Mannurat nga Ilokano iti Filipinas ken iti Ballasiw Taaw, the premier association of Ilocano writers with chapters in the different Ilocano-speaking provinces in the country as well as overseas, launches its official website,,  August 22, 2009 at the residence of Judge Vivencio Baclig in Quezon City ( features news about the organization and its chapters, its activities and new publications. It also contains literary pieces written by bona fide members of the association, as well as essays and features about writing in general and the Ilocano literature in particular.

GF also re-launches its official newsletter, Balikas . Edited by award-winning Ilocano writers, Balikas is an eight-page tabloid-sized quarterly that features news about GF activities, Ilocano literary pieces written by GF members, as well as features and essays on the Ilocano arts and culture.

The GF Editorial Committee which oversees both the website and the newsletter is now accepting articles for publication. Preferred articles for publication in Balikas are original and unpublished Ilocano works, especially poems, essays, and news and pictures related to GUMIL. For the website, the committee accepts published Ilocano poems, short stories, and essays about Ilocanos and GF.

For details, please contact Ariel S. Tabag, Editorial Committee chair, at mobile number 0918-7458792 or email (Sherma E. Benosa)

7 thoughts on “GUMIL Filipinas Launches Website, “Balikas”

  1. Heard in the video something about archiving prior Ilocano literary works in the new

    Will this include materials from Bannawag which can be “archived” following permissions from authors or their heirs all the way back from when the weekly periodical was first published in 1934? That, probably, is the solution to saving much of our Iloco literature, considering that the Manila Bulletin, owner of Bannawag, seems cool at the idea of archiving Bannawag literary work from way back then.

    The archive would be such a valuable resource center for Ilocano-based MLE students and researchers.

  2. Hello Manong Joe!

    First, I am amazed at the wealth of information that your MLE blog now contains. You must be putting a lot of time researching for relevant studies and posting them here, Manong. Already, your blog has the makings of a free online library! Thank you for doing this. 🙂

    As to, we do not know yet Manong how much of our writers’ works we can archive. We have lofty dreams for the website and we will do everything we can to make it become something we can be proud of. As one of our administrators said during the launching, the website is still a work in progress. It will always be.

    In a way, I am sorry that the website is not as interactive as other websites, because there might be great comments a saan a maidanon kadakami gapu ngarud ta saanmi met nga inlukat dagiti pagkomentuan kadagiti saan a kameng ken not in good standing a kameng ti gunglo. But weighing all the pros and cons, daytoy ti nakitami a kasayaatan nga aramiden: to treat the website as an online magazine.

    Silulukat met ketdi ti email ti gunglo para kadagiti komento ket yanusyo la kadin nga yimail kadakami. 🙂

    For suggestions and comments, please email us at We welcome — in fact, we encourage — suggestions from you.

    Thank you for your support, Manong! God bless. 🙂

  3. Frankly, I’m both grateful and understandably amused how Ched Arzadon, someone I haven’t met nor been introduced to, plucked me out of nowhere to get involved in the MLE advocacy.

    Tell you what, I’m going to take you on your suggestions.

    For starters, ehem, Joel B. Manuel mentioned in his piece, “An’a, M’estra, Ilokanonton ti Pangisuroyo ken Ambotko?“, that the requisite Iloco educational materials and resources are on the ready for the implementation of DepEd 74 “ngem ad-adu pay ti rumbeng a maisagana…”

    I don’t know off the bat if the above-mentioned prepared Ilocano MLE materials include Ilocano folk literature. If not, I recommend a retelling of our folk literature some of which are included in the Philippine Folk Literature series compiled and edited by Damiana Eugenio (I have 3 of her books: Anthologies, Myths, and Legends) and other folklore anthologies. Our GUMIL writers are capable, aren’t they, of “dressing up” the folklore which, for instance, are UNINTERESTINGLY retold by Eugenio so that, individually, they stimulate our young readers’ minds. These stories, I’m told, help to establish and maintain the rudder that keeps us in touch with and preserves our cultural identity. A gazillion years later, I think they do judging from my interest in preserving the Ilocano language and its rich folklore and literature in spite of the fact that I’m thousands of miles away from Ilocandia…

  4. During informal conversations with some writer-friends, we have been encouraging each other to write stories for children — the kind that will be used in classrooms. The kind that will contain our culture and the values that we want to instill in our children. This is even before the MLE because we see the dearth in materials for classroom use.

    As to retelling of folktales, I don’t recall any occasion discussing it with writer friends, but VF and I had talked about it sometime last year, before the launch of the Cabie-PINILI. We wondered about copyright issues should we start re-telling Ilocano folk lit. He calls it sarsarita di ugma — the kind that we heard from our grandparents. In fact, he tried to write two from memory, and one of them I have posted in Bilingual Pen. We both think his version needs some tweaks to make it more interesting for children.

    I also have copies of the books by eugenio (borrowed from the NCCA library) and there really are so many interesting materials in there!

    I would be interested to make projects such as this, not only because VF and I had talked about doing something like it, but because I really dream of writing (or rewriting) stories for children because frankly, I don’t want to read stories about weak women and other stereotypical western stories to my would-be children!

    My observation among our writers is that they are able to produce good materials when there are contests (this includes me), because contests are good motivators, not because of the awards, but because they set deadlines and guidelines. There’s something about deadlines that fire at the writers’ creative juices. In fact, without contests and deadlines, I don’t think I could have written as much stories as I did last year. All of my stories were written three days before the deadlines some, even less.

    If we can come up with programs, contests, activities etc, that could trigger our writers’ creative juices, it would really be good.

    (Sorry manong no ti la napnapanan ti kunkunak. Diak suren no nasungbatak ti kunkunam dita ngato, basta nagtypeak lattan. Thanks. I hope I made sense. Hehe).

    • This is the kind of initiative that I’ve been dreaming to come out of our writers–the sooner the better–considering that I am not sure that much of Iloco oral folklore have been captured in print.

      I have done some cursory reading of the Eugenio Anthology, Legends and Myths and for some reason something tells me that much of the oral folklore I heard when I was young are not in there.

      It was kind of late to realize that something so important was gone when my grandmother died when she was 104–when you weren’t born yet. She was an avid non-stop storyteller and her style was definitely more interesting and engaging than Eugenio. And that’s what’s happening to our remaining bridge to a rich and colorful oral folklore, a bridge to our past because most of the old folks are succumbing to the call of nature.

      Our current crop of Iloco writers have a unique responsibility of chronicling our remaining oral folklore which have not seen print before our elders are gone forever. It’s just that our distraction from being required to learn Filipino seems to cause us to simply drop the ball on our very own Iloco oral folklore.

      Therefore, the sooner you and your fellow writers start collecting whatever remaining oral folklore from our elders who will soon leave us, the better our chances to pass the same to our young and our children’s children.

  5. It would be good if we will be able to find out dagiti kasapulan pay. A listing tapos committees will be created to make sure these needs will be produced. (With the approval of the MLE, I am assuming there will also be budget to be alloted for this.)

    I believe adu pay ti kasapulantayo ta malaksid kadagiti liblibro ken materials, the teachers also need to be trained in using the language — oral and written.

    GF has a seminar-workshop committee which will design and implement programs that may be useful in the use of Ilokano. More on this when everything has been finalized. 😉

    • DepEd Order No. 74 s.2009’s Paragraph 5 and its subparagraphs have some stuff that may address some of the issues you raised here. I suggest you read the enclosures, too.

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