Resty Cena-Joe Padre Chat

Dr. Resty Cena is third from left (front row) in this file photo.

The following is an unedited transcript of my chat with Dr. Resty Cena today, February 8, 2012. Dr. Cena is the subject of a previous post, “A Window into Dr. Resty Cena’s Thinking on MTBMLE,” on March 22, 2011. The post featured Dr. Cena’s lecture entitled “Ang Huling Tao sa Harap ng Siga: Ilang Tala tungkol sa Kultura at mga Wika ng Pilipino” before members of the Pilipino Educators Advocated Council (PEAC) at the Calgary Main Public Library on November 14, 2009.
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Here’s what Resty Cena wrote about Resty Cena in his blog:
I have known Resty since before he was born. Even then, he had shown a restless mind. With a smile in his unformed lips, he’d kick his womb just for the heck of it, which unsettled his mother to no end. He was two years old when he first packed his belongings and roamed away, only to come when he was caught stealing food one night at his own house. He never went to the UP College of Music, but with his own resources he learned the culinary art. At 10, he joined a merchant ship as cook, but because he was size small, he didn’t get to marry the shipowner’s daughter. He had served as a chef at the White House and the Buckingham Palace, kissed the ring of three Popes, climbed the Everest, and miraculously survived the trampling of a herd of African elephants. Lately he retired in the Philippines, built a house on top of Mount Arayat on stilts long enough to survive gigantic tsunamis. Resty’s incredible life’s journey would have been even more incredible if only at least one of them had been true.
For sure, neither of us had a drop of beer before the chat; hence, I have absolutely no excuse at one point in the chat, when I wrote “ISANG NASYON, ISANG DIWA”. The correct quote, of course, is “ISANG NASYON, ISANG WIKA”. I  do apologize for the misquote. – Joe Padre
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Resty Cena
Chat Conversation Start
Today
Resty Cena You going to the 2nd MTB-MLE conference in Iloilo?

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Joe Padre No, but I wish I could follow it, may be from the papers/presentations…

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Resty Cena Get out of California. Come to Pinas.

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Joe Padre Wish I could… Will you be there?

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Resty CenaYes. But not in any official capacity. Failed to submit a paper.

I do enjoy being a rabble-rouser. Asking questios that don’t have any answers.
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Joe PadreBut you be able to collect the papers/presentations at the confab… Would you please share me with whatever you may be able to collect?

Well, the “asking questions” is that which stirs the broth…
Been asking a few myself…
Like Deped Order #90 s. 2011, have you read the order and its enclosure?
Especially the enclosure listing the first batch of schools participating in the implementation of MTB-MLE per DO 74 s. 2009…
You still there?
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Resty CenaI’m still here.

No, I haven’t read the order. What is interesting about it?
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Joe Padre

Did you think the exclusion of the entire Region II from the list of those initially implementing MTBMLE and the requisite funding is something IRREGULAR?
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Resty CenaJoe, you can’t do effective advocacy without a presence here.

Region II being the Ilocos region? Tell me why it was excluded?
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Joe PadreI understand that…

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Resty CenaI have read a document about it, but I didn’t think there was anything irregular about it. I could be wrong.

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Joe PadreWhy was it excluded? I don’t know.. but the Order itself went from Region I (Ilocos) to Region III, bypassing region III which is Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya. That’s a huge chunks of schools with so many languages, you know…

Bypassing Region II, I mean…
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Resty Cena

Ah, logistics. If you can’t do it properly, don’t do it . Nothing wrong with that, I’d say.
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Joe PadreSome folks from Region II think otherwise, especially if out of the 1000 or so schools included, almost 60% are from Cebuano-speaking areas…

I’m painfully aware of your stand on the national language, but don’t you think giving priority to some schools from the Tagalog/Filipino speaking region, e.g. NCR & CALABARZON, in participating in the initial MTBMLE implementation is rather irregular given the fact that we’ve spent enormous resources during the last 50-plus years developing Tagalog/Filipino?
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Resty Cena

I am puzzled by the Cebuano standpoint. It is clear that they want it to be the national language, or one of the national languages, but they don’t say it that clearly.
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Joe PadreI’m aware of that, especially because they think they got hoodwinked in the 1935 convention by MLQ himself and his cohorts…

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Resty CenaCalabarzon had always been using the native language. MTB-MLE is for non-Tagalog regions.

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Joe PadreSo why did DepEd include CALABARZON and NCR?

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Resty CenaIt wasn’t Quezon that decided Tagalog to be the basis of the national language. It was Romualdez, a speaker of a Visayan languge

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Joe PadreI agree with you about MTB-MLE being for the non-Tagalog regions. So how do you rationalize DepEd’s action in giving priority to CALABARZON for inclusion in the MTBMLE funding?

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Resty CenaYou do realize that DepEd is not a rational being, don’t you?

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Joe Padre

To me, that’s nothing different from doling out “pork barrel”//
Our concern therefore is how we can get DEPED to be rational? Legislate something to stop the nonsense in that office?
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Resty CenaJoe, quit thinking that DepEd favors the Tagalog region for MTB-MLE. MTB-MLE has always been MTB since the bilingual education program.

There is nothing that the MTB program can add to the instruction using native tongue in the Tagalog region.
It has always been there.
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Joe PadreWhat I do know is that Rosalina Villaneza, the national MTBMLE coordinator at DepEd is from the Cebuano speaking region (Mindanao, I think) and I could see why there’s about 600 of the 1000 schools initially implementing MTBMLE…

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Resty CenaEnligten me, please. What has Rose regional origin got to do with it?

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Joe PadreThat’s why MTBMLE should exclude the schools from the Tagalog speaking regions, NOT Region II…

Oh, I thought you’re smarter than that to just ignore our usual regional politics…
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Resty CenaAh, I see your point. Which is about the priorities for the implementation of MTB-MLE. That is logistics. I wouldn’t put any other insidious motivations on it.

hey, we can only do this much this year. Let
Let’s do region X.
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Joe PadreHow about, let’s do CALABARZON, and you think there’s nothing insidious about that?

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Resty CenaJoe, calabarzon has always been MTB!

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Joe PadreOK, forget about that, when are you going to invite me to go fishing/crabbing in Canada?

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Resty CenaHa, I’m here in Pinas. How about good ol’ San Miguel Beer pale pilson?

Pilsen?
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Joe PadreWell, yeah, the one that you got over there is a lot better than the export variety we get here — which is bitter and watered down…

I love the stuff way back then, especially when we go bowling… After the game and a dozen bottles of the stuff, I could speechify…
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Resty CenaI know. Let me know when you will next visit PI. I’d like to know, over beer, what exactly are you hoping to accomplish.

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Joe PadreAt this stage in my old, miserable life, my brother-in-law’s medical opinion is: do anything, eat anything, and if you do something bad, just be careful to not get caught…

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Resty CenaHave you met Aurelio Agcaoili?

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Joe PadreNo, but we exchange emails…

The only MLE folks I’ve met in person are Diane Dekker and Greg Dekker…
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Resty CenaYou know, I’d like to ask the both of you the question: It appears that the Ilocanos have made the decision: If you can’t beat the Tagalogs, join them. What do you say to that?

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Joe PadreNow I see how you think about this. NOPE, we ain’t joining the Tagalogs in the manner you probably have in mind. La Union, for instance, is legislating the use of Ilocano like the Catalans of Spain had done… They’re not yet there, but they are on course…

What you see as capitulation by the Ilocanos to Tagalog is a consequence of government’s overweening desire to promote Tagalog at all cost…
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Resty CenaNo, no, no. It’s the young people in the Tagalog region that is opting to speak Tagalog rather than Ilocano,

I meant in the Ilocos region,
The young people prefer to speak Tagalog.
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Joe Padre

That’s why we pin our hopes on altering the scenario on MTBMLE — and I think we eventually will…
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Resty CenaHow can you reason against the fact that the young people and parents of the Ilocos region, outside of advocacy groups like Padre, Agcaoili, & MacEachrn would like to to go mainstream and speak a different language.

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Joe PadreIf government was able to artificially bring about the Tagalogization of Ilocandia, I think the reverse corrollary can also happen…

It’s not permanent and hopeless.
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Resty CenaJoe, you are, if I may say, so naive and so idealistic, and out of touch of the economic linguistic imperatives. A bottle of San Migguel pale pilsen or two wil be good for you.

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Joe PadreNaive and out of touch? Those are characterizations I could pin on you as well. MTBMLE has just started and I don’t know how Tagalog will fare in the end… Non-Tagalog people are just beginning to realize what they lost to Tagalog — that’s why they so embrace MTBMLE. It’s a fight, and like it or not, MTBMLE is gaining momentum that someone like you can no longer stop…

You realize, of course, that this chat is going to wind up in multilingualphilippines.com
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Resty CenaWhat exactly do you stand for, Joe? How about let’s count the ways.

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Joe PadreI’ll tell you what I don’t stand for: “ISANG NASYON, ISANG DIWA”.

OR AS THEY SAID, “ONE NATION, ONE LANGUAGE”.
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Resty CenaGawd, Joe, that is so empty that I am surprised that any one would espouse it. What is nasyon, what is diwa?

Diwa should never ever be equated with languge
Nor should it be quated with nation.
Joe, I think you are driven by empty slogans.
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Joe PadreJacobinism on language was a force the ultranationalist so adroitly exploited.Unfortunately, you entirely missed my point about what I do not stand for: slogans.

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Resty CenaSpare me the Jacobinism clap-trap. What do you stand for? What do you want to accomplish? What do you stand for?

Do you want the Ilocano languge to be the national language? An auxiliary languge/
Tell me.
The problem is that you feel wronged, but unsure about what would be right.
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Joe PadreYou tell me what you stand for and what you wish to accomplish and I probably will be able to do the same.And be forewarned, I dislike you putting words in my mouth — that’s unsanitary, totally.

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Resty CenaSpare me the nonsense about putting words in one’s mouth. That is so amateurish. No, I don’t have any agenda.I just want to examine why some would think the way that do it. I don’t care if the national languge is Tagalog, or Cebuano, or English.

It’s just that it is so annoying to se some supposedly thinking people pretend about for good and noble thoughts, when all they want is their language to be the national language.
You do want Ilocano to be the national languge, don’t you?
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Joe PadreNope, I’ve never advocated that Ilocano be the only national language — but give me a chance to think more about that. Aha, English! That’s almost a thing some folks have a love-hate relation to. Well, I’ll leave you at that. Because I’d rather go fishing/crabbing with you somewhere in Canada, with a few bottles of beer in tow… Nice chatting with you. Bye…

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Resty CenaTell me, what is it about the Ilocano language, or any languge other than Tagalog, to be its role in national or regional schemes?

Ok, hey, beer on me the next time you’r ehere in good ol’ Pinas.

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