For the love of Cebuano literature
ESSENCE - Liagaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - July 14, 2018 - 12:00am

It’s fairly inconceivable when we hear that we lack instructional materials and references for teachers to teach local literature when in fact we have rich indigenous stories.

And for this, the Cebuano Studies Center of the University of San Carlos (USC) will hold “Teaching Cebuano Literature: A Seminar for Educators” on July 16-18, 2018 at the Rigney Hall of USC Talamban campus. According to its director, Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu, the seminar will reintroduce Cebuano literature to teachers and offer them innovative ways of teaching Cebuano literature as its center aims to assist in the development of critical reading and teaching of Cebuano literature in the primary, secondary and tertiary levels in the light of the reformation in the K-12 curriculum.

This educational gathering is a manifestation of proliferating local literature that its benefits are profound and all-embracing. It enables students and adults alike to identify with local themes, languages, creeds, settings, cultures, identities, and lifestyles, as well as issues and perspectives.

Literature is also a means for character development in children and young adults. The themes and characters can be a great source of inspiration and emulation, where values are embedded in stories and given life by the characters, can covertly shape the way our young think and behave.

More than anything else, literature inspires our love of country that is portrayed in books that should not be left hidden and untouched in the corners of libraries, only taken out when used for academic purposes. We visit these written accounts and glance at them once in a while, but afterward forget about them as we succumb to championing everything foreign, unwittingly making ourselves strangers to our own language and culture.

Cebuano literature has undeniably undergone marked changes over the years. Young Cebuano writers embrace less formal forms —free verse and spoken word poetry, to name a few. Not only are today’s writers freer to write how they want to, they are also freer to write what they want. An increasing number of audacious works speak of topics like religion, sexuality, among others, in another light.

Moving forward, the information revolution will continue to be an influential force in shaping the future of Cebuano literature —the rising popularity of ebooks is testament to that. Such innovation and other advances are only beginning to create a shift in the literature of the west, but they stand a good chance of producing similar effects in the local scene.

The challenge of inspiring students to appreciate local literature still remains. After all, technology makes it only a little easier to understand the intricacies of a poem or an epic.

But going back to the core of learning and appreciating local literature is that we hear the hopes, fears and angst of ordinary people - the pulse and soul of a nation - as the stories mirror the society around us. These local works across languages enhance our national fabric and identity as a people. And so it is vital to preserving our rich heritage.

It is my earnest hope that literature will gain more traction as we evolve into a more gracious society.

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