Don Vicente Sotto’s “Ang Paghigugma sa Yuta nga Natawhan” characters

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal - The Freeman

The first Cebuano modern play was written by Don Vicente Yap Sotto, the Father of Cebuano Journalism, Language, and Literature. It was played at Cebu’s Teatro Junquera (named after the Spanish Governor who was perceived to be friendly to the Cebuanos) on January 1, 1902. A portion of the profits of the stage play was given by Sotto to the Philippine Independent Church for the construction of its church (which still stands today along Mabini Street in Barangay Parian, Cebu City).

The main characters of Sotto’s play are: Maming (a young unmarried woman, 15 years old), Nora Tiay (mother of Maming, 35 years old), Nor Kicoy (father of Maming, 40 years old), Curate (Augustinian friar, 40 years old), Ricardo (student, 20 years old), Cabesa Oyong (father of Ricardo, 60 years old), Capitan Ando (40 years old), Tasio (municipal secretary, 25 years old), Civil Guard Sergeant (Spaniard, 30 years old), Don Justo (an honorable Spaniard, 30 years old), Revolutionary Colonel (30 years old), Lieutenant Gatmaitan (25 years old), Head acolyte (25 years old), Acolyte (12 years old), Civil Guard corporal (24 years old), Two young boys (Sons of Cabeza Oyong), Sentinel (20 years old), Male servant (10 years old), Revolutionary corporal (25 years old), and Civil guards and revolutionaries.

The story is all about Ricardo, a young Cebuano student who studied in Manila and became a mason. He fell in love with Maming who was also the love interest of the Curate. The play is a revolutionary story depicting the abuse of friars and the blind obedience of the religious followers.

Sotto’s play was translated into English by Resil B. Mojares, the multi-awarded Cebuano writer. It is contained in the book “Dulaang Cebuano” published by the Ateneo de Manila University Press in 1997. The book also contains the translation of Sotto’s play to Filipino by Don Pagusara.

Professor Mojares also wrote the first definitive biography on Don Vicente Sotto entitled “Vicente Sotto, the Maverick Senator” which was released in 1992, commissioned by the grandson and namesake of Don Vicente, Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, who was then the vice mayor of Quezon City, who at that year was elected as senator (elected by his peers as Senate president in 2018), coincidentally following the footstep of his grandfather who also served as senator after World War II.

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