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PANGASINAN: AN ETHNOCULTURAL MAPPING

     -marot nelmida-flores-

History and Culture always take a back seat in this age of global network and cyber transactions or what most young scholars describe as a postmodern world. Understandably, the focus is always on the global market and the pursuit of international status and recognition. The locale and the national are suddenly rendered imagined cultures and spaces, its historical and cultural import as romantic constructions of the elite.

But basic education still has its responsibility to inform young Filipinos about their ethnic origins, language, history and culture.  The subject of identity and ethnicity is still paramount in the interest of humanity in search of knowledge and homeland. Histories and cultures are not only constructed by the elite for language in itself has different forms of expression and articulation not exclusive to the written language of the elite.

This morning, I will present to you an ethnocultural mapping of Pangasinan. What is ethnocultural mapping? It is an alternative form of mapping which focuses and privileges culture and lifeways as a response to the rigid mathematical orientation of the cartographic tradition of mapping in earlier centuries. Even geography these days as a discipline is no longer confined with physical mapping but has already embraced the idea of cultural or mental spaces with its cultural geography as a subdisicpline. The radical trend has been borne out as a result of the rigidity of scientific inquiry relating to space. In short, ethnocultural mapping does not deal alone in terms of leagues as in earlier days or modern-day geographic measurements. While calculations and measurements are still instructive in ethnocultural mapping, its foremost objective is to interrogate the construction of mental pictures of a certain place/space/region/locale in terms of its culture and lifeways.

I will attempt to cover quite a comprehensive array of topics this morning  but because of the usual lack of material time when it comes to presentations, I will make use of visual images with a summary of each topic’s historical and cultural import for brevity. The major topics to be covered are the following:

1.

Prehispanic relations between the people of the coast (Panag-asinan or where salt is made) and the people from the Interior (Caboloan or where bolo, a specie of bamboo abounds); the political mapping made by the early Agustinian friars who named the entire region as ‘Pangasinan’ and obscured the precolonial coast-interior dichotomy of Panag-asinan and Caboloan;

2.

The controversial Kingdom of Tawalisi and Princess Urduja as ilustrado/anacbanua response against Eurocentrism;

3.

The Virgin of Manaoag and the manag-anito/babaylan tradition of Pangasinan; and,

4.

The Cattle Caravans of Ancient Caboloan as a feudal gypsy cart in the metropolis amidst globalization.

( I will also flash some institutional landmarks, archetypes and icons in the context of modern-day Pangasinan to situate the province amidst the race towards urbanization, cosmopolitanism and globalization. <in the powerpoint>)

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