"The Rugged Terrain of Vernacular Literature" [from Revaluation]


Literature of the Philippines

Movements in History

While still a mass of vernacular literature in the Philippines remains hidden from literary appreciation, a foreboding sense of immanent loss confront the present vernacular literature. There are more ways of preserving new vernacular texts today since technology collates information using key words, hashtags and similar indicators as synthesis. Yet, more and more, readers and first consumers of literature, those who can afford technology, marginalize the vernacular, and seek to be merged into the global culture preferring the international language, at present, English.

Vernacular literature [organic variety] of the present times are hardly recognizable except in the Class C environments of recycled romances and tabloid varieties. Once the vernacular wears the academic garb it becomes less vernacular and more contrived to sound vernacular. Idiomatic tones and raw cultural accents are lost in the academic analysis because they become specimens of an array of vernacular samples. In other words, taken out of their immediate context, the vernacular takes another form, one that will eventually become unrecognizable and misappropriated in current and emerging histories.

In preserving the current vernacular literature, history might miss a greater global context in saying that that detail or so of a vernacular piece is representative of a historical moment or time. Meanwhile, the global vernacular is actually consuming the local vernaculars, devising a historical milieu that has completely taken over. This will have also become part of the current vernacular, which needs recording and revaluing, and which must not be put aside as merely a colonizing other.

While the town or barangay contexts, the barrio contexts, the bayan or bukid contexts, the provincial contexts and the regional contexts must always be taken into consideration in the study and preservation of vernacular literatures, there are also the emerging e-context, Facebook context, Instagram context and the skype-intercloud context, that awaits recording as the vernacular in those exchanges inform on the travails and triumphs of Filipinos who are somewhere in another part of the world at this time of great diaspora.

Those are sources of information for future generation of students of literature and culture and national history based on the people's narratives, and yet those are also the most fleeting of vernaculars because they are happening mostly 'in the cloud' and may be deleted or recycled in many ways and forms by trolls and manipulators of information. Preservers need to seize these bits and pieces of vernacular exchanges because part of the Philippine nation's travails stem from a reliance on sources that have been seized first by another race then passed on to te Filipino people filtered in this race's vernacular. There is a need to seize each moment's use of language and the modifications, appropriations, copings, and adjustments to alien tongues (not just English) that go with it.