Talaandig Monobo chanter Florina Saway. PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF CHRISTINE F. GODINEZ ORTEGA
The Mindanao Creative and Cultural Workers Group Inc. (MCCWG) launches its first storytelling contest in partnership with Youth Affairs Iligan. Participants, whose ages range from 15 to 30, from across the nation and abroad are encouraged to join the contests.
The competition focuses on the retelling of folk stories about Señor San Miguel or Saint Michael the Archangel, Iligan City’s patron saint, a popular and sophisticated Meranaw tale and a Talaanding Manobo tale, both retold by Godinez Ortega.
For the retelling of Señor San Miguel tales, the contest is open to Iligan City participants, representing their barangays. The tale should be in English with 300 to 500 words.
For the Meranaw tale, contestants should create his/her own endings, in English and in 25 to 30 words, to the story Why the Solotan sa Agamaniyog Did Not Die, as retold by Godinez Ortega based on a lengthy tale collected by Engracia M. Macaraya from mat weaver Babai Alonto Macaraya, and published in Mindanao Harvest 3: An Anthology of Retold Tales of Mindanao (NCCA and MSU-IIT, 2014)
For the Talaanding Manobo tale, contestants should write a 300 to 500-word interpretation of The Story of Insayon and Why the House Did Not Burn, as chanted by Talaandig Manobo chanter Florina Saway in Binukid language (Lantapan, Bukidnon, 2015) and retold in English by Godinez Ortega. The interpretation should be in a casual style and not as an academic paper.
The link to the complete guidelines and copies of the tales is posted in MCCWG’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/mccwgofficial2/posts/180210540180153). The deadline for submissions is 19 September to coincide with the Pakanaug ni San Miguel, a religious ritual held at the San Miguel Cathedral before the Iligan City fiesta celebration.
Image of Iligan City’s patron, Saint Michael the Archangel. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FB/CATHEDRAL OF ST
Oral to literary stories
The retelling of a tale, dubbed “poaching” in popular culture, has been around since the 16th century. Variants of tales occur during various historical eras for function and relevance.
In a paper titled From Folk Tales to Popular Culture: Poaching and Relevance in the Process of History by Kinga Varga-Dobai, published in the journal Folklore in Estonia in 2008, poaching is described as “a popular culture activity and a practice delectable in the transition of oral folk tales to literary folktales, and in the further modification of the genre of fairytales by feminist writers.”
Varga-Dobai also talks about “relevance and its relationship with poaching” and as example, she quotes a “new story” by eight-year old Brooks Wolfe (2006), a take from Aesop’s The Crow and the Pitcher: “Once there was a horse named Harry. Harry was very, very thirsty. Then he came upon a bowl of Gatorade. Harry got excited.
He loved Gatorade! But then, the bowl was very narrow and he couldn’t stick his tongue in. He tried and he tried but he couldn’t get it out. Then he had an idea. He stuck lots of gum balls in the bowl and was able to get the Gatorade” (Wolfe 2006).
In the retelling of the story, Brooks uses a horse as the main character in place of a crow and a bowl. Instead of a pitcher and in lieu of pebbles, gum balls are used. Aesop’s fable is merely updated for relevance but it is still widely read as is, or, in its original form worldwide.
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