A tribute to Bikol’s folklore scholar Ma. Lilia F. Realubit and three papers on the folklore of Southern Luzon will be presented at the second Reading the Regions web conference of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) on March 30-31.

In “A Name from the Other: The Case of Mahunig Folk Etymology,” Emmanuel Jayson V. Bolata, History instructor at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, recounts the folk etymology of barangay Mahunig in Gasan, Marinduque. According to folk sources, the place name Mahunig originates from the words of a Chinese man who had to sleep overnight in the locality. He found the stink of the sleeping mat offensive and mumbled “Maho Manig” for baho banig. Bolata uses toponymy in his study of the name, and infers that “hunit” (a type of flexible tree) or “hunik” (turmeric) could perhaps be the source of Mahunig. He also critiques the post-colonial tendency to rely on the foreign Other as the origin of local place names. He calls for more thoroughgoing documentation of folk etymology to provide a basis for further studies.

“Ang ‘Silip’ o ‘Pasilip’ ng Distrito Supot: Isang Maikling Pananaliksik sa Nakaugaliang Pagdakila sa mga Bata at Nawaglit na Distrito sa Bayan ng Calauag” is the second paper, to be read by Paterno Baloloy Jr., teacher at the Enverga University and Senior High School coordinator of Calauag National High School in Calauag, Quezon Province. In his research on the stories of Calauag, he first notes the name of the district Supot or Uncircumcised as a source of amusement. On closer study, he learns that the name unveils a tradition, that of ‘silip’ or ‘pasilip’ (peep, peek) that residents practiced in relation to newborns. Baloloy reads the tradition as a sign of the extraordinary and noble respect given to children in Calauag, which he relates to a Catholic belief. ‘Silip’ existed up to the time the Japanese invaded the town during World War II but has since disappeared together with the name.

The focus of the third paper by teachers Paz Verdades Santos and Marifa Prado is an adaptation of a Bikol folktale. Omar Aguilar’s “An Lalong ni Kulakog” tries to salvage the reputation of the lazy wife-beating giant-husband Kulakog in an award-winning animated film. The paper readers update their lesson plan on the film to include the issue of fake news in society, to interrogate patriarchal tendencies in the film, and to suggest an inter-regional project on folklore.

Bolata was former head of the Alyansa ng Pangkasaysayan Organisasyon Pang-mag-aaral ng Pilipinas (ANGKOPP). Baloloy is author of the book of poems for children Agam-agam ng Langgam and is a Palanca awardee. Santos and Prado have published a teachers’ manual Obras Maestras and the textbook Lipwas for Bikol literature. Santos also prepared the tribute to Bikol literary historian Realubit.

The three papers, selected by the Arts Commission’s Literary Arts Committee representative for Southern Luzon Niles Jordan Breis, will be included among the 42 gathered for the Reading the Regions 2 anthology to be edited by Luna Sicat Cleto.