PANAGLAGIP is an anthology of narratives, articles, poems, artwork and testimonies of activists and ordinary people who fought against Marcos Martial Law in Northern Luzon. It includes eye-witness accounts and testimonies of direct experiences with the cruelty of Marcos Martial Law which are, ultimately, stories of struggle and survival of ordinary people who fought against oppression. “In recounting these stories, we honor those who went before us, who stood beside us, who defended us, and who followed in our footsteps as human rights defenders in Northern Luzon” (from the Introduction).
Contributors include Liza Ann Ilagan, Luchie B. Maranan, Brenda Subido-Dacpano, Reynaldo Guillermo, Lenville C. Salvador, Mary Lou O. Marigza, Elina M. Velasco-Ramo, Romella Liquigan, Felicidad Valencia, Pilar V. Paat, Lina Ladino, Wilson Adorable, Joanna K. Cariño, Maureen B. Loste, Rudy D. Liporada, Jill K. Cariño, Jeoff Larua,Priscilla Supnet-Macansantos, Ruel Caricativo, Desiree Caluza,and Christian Patricio.
Edited by Joanna K. Cariño and Luchie B. Maranan, the book is produced by SELDA-NL (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Martial Law at Aresto-Northern Luzon), Alfredo F. Tadiar Library, and Gantala Press, with the support of SELDA Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto, 5·18기념재단 The May 18 Memorial Foundation and PROCESS (Participatory Research, Organization of Communities and Education, Toward Struggle for Self-Reliance).
Bantayog ng mga Bayani and the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA) supported the launch at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani auditorium on February 22, 2023.
The following are initial book reviews by University of Hawaii Prof. Aurelio Agcaoili and journalist Kris Lanot Lacaba.
BOOK REVIEW of PANANGLAGIP: THE NORTH REMEMBERS | Our Stories Will Redeem Us
Prof. Aurelio Agcaoili*, University of Hawaii
Let me start by thanking Tinay Palabay for asking me to say something about this masterpiece of memory, Pananglagip: The North Remembers.
This book is redeeming. That is its virtue.
And it is redeeming because it provides us with something we can now hold onto.
It is a testament that combats the illusion that the people of the North—the umili of the Amianan—have lost their minds and that now, they only must believe in the false promises of those who have been trained all their life to fool every one of us.
There is gold here in this book.
But it is not Tallano’s gold.
It is our people’s.
This anthology of memory, both persistent and not, is prima facie evidence of what happened to us in the Amianan, and more essentially, to the country.
The pursuit of freedom and the good life, away from the corruption of onions and rice and all the produce our farmers have been coaxing from the earth, does not have borders.
And so, we see the Amianan—the Cagayan Valley, the Cordilleras, and the Ilocos—moving, the earth in this part of the country so mobile so that we can see in the Cordillera the Ilocos, the Ilocos in the Valley up east, and the Valley both in the mountains and in the depressed lands that lead to the laud, the sea.
We see in the stories—and the poems that are stories and the stories that are poems, too—this movement of activists whose resolve to do things right for our people was, and continues to be, our redeeming grace.
That resolve keeps on burning in this book.
We are the beneficiaries of that resolve.
Through the sacrifice of these twenty-two writers of Pananglagip, we still have a country that remembers, a land that has kept the blood of those who gave that ultimate gift to our people.
In the Summer of 2022, I had the chance to visit the shrine of Apo Macliing Dulag.
That shrine was vandalized.
Having read the book, I now think the vandals need this book that our poets and storytellers have fixed on the page.
This book reminds the vandals: Apo Macliing has remained with us and among us.
The struggle has not been won, one fact the vandals do not understand.
For this is what we need the most today: a remembrance of the things that have happened to us, all the things that have brutalized our sense of self, murdered our dreams and stolen our songs and simple joys.
Fifty years of that obnoxious rule will continue to haunt us.
There will be no end to the haunting.
But the gift of remembering and naming those things that have decided to become some ghostly presence in our everyday lives today as this Pananglagip has done will inaugurate some healing for us all.
There is logic to the facticity that in despotic regimes, the first to go to prison is the poet, the artist, the storyteller, the activist, and the visionary of freedom.
These are truth-tellers, these people.
These are the same people, these authors whose testimony will dwell in our souls, who do not believe in big lies, in promises that are mystifications, in deliverance but only to themselves, never to the masses.
These accounts remind us that twenty-two of our best brains did not stand on the wayside and kibitzed.
Instead, like every revolutionary that is at the same time a prophet, they reminded us that freedom is the same for all.
And it must be so.
They caused us to remember that the good life is the same for all.
And it must be so.
Like all the testaments we have read from those who have lost life and limb or those who have been beaten and imprisoned by those trained to beat and imprison dissidents, I fully agree with the thesis of this work: that the actual North remembers.
It is the North of our ancestors, we people of the Amianan.
It is not the North of those whose only reason to exist is to tinker with the truth of our country’s soul.
The North remembers the contour of our dream for something better, and it is better because it is grander, freeing, and liberating.
It is not the North that some people say is solid, and it is solid because it delivers the votes for political families that have nine lives.
This is the North that tells the truth, the North that can sing about wayawaya, that freedom that has eluded us for so long.
I doff off my buri hat to these writers.
I am grateful for their gift of memory so we can continue to resist forgetting.
I doff my hat off because I am envious: I do not have their courage.
I can only pray: amin koma.
We can only wish that we are like them.
We can also wish we had been imbued with that love for our country and people.
I am certain that after reading Pananglagip, we shall be able to reconnect with all our ancestors, who since colonial times had been fighting for our freedom.
To all our writers, thank you.
And to all three publishers working together to make us reject the falsities of our past-as-present, agyamanak iti nagan dagiti amin umili iti Amianan: thank you in the name of all the people of the North, the real North.
Naimbag a kanitoyo amin. Balligi ti umay koma bumalay kadatayo amin.
- Aurelio Agcaoili, Ph.D. Associate Professor Doctor of Philosophy & Master of Arts in Philosophy University of the Philippines. He is Program Coordinator of Ilokano Language and Literature, Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures, University of Hawai’i at Manoa. He is one of the advocates of Nakem Conferences, an international association of cultural workers working for cultural pluralism. An award-winning creative writer, he writes in Ilokano, English, and Tagalog.
BOOK REVIEW of Panaglagip: The North Remembers, Martial Law Stories of Struggle and Survival
Kris Lanot Lacaba*
Bakit ba tayo maniniwala sa ideya ng Solid North? Iyan ang isa sa mga gustong tugunan ng librong ito. Ang konsepto ng Solid North ay propaganda na nagsisilbing smoke screen sa mga pangyayari sa Ilocos region noong martial law. Ipinalaganap ito para huwag mapagtuunan ng pansin ang kasaysayan ng rehiyon.
Ano ang dinanas ng mga tao ng Ilocos region noong martial law? Diyan naganap ang displacement ng mga Tingguian sa kanilang lupang ninuno para makapaglogging ang Cellophil Resources sa Abra. Diyan din ang pagtangkang pagpapalayas sa mga Kalinga at Bontok para maipatayo ang Chico River Dam. Saka ang pagpaslang sa mga sumalungat sa Chico dam project, kabilang sina Macli-ing Dulag at Puri Pedro.
Napakaraming mga pinatay dahil sa kanilang pakikibaka, tulad ng magkapatid na student activists na sina Romulo Palabay at Armando Palabay, si Jennifer Cariño na isang Ibaloi, ang human rights lawer na si David Bueno. Sa librong ito makikilala natin ang marami pang iba na nakaranas ng pagmamalupit ng diktadura, ngunit mas mahalaga, mapapalalim natin ang pag-unawa natin sa kung bakit sila nakibaka. Mahalaga din na makikilala natin ang mga anak ng Norte bilang mga anak, kapatid, kabiyak, at magulang na nagmahal sa kanilang pamilya, komunidad, at bansa.
Masahol ang dinanas ng mga taga-Northern Luzon, iyan ang pinapaalala sa atin ng librong ito. Pero kuwento din ito ng pakikibaka at kabayanihan. Paalala din ang librong ito na di pa nakakamit ang katarungan gayong patuloy ang pagbabaluktot ng kasaysayan at pagdiin sa mga aktibista, manggagawa, magsasaka, mag-aaral, human rights workers, media practitioners, at mga land and indigenous rights defenders. Ganunpaman, tuloy ang laban.
Sabi nga ni Tita Luchi Maranan sa kanyang tula:
…tapusin din ang bangungot!
Tibayan ang pusong tinamnan ng poot
Muling gisingin ang isip sa pakikisangkot
Ang tapang sa pagtutol
Tumugon sa ligalig ng panahon.
Ang sabi ni Tita Joanna Cariño, binuo ang librong ito para basagin ang alamat ng Solid North, na ito ay gawa-gawa lang para ipakita kunwari na unconditional ang support ng Ilocos Region sa diktadura ni Ferdinand Marcos. Alam nating hindi ito totoo, sa kabila ng sinabi ni Bongbong tungkol sa human rights abuses noong diktadura ng ama niya, “What am I to say sorry for?” Ang maisasagot ko lang, ang tapang din ng apog, ano?
Ang mga Marcos kilala nang sinungaling. Mas maniniwala ako sa sinasabi ng mga manunulat ng librong ito: “The Solid North Never existed,” sinulat ni Ms. May Rodriguez. Mas maniniwala pa ako sa mga plakard: “Marcos No Hero” at “The North Resists,” sabi ng mga banner harap ng Marcos Bust sa Tuba, Benguet, sa protesta na pinamunuan ng CARMMA at Cordillera People’s Alliance. Mas kapani-paniwala pa ang sigaw ng kabataan: “Awan ti Solid North,” sigaw nila sa mga rally noong huling eleksyon. At ang paborito ko, sabi ng isang plakard, “Bus lang ang Solid North.”
*Si Kris Lanot Lacaba ay isang mamamahayag, manunulat, tagasalin at makata na binigyang parangal ng Palanca Awards. Siya ay convenor ng Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (CARMMA).