Song of Negros: myths, culture in the Philippines
NIGS. Song of Negros: Myths and Culture in the Philippines written by Mrs. Victor Victoria Bantug Hoffarth is a collection of easy to read stories. (photo added)
NIGS. The book includes fifteen artistically illustrated myths, stories and folk tales of the island of Negros. (photo added)
The Negros Museum spearheaded the highly anticipated launch of the book Song of Negros: Myths and Culture in the Philippines written by Mrs. Victor Victoria Bantug Hoffarth last week.
Negros Cultural Foundation president Lyn Gamboa said she believes it’s very important for generations of people to document our history and culture.
Gamboa said this was to ensure that the stories told were faithfully preserved.
“We also want to ensure that knowledge of our culture is understood by future generations,” she said.
Rene Sarmaniego, speaker at the event, said that myths contain universal truths and wisdom.
Sarmaniego said, “It doesn’t matter what part of the globe we are in, because its themes and motifs are similar and therefore cross the most diverse cultures.”
Serafin Plotria and Ms. Chona Gosiaoco, who served as the main researchers for the book, also shared their processes and experiences in their fieldwork and how they were able to gather known mythical and legendary stories from the Visayan culture.
For her part, Bantug-Hoffarth stressed that she wants to write stories that are easy to read and above all to interpret what these stories mean for our daily lives.
The program ended with a reading of the first story presented in the book entitled “When the world began”.
It was read by students from Murcia East Primary School, University of Negros Occidental – Recoletos and La Consolacion-Bacolod College. The story is about the famous legend of the creation of the world and the birth of the first man and the first woman.
Francisco Benitez, Ray Bantug, Armita Bantug-Rufino, the heads of Paz Marie Valenciano and representatives from different academic institutions, media friends, tour guides and visual artists also attended the book launch.
The book includes fifteen artistically illustrated myths, stories, and folk tales of Negros Island, along with an explanation of their significance to the culture of the provinces and the Philippines in general.
Given the country’s collectivist culture, Hoffarth emphasized that she embarks on a quest to capture such tales in Negros, describing the symbolic values as well as the foundations of these fifteen stories.
Hoffarth grew up in Victorias, Negros Occidental. She left her province in 1964 for college at Maryknoll College in Manila, then earned graduate degrees from Columbia University and New York University.
She is also the author of the book When Turtles Come Home: A Memoir on Life in the Philippines, and maintains a blog www.victoriahoffarth.com.