Theoretical Advances in the Discourse of Indigenization

Posted on May 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

Theoretical Advances in the Discourse of Indigenization by S. Lily Mendoza is a journal article and I think that it is important to share here at Baybayin Alive because it gives background on Sikolohiyang Pilipino and the indigenization movement in the Philippines.

Theoretical Advances in the Discourse of Indigenization by S. Lily L. Mendoza

Mga babasahin sa agham panlipunang Pilipino : sikolohiyang Pilipino, pilipinolohiya, at pantayong pananaw. Eds Atoy Navarro; Flordeliza Lagbao- Bolante. Quezon City : Published and distributed by C & E Pub., 2007. (Rough translation: Readings on Philippine national research/sciences: Filipino psychology, pilipinology, and indigenous worldview).

Out of the initially uncoordinated and scattered moves to revamp theorizing within the Western-introduced academic disciplines in the Philippine academy, three programmatic narratives emerged from the disciplines of psychology, anthropology, and history, notably, Sikolohiyang Pilipino, Pilipinolohiya, and Pantayong Pananaw, respectively.  I take them here as part of a single discursive formation, each working from the same principles of valuing pagsasarili (self-determination) and pagtahak ng sariling landas tungo sa kabansaan (“charting an autonomous path toward nation- or people-hood”).  Together, they offer what appears to be the first organized,  comprehensive, and programmatic challenge to the long-standing hegemony of colonial theorizing in the disciplines beginning in the period of the late 1970s and reaching a fuller maturation toward the latter half of the 1980s to the present.  To date, all three discourses seem to have succeeded in attaining a certain measure of hegemony, not without their share of momentary setbacks and capitulations, but overall, managing to give force and direction to what heretofore had been mostly scattered, diffused critiques of colonization within Philippine higher education.

One of the interesting paragraphs in this paper is about Baybayin healing:

Healing modality is one very important function of the Baybayin Script. Women in the old times were better adept to the Syllabary because of this specific need. A fresh leaf (usually banana) is passed over fire before Baybayin Scripts are written and applied on the skin of patients. Babaylan Tita of Majayjay and Lola Anisya of Luisiana (both in Laguna) still practice this method but uses mixed script forms and paper instead of leaves. Baybayin Healing is still very much alive today

Fig 10: Mother of Lola Anisya (106 yrs old)

I am a proponent of coming to understand and use baybayin as a tool to become familiar with how our Filipino ancestors thought. I first learned of using baybayin as such a tool from my fellow artists and Baybayin enthusiasts Ann Ubaldo (when she taught me the deeper meaning of “Bahala” and “Bathala” rendered in baybayin, more info here) and Bing Veloso (when i studied her baybayin cards).

Indigenization is indeed a process of understanding that our ancestors are kapwa, becoming reconnected with our ancestors in spirit, and reclaiming an indigenous worldview that all things have meaning and that all of Life is sacred and interconnected (also see Pakikipagkapwa and shared identity).

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