The research paper "Ubbog Ti Asin: Kuwento at Kwenta ng mga Babaeng Mannurat," of Dr. Lovella Gamponia-Velasco, a professor of the Nueva Vizcaya State University (NVSU)exposes and recognizes the contribution of literary women-writers inNueva Vizcaya.
The undocumented life and writings of women as prolific writers in Nueva Vizcaya and Cagayan Valley region inspired Dr. Lovella Gamponia-Velasco, a professor of the Nueva Vizcaya State University (NVSU) Bambang campus to focus on her research paper.
Her research paper, "Ubbog Ti Asin: Kuwento at Kwenta ng mga Babaeng Mannurat," exposes and recognizes the contribution of literary women writers in the province. It also narrates the grief of local legend mountain princess 'Yumina' due to the death of her husband Gumined. Before 'Yumina' took her life, she asked the Gods to cover their bodies with salt - so goes the gist of the legend of the Salinas Salt Spring, one of the forgotten natural attractions in Bambang.
While the spring's salt flow however was destroyed during the 1990 earthquake and has since ceased to become a tourist attraction, Velasco hopes that her research will promote women writers in the province and region.
Velasco's dissertation translated Iluko-written short stories of woman-writers in Nueva Vizcaya into Filipino language to draw more understanding and appreciation.
Her research on literary short stories of woman-writers which covered the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s were culled from the National Museum.
"Our woman-writers and their stories will now be known and they will not be anymore invisible in Philippine literature," she said.
Velasco said she drew inspiration from 'Yumina' who experienced the anguish of patriarchal society. Her silent cries were her voice to contest her fate in the male-dominated society.
She said 'Yumina' is alive among woman-writers in Nueva Vizcaya because their stories are unknown yet they are symbolic and significant.
She said women must write herself, write about women and bring women to writing since "writing is their voice so that they can be heard".
According to Velasco, women writers and their literature have displayed significant socio-cultural impact and contributed to the preservation, refinement, enrichment and general development of the Iluko dialect, literature and culture.
She added that literature is the grandeur of language and language the carrier of culture.
"The life of women writers are reflective in their short stories and are interwoven which can be subsumed that these women write to tell their stories and their stories function as medium for self-expression and self-preservation," Velasco, a college professor at NVSU's College of Arts and Sciences, added.
For her research, she received the highest Gawad Julian Balmaseda award last year, including a cash prize. The award was given by the Commission on the Filipino Language or Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) at the Bulwagang Romualdez at the KWF office in Manila.
The Gawad Balmaseda is awarded to exceptional thesis and dissertation in the fields of science, mathematics and social sciences which are written in Filipino. It is awarded annually during Julian Balmaseda Day in honor of Julian Cruz Balmaseda, the famous poet, critic and scholar in the Filipino language. Balamaseda also served as director of the Surian ng Wikang Pambansa, now the KWF.
Velasco expressed optimism that her book which will be published soon will promote women writers as one of the major foundations of the country's development.
"The recognition and empowerment of Ilocano woman-writers and their vernacular literature is a way of bringing women from the peripheries to the center," Velasco said.
Velasco said with her writings, she will be able to inspire Filipino women to be more expressive of their thoughts and feelings that can contribute to their development.
Writing may be a unique talent, but it can foster peace and understanding among peoples, she said. (PSL/MDCT/BME)
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