Íkami (About Us)
The Ágúman Sínúpan Singsing, Inc. and the Center for Kapampángan Cultural Heritage Center
The Ágúman Sínúpan Singsing, Inc. is a non-government organization that established, runs and directs the programs of the Sínúpan Singsing: Center for Kapampángan Cultural Heritage. It is an organization that is duly approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It was established by a group of Kapampángan cultural heritage advocates and scholars led by Michael Raymon Táyag-Manalóto Pángilinan and Alegria Táyag-Lansang Cruz.
Michael Raymon Táyag-Manalóto Pángilínan, then better known by his indigenous Kapampángan name, Siuálâ ding Meángûbié, and by his popular name, Mike Pángilínan, is an internationally renowned resource person and scholar on Kapampángan Studies who has devoted most of his life in the research and documentation of Kapampángan language, history and culture. He presented several papers on various international linguistic conferences, albeit the only scholar without a linguistic degree who is accepted and respected by experts in the field. He also wrote a book on the indigenous Kapampángan script, Kulitan. In 2010 he received the prestigious Most Outstanding Kapampángan Awards (MOKA) for Culture from the government and people of the province of Pampanga. He was invited to become a visiting professor at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS) in 2013 and was given a brief postgraduate scholarship in Linguistics at the Heinrich Heine Universität in Düsseldorf, Germany in 2014. In 2016, he received the lifetime achievement award, Talasínup king Singsing (Keepers of Heritage), from the government and people of Angeles City for his life long work on the Kapampángan Language and Script, Kulitan. He was instrumental in writing the Local Language Code of Angeles City (Ordinance No. 424, s.2017) that declared Kapampángan an official language of the city and institutionalized its use in all sectors.
Alegria Táyag-Lansang Cruz, better known as Joy Cruz, is Angeles City’s indefatigable cultural heritage champion. Working as the executive director of the Muséo ning Ángeles, Joy has helped in the revival of Angeles City’s living traditions and cultural art scene. She is also very passionate in saving and protecting Angeles City’s built heritage and was very instrumental in drafting Angeles City’s Heritage Code and the establishment of Angeles City’s Heritage District. The Angeles City government saw it fit to absorb Joy Cruz into its fold under the Angeles City Tourism Office (ACTO) in order to form and head the Heritage Division that was tasked to maintain and manage Angeles City’s Heritage District and implement its Heritage Code. An expert in conflict management, Joy Cruz was able to create a working partnership with the local government and cultural advocates who have always distrusted the government. This resulted in the formation of the Culture and Arts Council of Ángeles (CACA) in 2013, which is a partnership between the local government and the local artists, and the Sídduan ning Kabiasnan Kapampángan (Institute for Kapampángan Studies)in 2016, an alternative private institution on Kapampángan Studies supported by the local government. Sídduan was headed by Michael Raymon Táyag-Manalóto Pángilínan, a known cultural activist who was very critical of the government’s lack of support for Kapampángan language and culture. Through Joy Cruz, the city government of Angeles City, then headed by its mayor, Atty. Edgardo Pámintuan, was able to show its sincerest commitment to the protection and promotion of Kapampángan cultural heritage.
The Sídduan ning Kabiasnan Kapampángan (Institute for Kapampángan Studies) operated at the Angeles City Library from 2016 October 1 to 2018 September 30. It was a private institution within a public institution ran by the Ágúman Kabiasnan Kapampángan (Kapampángan Studies Society), a group of volunteer scholars and researchers on Kapampángan studies who took turns giving lectures and workshops at the institute. Mike Pángilínan headed this group of volunteers who were mostly his students and colleagues.
It began as a one-man institute in 2016 where Mike Pángilínan, invited by Joy Cruz, gave regular lectures and workshops on Kapampángan Language, History and Culture that were never taught in schools. Most popular among these were the monthly lecture-workshops on the indigenous Kapampángan script, Kulitan. These were at first held in April of 2016 at the lounge of the Tourist Information and Assistance Center (TIAC) at the Angeles City Library. These lectures and workshops became so popular and the number of attendees numerous that it became necessary to provide a permanent place for the institute.
Finally in 2016 October 1, the Sídduan ning Kabiasnan Kapampángan (Institute for Kapampángan Studies) was opened to the public at the 3rd floor of the Angeles City Library. Many people contributed to make this office operational, particularly the Ágúman Súlat Kapampángan, a group of Kulitan writers headed by Eliver Tanhueco Sicat, provided the furnishings and Kulitan art works on loan, while Mrs. Herminia Pámintuan provided the projector, curtains and air conditioning unit. The city government paid for the electricity and internet and provided one administrative assistant.
Weekly lectures were held with the voluntary assistance of Mike Pangilinan’s colleagues at home and abroad as well as former students. They later formed the Ágúman Kabiasnan Kapampángan (Kapampángan Studies Society).
The first to give a lecture at Sídduan was his former professor at the Archaeological Studies Programme at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, the renowned and most outstanding (MOKA) Kapampángan archaeologist Dr. Eusebio Z. Dizon of the National Museum of the Philippines.
Linguist Kevin Bätscher of the University of Hawaii, French geographer JC Gaillard of Auckland University, and Philippine historian and vlogger Kirby Táyag-Pábalan Araullo of the University of California-Davis became Sídduan’s regular international visiting lecturers.
Regular local lecturers included Most Outstanding Kapampángan Awardee (MOKA) for Education, Cecile Yumul; Most Outstanding Kapampángan Awardee (MOKA) for the Arts, Norman Tiotuico; and Edwin Navarro Camáya of DILA (Defenders of the Indigenous Languages of the Archipelago).
Other guest lecturers included Ian Christopher Alfonso of the National Historical Commission, Lily Mendoza of Oakland University in Michigan and Richard Aquino of the Auckland University of Technology and local artists Andy Alviz, a Most Outstanding Kapampángan Awardee (MOKA) for the Arts who is a Kapampángan pop songwriter and composer of ArtiSta.Rita, and Kapampángan liturgical songwriter and composer, Cris Cadiang.
In 2017, the Sídduan ning Kabiasnan Kapampángan (Institute for Kapampángan Studies) became instrumental in drafting the Local Language Code of Angeles City (Ordinance No. 424, s.2017) that legislated the Kapampángan language as an official language of the city that is to be used in all sectors. In October of 2018, the Kapampángan Language Services Unit was formed under the Office of the Mayor to implement the Local Language Code. Mike Pángilínan was officially hired by the city to head the program which he faithfully served from 2018 October 1 to 2020 June 30.
Earlier in March of 2018, the Widus Foundation, Inc. at Clark, through its representative Ron Golimlim, proposed to fund the creation of a cultural heritage hub for Angeles City. Joy Cruz of the Angeles City Heritage Division, Mila Narsing of the Angeles City Library, Mike Pángilínan of Sídduan ning Kabiasnan Kapampángan, Councilor Amos Rivera, head of the Committee for Culture and the Arts at the Angeles City Council, and Herminia Pamintuan as the representative of the City Mayor, Edgardo Pamintuan, met to discuss this proposal. The city’s need to have its own Kapampángan heritage center and Mike Pángilínan’s life long dream of an institute for Kapampángan studies has finally been answered. By August 2018, the establishment of the Sínúpan Singsing: Center for Kapampángan Cultural Heritage at the Angeles City Library was finalized and a Memorandum of Agreement between the parties involved was later signed. The heirs of the late Renato Katoks Táyag, who donated the property to the local government where the Ángeles City Library now stands, provided that it remains a library, has approved of its establishment. The cultural heritage center was a result of the mutual partnership between the private sector and the local government. Patterned after the Sídduan ning Kabiasnan Kapampángan, it became a public institution ran by a private non-government organization, the Ágúman Sínúpan Singsing. The city government pledged to fund its operations as part of its commitment to protect and promote Kapampángan cultural heritage, while the Widus Foundation will equip and furnish it. In March of 2019, the Sínúpan Singsing: Center for Kapampángan for Kapampángan Cultural Heritage was officially opened to the public.
Sínúpan Singsing, ‘where the ring is kept safe,’ became the core name of the non-government organization, Ágúman Sínúpan Singsing and the Sínúpan Singsing: Center for Kapampángan Cultural Heritage. These words were taken from the lyrics of the iconic Kapampángan song “Atin ku pung Singsing,” where the singsing (ring) symbolizes Kapampángan cultural heritage, while sínúpan refers to the place where it is kept safe.
The center housed the recently formed Kapampángan Language Services Unit headed by Mike Pángilínan, and the Heritage Division of the Angeles City Tourism Office led by Joy L. Cruz until her resignation on 2019 June 30. Mike Pángilinan served as Programme Head of the Kapampángan Language Services Unit from 2018 October 1 to 2020 June 30.
The regular weekly Kapampángan Studies lectures have also officially resumed at Sínúpan Singsing. Linguist Kevin Bätscher of the University of Hawaii, French geographer JC Gaillard of Auckland University and Philippine History vlogger Kirby Táyag-Pábalan Araullo of the University of California-Davis became its regular visiting international lecturers as they did for two straight years at Sídduan.
New faces at Sínúpan Singsing included Dr. Ricardo Ma. Duran Nolasco of the Department of Linguistics at the University of the Philippines and his postgraduate students who became its regular visiting lecturers from the national capital. They gave a series of weekly lectures on Kapampángan grammar and linguistics from April to June of 2019. In 2019 June 27, the Sínúpan Singsing hosted the Kapampángan leg of the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL), through the efforts of Prof. Nolasco.
Linguist Louward Zubiri of the Mangyan Heritage Center also became a regular new face at Sínúpan Singsing. Prof. Zubiri gave a basic seminar on linguistic and cultural documentation to the researchers at the center. Language activist Firth McEachern, who was instrumental in the drafting of the Local Language Code of the Province of La Union and the Local Language Code of Angeles City, also became a regular lecturer at Sínúpan Singsing. Kapampángan language activist Edwin Navarro Camáya of DILA (Defenders of the Indigenous Languages of the Archipelago) worked as a resident researcher and Kapampángan Language consultant at the center. Melanie Narciso of the University of Georgia in Atlanta also became one of Sínúpan Singsing’s visiting researchers.
Local lecturers at Sínúpan Singsing included Kapampángan language vlogger, Rey Maniago and most outstanding Kapampángan educator, Cecile Yumul were regulars at the center. Guest lecturers included vlogger and 2019 Most Outstanding Kapampángan Awardee (MOKA) for Youth Service, Jericho Arceo; entrepreneurs Allan Sampang of Wear Kapampángan and Jed Lálû of Indû; vloggers Bruno Tiotuico and Kevin Montalbo of We the LoKal; and songwriter and composer Shane Lumanog, winner of the 2018 K-Pop (Kapampángan Pop Song) Awards. Kapampángan activist in the national frontlines, Satur Ocampo, also became one of the most sensational guest lecturers at Sínúpan Singsing.
The Ágúman Sínúpan Singsing was finally duly approved by the Securities and Exchanged Commission (SEC) and officially became the Ágúman Sínúpan Singsing, Inc. (ASSI) on August 2019.
Free from their government posts, Joy Cruz and Mike Pángilínan can now work to their fullest as bona fide members and officers of the Ágúman Sínúpan Singsing, Inc. Included among the core members of the Ágúman Sínúpan Singsing, Inc. are most outstanding Kapampángan educator and environmental activist, Cecile Yumul; patron of the arts and culture and Mother of Ángeles City’s cultural revival, Herminia Pamintuan; former head of the Angeles City Tourism Office and former president of the City College of Angeles, Richard Daenos; vlogger and writer for We the LoKal, Kevin Montalbo; Kapampángan culture-bearer and Kulitan expert, Albert Jonah Medina; Kapampángan language activist Edwin Navarro Camáya of DILA (Defenders of the Indigenous Languages of the Archipelago), Kapampángan Language advocate and vlogger, Rey Maniago; Kulitan expert and developer of the Learn Kulitan App, Keith Liam Manalóto; and Philippine historian and vlogger Kirby Táyag-Pábalan Araullo.