I have heard people uttering that change is the only permanent thing in this world. According to Arthur Schopenhauer, “Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.” Change, a six-letter word that is contextually rich. It can be a change in one’s life, in one’s clothes, or in one’s own perspective. It can also be about a transition or conversion. Alteration is also change. It can happen anytime and anywhere. It is somewhat a surprise for some and expected for others. Socially, people tend to change. Traditions, values and customs often correspond to the present trends and to what are contemporary. Our customary suffered a lot from change. Many of our traditions were changed to cope up with the advent of acculturation and enculturation of our conquerors.
Our country is rich with traditions, values and customs that we can really be proud of. Traditions are beliefs, opinions and stories that are handed down to from our ancestors. As other races describe us, we are hospitable, warm and cordial, the characteristics that are part of our tradition, taught and handed down to us by our parents. Our richness in tradition is very evident in our literatures. Regionally, from Ilocos, Pangasinan and Pampanga, these traditions, values and customs are celebrated in literatures in the form of myths, legends, proverbs, epic, poetry, and prose narratives. In the Ilocos Region, tradition spells social stability. Ilocanos sacrificed social stability for change. They embraced it and it has taken the form of revolution and struggle against our conquerors. They have also learned to fight against the social problems like discrimination. Ilocano literatures are known for their love for Ilocos. It is their tradition to paint a picture of what it is like to be an Iluko. For the Ilukos, the craft of writing is their social responsibility. The Pangasinan literatures however presented the traditions of marriage and the bequest of talisman. In the province, the celebration of marriage in the olden times is usually a week but nowadays it is just a day or two. Also, even though you are not of close relations with the bride or groom, you can come and feast with them. But today, only those who are invited can dine and celebrate with the couple. In the case of the talisman, during the olden times, it was believed to be brought to life by supernatural beings. Today, due to religious intervention, talismans are not as powerful as it used to be.
Change is very vital for development and it allows people to grow and not be stagnant. Change is good but sometimes it can also be bad. As for the traditions, change is not merely negative. Traditions, even though it is vulnerable to change, should still be preserved. Traditions of families and communities today are the beacon of the past. Our past is etched in our tradition so neglecting our tradition means neglecting the past. Just as Heraclitus said, “All is flux; nothing stays still.”
*This essay was written for my Literatures of the Philippines course back in 2010.