Kapampangan Identity

On a supposedly full day, while having my morning coffee under my macopa tree, my fingers typed “Tantingco, Kapampangan” on Google. I guess, in an unconscious way, I wanted to reread Robby Tantingco’s past Peanut Gallery articles about Kapampangans because in a few days, I’ll be starting the process of establishing a residence away from Indung Kapampangan.

I fell in love with the sea. If it weren’t for that large body of water which is just but a few steps away from the family’s residential lot, that province will not have captured my fascination.

I never tire of hearing the crashing of the waves on the shore. But I constantly longed for the sound of the Kapampangan language.

I never tire of staring at the vast expanse of the water. But I constantly longed for a glimpse of Mount Arayat.

I wasn’t born here thus Pampanga is not my Indung Ibatan (land of birth). I did not grow up here thus it is not my Indung Tibuan (land where one grew up). I started to learn the language during my late teens thus it is not my Amanung Sisuan (suckled language/mother tongue).

But I am Kapampangan. My heart and my soul is Kapampangan. Reading the written Kapampangan and reading about Kapampangans and Pampanga makes my heart swell with love and pride. Always.

I am not very fluent in Kapampangan and my thought processes are mostly still stuck in English but the desire to fully express myself using the Kapampangan language is always uppermost which results in my code mixing for I oftentimes find myself not knowing the appropriate words in Kapampangan that will fully convey what the English words that my brain comes up with.

I know and I feel that I will never be seen or accepted as a real Kapampangan by real Kapampangans. I do not really belong. I am simply someone who came here, lived here, built a family here, and learned the language. I guess some may say it doesn’t matter but in my hearts of hearts, I still get hurt during those instances of intended or unintended ‘snubs.’

More than half of my life I have spent cradled in the arms of Indung Kapampangan but I still am referred to by some as “Itang Tagalug a mapaninglis.” I only said ‘”thanks” after I received what I was buying plus my change from the store owner. It happened more than two decades ago. It happened during my first few weeks in this province.

It hurts when I am still addressed in Tagalog even if I reply to them in complete Kapampangan sentences. And when I use a Kapampangan word that has been dropped in modern everyday use in lieu of a Tagalog word that has been adapted to sound like Kapampangan, I get strange looks and told off in using such a deep word.

Those instances make me question my own love for their Amanung Sisuan. Who am I to care more for their language? It hurts more and makes me question myself more when things like that happen and the participants are people who are close to me and I consider family.

Tantingco said in one of his articles, “Kapampangan is a cultural, not political, term. You can’t call yourself Kapampangan just because you vote in Pampanga or you pay your taxes in Pampanga. You are Kapampangan because that’s what you are and what your ancestors were, regardless of the historical circumstances that rearranged the borders of the province and separated you from it.”

I am Kapampangan because that is what I feel I am. I am Kapampangan because Pampanga is my home. I am Kapampangan because I carry the blood of my maternal grandfather who was a full-blooded Kapampangan. I am Kapampangan no matter where I may go or whatever language I may use or what the majority of my blood is.

Pusu’t caladdua cu, Capampangan cu. (In my heart and in my soul, I am Kapampangan.

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