An Anarchist and Autonomous Community-Based Resource Center in Muntinlupa City (Manila south), Philippines
ISABELO DE LOS REYES – “It was Pedro Paterno who first called him “Father of Philippine Folklore” in 1886. Isabelo was a 21-year old graduate student in the University of Santo Tomas at the time, but already an experienced journalist, a correspondent of eminent scholars in Europe, and the battle-scarred veteran of publicity campaign to create a Folklore Filipino.”
—– William Henry Scott
Folklore as science of popular knowledge is devoted to understand local wisdom. This is useful to our effort to establish our own identity and to regain our indigenous concept of self-determination.
Currently, our modern society is ignorant with regard to the local and indigenous knowledge developed by our ancestors through the long process of social interaction and “management” of diverse ecosystems. In many occasions, folkloric wisdom is being undermined, it is treated as non-sense and irrelevant.
The following excerpts are taken from Isabelo’s “El Folklore Filipino” book:
“This is the school of folklore, from the Saxon word “folk-lore” which literally means “popular knowledge”. Its initial objective would be merely to gather legends, traditions, fables and superstitions preserved by the people, for study and comparison with other countries, to deduce theories pertinent to prehistoric man.
Later, its scope was expanded not only to serve anthropological and ethnographic research but also to enrich existing sciences such as Medicine, and perhaps, to create new ones, like Astronomy from Astrology, Chemistry from Alchemy, as the folklorist Dr. Machado y Alvarez would say. in short, folklore provides a general archive at the service of all sciences.
According to the first criterion established by Spanish folklore experts, folklore aims to gather, copy and publish. Every popular knowledge in different branches of science, (Medicine, Hygiene, Botany, Sociology, Philosophy, History, Anthropology, Archeology, Languages, etc.) proverbs, songs, riddles, tales, legends, tradition, fables, and other popular poetic and literary forms. Also included are the ways, customs, ceremonies, common entertainment and fiestas local or provicial rites, beliefs, practices, superstitions, myths and children’s games, locutions, tongue twisters, turns of phrase, special phrase of each locality, nicknames, witticisms, idiomatic expressions and children’s vocabulary, name of sites not appearing in maps, names of stones, animals and plants. In short, all the elements that constitute the temperament, knowledge and writings are considered indispensable materials in understanding and reconstructing scientifically the history and culture of a people.”