The Birth of an Island: Oral Narratives of Solferino Borinaga (78764)

Session Information: First Nations and Indigenous Peoples
Session Chair: Jorisse Gumanay

Saturday, 25 May 2024 15:15
Session: Session 4
Room: Room 708
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

The island of Pilar in Camotes, Cebu is steeped in the folktales surrounding Solferino Borinaga, also known as “Kapitan Perong Pak-an”, the flying swordsman. Only a handful of people possess knowledge about Solferino’s exploits, and very little is known about the man. No records of his life survive, yet he is considered a hero through oral narratives alone. He was a fearsome leader who fought against the Moro pirates in pre-colonial Philippines. He founded a community in the early 1800s in an islet that was then called Palawan. A prodigious warrior, he was among the earliest practitioners of eskrima. Armed with a lampirong (the Visayan’s barong blade), he successfully defended Palawan. His prowess encouraged inhabitants from neighboring islands to move to Palawan, turning the settlement into a town. Soon, Martin, his son, took over Palawan and renamed it after his wife. It’s now called Pilar, one of the municipalities in the Camotes islands of Cebu. Today, stories and legends of Solferino’s daring, strange exploits in battle continue to resound among the older islanders of Pilar, but the younger generations are unaware of the heroism that lies beneath their island’s history. This paper aims to reconstruct what is known of Solferino’s life—his leadership, heroism, and myth—through oral narratives, summing up a portrait of the man behind the legend. Through the cultural mapping technique, this study weaves the stories of Solferino into one coherent whole, establishing an intangible cultural heritage to give back to the people of Pilar.

Jorisse Gumanay, University of the Philippines Cebu, Philippines

About the Presenter(s)
Jorisse Gumanay is an Assistant Professor at the College of Communication, Art, and Design at the University of the Philippines Cebu. She is currently working on her dissertation for her PhD in Literary Studies at Silliman University.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00