|Norma Duguiang in her classroom|
We learned the sad news that Madam Norma Odiem Duguiang joined her Maker last Dec 24, 2014 due to heart attack.. She's the hardy teacher of Lubuagan Central Elementary School who along with other fellow teachers advocated for MTBMLE long before it became a policy. She spoke in the Congress during a deliberation on a language and education policy. She was also one of the resource persons who equipped the first sets of national MTBMLE teacher trainers of the Department of Education.
In 2009-2010, I would bring my graduate class to her hometown to observe the MLE classes in Lubuagan Central Elementary School and Mabilong Elementary School.
Madam Norma would open her home to us. It's actually the ancestral house of the Odiems, a traditional three level wooden structure with so many spacious rooms. She would tell us stories behind the Kalinga artifacts that are displayed all over their place. She would point to the large pots saying that their women would use them to draw water from the river. The beautiful multicolored beads that adorned their necks were made of expensive ceramic material. They would make replicas out of recycled plastic material.
Our favorite topic, of course, was the issue of language. She would express her sadness about how their young are forgetting some Lilubuagen words. “I am sad that the young people today do not know original Lilubuagen words like how we call the anahaw leaf which is alaaw. They have also forgotten the names of some indigenous kitchen utensils since they have come to prefer those plastic wares.”
|My EDFD 221 students at Madam Norma's house|
|MTBMLE Class at Lubuagan Central Elem Scl|
|MTBMLE board work in 2009|
And so the prospect of using Lilubuagen in school was something that was warmly welcomed. Using the local language has improved the performance of the school. Their ranking moved from the bottom to the top in their in the whole division of Kalinga. In a feature story on TV by Howie Severino, it was found that Lubuagan pupils even outperformed the pupils of Caloocan City, Metro Manila.
Thank you Madam Norma for opening your home to us, for showing us the reasons why our language and culture are worth remembering...