Friday, May 5, 2017

Origin of 'Marinduque' and the Tagalog we speak on this island




The origin of the name, "Marinduque", has been the subject of discussions and thought-provoking conjectures.

Fr. Miguel Bernad in a brief account commented on the origin of the names of a number of places in the Philippines, among which was Marinduque. He said that "Malinduk (or Malindik) is now Marinduque." Explaining that there are provinces, towns and villages whose modern names have been the result of some inability on the part of the Spaniards (or of others), to pronounce the original native name.

F. Arsenio Manuel (of the former National Historical Institute), who conducted a study of place-names, made an interesting one on the origin of 'Marinduque'. He said that 'Marinduque' could not have originated from Malinduk or Malindik but rather from "MALINDUG". 

This he said, has historical implication, for the word "malindig" which means "tall and elegant stature" in Tagalog has similar if not parallel meaning to the Visayan term "malindug". These were two cognate terms, Manuel wrote in the study, which fittingly describe the island's volcano, Mt. Malindig.



As for the probability that the Visayan term used as basis for naming the mountain and not the Tagalog word, accounts of early Visayan migration to the island would appear to support this view. The Dasmarinas listing of encomiendas in 1751 already spelled Marinduque in this manner, wrote he. 

Manuel explained further that the phonetic hispanization of Malindug followed the Spanish phonetic system. Spanish does not tolerate the voiced velar stop "g" in its phonology. In Morga's Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas and other Spanish chronicles for example, the term for 'loincloth' is spelled 'bahaque'. This spelling and its Spanish pronunciation follows Spanish phonetic laws - 'bahag' becoming 'bahaque'.

This change according to him also appears to have happened to "Palanyag" which became "Paranaque", with additional change taking place, the "l" becoming "r", again following Spanish phonetic tendencies. This "l" - "r" 'spin shift' is, of course, also evident in 'Marinduque'.

Hence, the legend of Marinduque as having resulted from the romance of "Marin" and "Duque", the ill-starred lovers of a popular local myth cannot have any value in historical writing nor folklore studies, stated Manuel. This, he opined, was just another instance of 'folk-etymologising'.

Malindig Volcano's Maculilis crater. Photo: Morion Mountaineers Santa Cruz

In 2002, as a volunteer cultural worker I decided to call the theater group I formed in Buenavista, "Teatro Malindug", for that town lies at the foot of the subject volcano. I spent sometime, of course, explaining to the cast (students from the Marinduque Victorian's College), that we owe it to our ancestors to preserve that forgotten name. A year later, the college initiated a festival they called 'Malindug Festival' as a way of generating environmental consciousness in the beautiful town of Buenavista with focus on Mt. Malindig and its foothills.

The MALINDUG name wasn't new to me, though. I first encountered the same explanation from a research paper given to me by the late Ding Jardiniano of Boac back in 1993, in connection with a play I was writing entitled "Saan Nanggaling ang Moryon", that we presented as "Moryonan" Isang Baliktanaw." 

The said research paper (there was a dearth of such at that time so we valued anything and everything about Marinduque), was authored by another person (Jardiniano told me then that he knew that guy personally), but it wasn't Manuel. 

However, in 1997, I had the chance to participate in the Conference on Local History sponsored by the National Historical Institute (NHI) held in Makiling, That's where I met Manuel and he freely distributed copies of his work entitled: "Marinduque: A Study of Place Names" - an identical copy of the same document I encountered in 1993. And so I took note to change the attribution promptly to that of Mr. Manuel as obviously the other guy just stole his work. 

(I was aware at that time that the previous 'author', also from NHI, earlier figured in the loss of the famous Bonifacio trial papers and sale of other historical documents and was promptly jailed. It isn't far-fetched that he just copied Manuel's paper and claimed authorship. I happen to be aware that even on this small island-province, this kind of practice also happens. Anyway, in 2004, Manuel was declared as National Artist for Literature).

Then, in 2000, former Balangaw member Patrick Henry R. Manguera, who decided to take up a Master's Degree in History at the University of the Philippines, after some discussions on our local history, sent me a mimeographed copy of a 1923 (repeat 1923), article on Boak Tagalog, written by a CECILIO LOPEZ, of the University of the Philippines. It gave me a surprise, almost startled by its implications. The said article was reprinted in 1970 also in mimeographed form for distribution.


Cecilio Lopez, Father of Philippine Linguistics

Excerpts from the Lopez paper:

"A few words may here be said regarding the derivation of the name Marinduque, a word around which the same kind of regrettable, because superficial and erroneous etymologyzing and inventive story-telling has sprung up which is indulged in, nowadays, by only too many of my countrymen who seem to have allowed themselves to be guided away from that historical sincerity which true patriotism should dictate to them.

"The name in question has nothing to do with a Mary, and a Spanish duke ('duque'), but can be shown to be derived from the name of a high and particularly steep mountain on the island, called Malindig.

"In old chronicles the name of the island occurs in such varying forms as Malinduc, Marinducq, Marinduc, Malindic, and Malindig, forms quite evidently to be analyzed into the well-known 'adjectival' prefix 'ma-' denoting chiefly existence, and a radical word, or stem, occuring in Tagalog as 'lindig', in Bikol as 'lindog' or 'lindug', the second vowel of both forms (i.e. Tag. 'i', Bik. 'o' or 'u'), going back, in accordance with the so-called 'pepet law', to the indistinct vowel 'e'. 

"The change of the first sound of the stem, 'l', to 'r' is likewise in consonance with a common Indonesian phonetic law, while the conversion of final 'g' into the Spanish ending 'que' finds an exact parallel in the case of the town Paranaque on Manila Bay, which in Tagalog is called Palanyag. Note, in this connection, also the fluctuation of the last sound of the name Boac which is given by Buzeta y Bravo (Diccionario geografico de las Islas Filipinas) as 'Boac o Boag'.


How Marinduque (island in the center) is shown in the 1734 map of Fr. Pedro Murillo de Velarde


"The stem 'lindig occurs, according to Noceda y Sanlucar, in the new obsolete Tagalog word 'maglindig', meaning 'rising up straight so as not to be covered by the water', while for the Bikol form 'lindog' Marcos de Lisboa states quite clearly that it means 'monte muy alto y derecho', both forms embodying thus the idea of English 'steep, towering'."


After further research, I came to learn that Cecilio Lopez was known as the 'Father of Philippine Linguistics', and his works have not been squarely contested by anyone. I love and admire Lopez. Why? Listen to his expert remarks made after a very thorough study of Boak Tagalog (he spelled it that way but that's really 'Marinduque Tagalog', in my view):

"When listening to a conversation between people belonging to the speech-group here in question, a native from the country around Manila is likely to receive the impression that Boak Tagalog is simpler, more imperfect form of his own more highly developed speech, an impression comparable to that experienced under similar circumstances by an Englishman, German, or Frenchman, when listening to one of the different dialects spoken in his country. 

"We should not forget, however, that altho they have followed a different development, such provincial forms of speech have been originally the roots, or among the roots, from which modern national forms have sprung, and that in them may, therefore, be found remnants of the more archaic speech of our forefathers, remnants long forgotten by our modern parlance but nevertheless of great interest to the linguist".


Teatro Balangaw's 'Mara Unduk' 1997, with Mt. Malindig in the background 

Wala na si Cecilio Lopez pero mahalaga baya ito hindi lamang sa mga mag-aaral ng salita o wika, kundi higit para sa mga Marinduqueno, ang naisulat niyang ito. Talaga laang. Galaw-galaw mo, ang Boak Tagalog (na Marinduque Tagalog din ngani) ang pinag-ugatan, o isa sa pinag-ugatan ng Tagalog at inasalita pa rin natin ngay-on, at doon pa mismo maririnig ang mga sinaunang pananalita ng 'ating' ('ating' bilang Filipino, dahil hindi naman naging taga Marinduque si Lopez, ha, para maghabi ng kwento kundi magsabi ng totoo), ating mga ninuno! 


Isipa raw maigi!

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