Vicente Sotto Lecture 2022 September

| February 27, 2024

VSLS 2022 Borrinaga“Isog as Virtue in Bisayan Cultural History”
Dr. George Emmanuel R. Borrinaga

This lecture explores the continuities and changes in the conceptualization and practice of the cultural value of isog (ferocity/courage/bravery) across different historical periods and in relation to changing and accumulating group identities in the Visayas. Analyzing identity-based expressions and actions through a “history of sensibilities”, it examines how isog and related concepts were defined and acted upon in the colonial and post-colonial periods as documented in sources such as chronicles, ethnographies, official reports, historical/cultural essays, poems, songs, proverbs, among others. It seeks to trace the enduring significance of the isog value in the face of colonization/Christianization, the rise of anti-colonial nationalism, and post-World War II globalization/outmigration. Each of these periods generated new identities and transformed local practices and beliefs. However, these outsider-imposed identities were often paralleled by local identifications expressed through isog-denoting cultural identity labels that had originally been pejorative labels but were subsequently appropriated and repurposed to suit group survival needs (e.g., Bisaya-Cristianos as Pintados; Pilipinhon/Filipinos as Pulahan; Samar-Leyte Bisayans as Waray-Waray). It will argue that, despite major changes in the core beliefs and values of the Visayans across time, isog has remained a central virtue in contemporary Bisayan society and its plural identities owing to the multiplicity and frequency of overlapping social and environmental adversities in one of the most hazard-prone and repeatedly-colonized countries in the world.

Date: September 24, 2022

Category: Vicente Sotto Lecture Series