This morning, on the first day of the “Songs of Memory” international conference on epics and ballads at the Ateneo de Manila, the university launched the online version of its Philippine Epics and Ballads Archive. I’ll have more about the conference in the next week or so, but I wanted to get the word out early about the new site, because anything that helps promote and facilitate access to the stories of pre-Hispanic Philippines is something worth celebrating. The interface may be a bit clunky at the moment (the copyright PDF file is popping up on every page I access with Firefox, although Safari has no issues) but that’s a small price to pay for access to this in-depth archive, previously only available through a visit to Ateneo’s Katipunan/Loyola campus–not something convenient or feasible for many.
Here’s an image explaining the icons that appear on the left side of each page, as seen in Dr. Nicole Revel’s powerpoint presentation at this morning’s launch:
The archive is a repository for a sampling of the oral traditions of fifteen distinct linguistic groups, complied by Dr. Nicole Revel of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and a team of scholars, experts, shamans and native speakers from each group.
The page for each group will have links to collections of scholarly articles, images, and videos, in addition to audio files of the epics/ballads, and transcripts of translations in the work’s native language, and in English, Filipino, and/or French.
I don’t think I need to state how helpful this online archive is for anyone interested in Philippine myth and history, particularly for speculative fiction writers like myself. A hearty thank you to Dr. Revel and her team, as well as the Ateneo de Manila, not just for preserving parts of our intangible heritage, but for being forward-looking enough to take advantage of technology in order to ensure that this heritage can be accessible to a wider audience.
Please do spread the word!