Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Alternate Universes

My name is Ruben Santos Cuyugan. According to common usage I would be called a Filipino. But I reject the word Filipino. Why should my tribal name perpetuate the name and memory of a European tyrant? To describe myself I would prefer as an interim measure "Austronesian, native of Luzon Island in an archipelago in the South China Sea." Linguistically I belong to a group called the Kapangpangan. But my identity is more complicated than that. To begin with I speak Tagalog. But my father was Kapangpangan, my mother Bikol, of a linguistic group called Buhi, who live on the shores of a lake called Buhi.
My name is a composite of Ruben and Santos -- of Spanish origin -- and Cuyugan, a Kapangpangan name which means, a place which has Kuyug fish. Kuyug also means "friend" in Kapangpangan.