14 August 2021, Vientiane - As part of its Buwan ng Wika activities, the Philippine Embassy in Vientiane invited Adarna House Senior Storyteller Earle Figuracion to perform one of the most beloved children’s stories, “Si Pagong at si Matsing”, to Filipino children in Laos.
Before the read-along, Adarna House Vice President Agno Almario gave the story behind the story of “Si Pagong at si Matsing”, which can be traced back to Jose Rizal.
“‘Si Pagong at si Matsing’ is a fable or panitikang bayan which was first documented by Jesuit priest Ignacio Alcina (1610-1674) in the Visayas. The story has six different versions, the most famous of which is the one published by Jose Rizal in Trübner’s Oriental Record in July 1889. This is why we celebrate National Children’s Book Month in July because we consider the publication of ‘Si Pagong at si Matsing’ as the beginning of Philippine children’s literature”, Agno shared.
The story is about a turtle (Pagong) and a monkey (Matsing) who argue over which part of the banana tree would grow if planted. They cut the tree in half with Pagong getting the lower half and Matsing getting the upper half. While Pagong is able to grow his part of the tree which eventually bears fruit, Monkey tricks him by eating all the fruit. In the end, Pagong outsmarts Matsing.
Over a dozen Filipino children were delighted by Earle’s storytelling. They actively participated in his question and answer portion and were given copies of the book by the Embassy.
As part of reading promotion in the Filipino language, Chargé d’affaires Rapunzel Acop invited the children to visit the Sentro Rizal at the Embassy or to read Filipino stories at www.buribooks.com.END