The dream of Darapilan

By Rex Catubig


(Note: This is an updated version of my opening remarks at the Darapilan Art Exhibition held in conjunction with the National Arts Month at the so-called Saudi Building in DCNHS campus in February 2020).

THERE’S a poem by Langston Hughes inscribed on a flexiglass divider at the I-105/ Aviation Green Line Station ramp in Los Angeles, where I would wait regularly for my bus home after work.

Titled DREAM DEFERRED, it reads:
” What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–and then run?
Does it stink like a rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?”

The vivid imagery shook me up from my stupor and spoke to the dream I’ve kept, in the vernacular language of my soul:

Anto kasi pangmaliway kogkogip ya insinop ey?
Namagaan ta yan singa inkaling ya sira?
Odino onsiltong yan aliling toy pelsa–insan ed satan man-nena?
Ombanget kasi yan singa pinmangson karne?
O onggaer yan singa pakasyat–insan onlipuan singa politipot?
Siguro, onkesneg yan singa ambelat ya balkot.
O no andi bilang, ag kasi ya onpaltog?”

Like the wishful thought of kindred spirits among the Dagupeños, the dream that has lain dormant over the years, is for the community to treasure its legacy of excellence by providing a repository of its arts and culture–the collective expressions of its quintessential identity and ideals.

The long neglected building that was once planned as the city’s civic center could have been the matrix and crucible that would have nurtured and awakened the dormant dream. But there were hurdles along the way that impeded the dream to push on.

But should the roadblocks be cleared and the opportunity again arise and recreate the dream into a viable vision, it would without a doubt become a proud monument of the great Dagupan spirit.
Commerce and industry has defined our city’s progress; but ultimately, it is arts and culture that would exemplify the quality of that progress.

That afternoon we gathered, we welcomed you to our Darapilan—a symbolic mill of dreams. The name derives from the vintage sugar mill that processes and refines sugar cane into various sugar confections. Like its namesake, this present-day Darapilan seeks to transform our raw dreams and aspirations into a dynamic testament of creative spirit.

After the pandemic that held us captive and put a hold on our lives, we enjoin you yet again to dream with us, to rekindle the spirit of that deferred dream, and share the task of igniting it into a glorious creative explosion.

There is only one Dagupan, we are Dagupan, and together we should strive to restore and revitalize the mill of dreams and produce a continuing legacy of greatness.

The battle cry of our forefathers who dreamed and founded our city, reverberates throughout the years. It comes on loud and strong so that we may hear and remember: “Sigue Dagupan! Aliguas Dagupan! “

“Say kogip mo et sian kogip ko! Saksakey so kogip tin sinansakey.”

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