Happy 1st anniv, karikna!

AROUND this time last year, you and I gave birth to this humble column.

While I was not exactly new to writing—having previously published my works in newspapers, books, and websites—the thrill of composing an article on a weekly basis was unparalleled.

Among all the columns written by local journalists, Riknakem has appeared most frequently and most consistently in The Ilocos Times. In the past one year, I failed to pass my weekly article but once.

I still wonder how I do it. Teaching, we all know, is a very demanding job. In addition, I also work at the media office of MMSU, carry out research projects, and serve other publications either as writer or consultant.

Of course, it is not without sacrifices. There have been many times of whole nights spent out of bed, and vacations spent in front of the computer. Having this column also meant less time for my bicycling, which I used to do during my free time.

There are times when I am tempted to miss a column, but my friend Ianree Raquel always reminds me of my responsibility to readers, and I oblige.

But, no, I am not complaining. I have never looked at writing as a burden.

But, why do I write, anyway? Of course, it’s not about money. Community papers are not exactly big on profit. I write because, along with teaching, it is the best way I know to help, as every dutiful citizen should, build a nation. It’s a bonus that writing gives me immense joy. I am thrilled with wordplay, I find meaningful the cathartic self-discovery that goes with composing and expressing my thoughts, and I feel relieved that my opinions are no longer just my own.

But writing is also potentially a lonely job. At certain points, you ask, “may nagbabasa ba?” That is why it is very reassuring when you meet people who tell you they read, even love, your column, and you know that they are not bluffing when they begin to talk about ideas and stories from your articles.

I am thus very exacting when it comes to my craft. I always strive to check on facts, to zero in on the right words, and, most importantly, to meet highest ethical standards in journalism. And yet, there are shortcomings, too, and for them I seek your understanding and forgiveness.

Jun-b Ramos, our patient Editor in Chief, knows how I barely meet the deadlines. We are supposed to pass articles every Wednesday so that Michael, his associate, can have sufficient time to do the layout. But lately, I have been passing articles, including this one, at the last minute on Fridays.

But, Jun-b is a remarkable EIC not only because of his leniency when it comes to deadlines. The best thing is that he never interferes with this column’s content. “You can write about anything,” he told me when we first met to discuss my writing for the Ilocos Times. The paper thus remains true to its role as Ilocandia’s bastion of press freedom. And it is also to Jun-b’s credit that The Ilocos Times has consistently remained in circulation, thus shedding off its old image as The Ilocos Sometimes.

The online version of Riknakem has been no less fruitful. The blog was initially meant to be just an online storage for my articles, but it has evolved to something more.

In cyberspace and in flesh, I have the privilege of meeting several readers, foremost of them is Lolita Bareng Chestnut of New Hampshire, USA (originally from Batac). Tita Lita, the most active blog visitor, has reacted to all my blog posts, and has written around a thousand comments. Then there’s Donna of The Netherlands, Don of Iraq, Gerry of Canada, Jen of Manila, Byron of San Juan (MM), Mars of Kalinga, Renato Dumlao of Currimao, the Ramorans of Bangui, Taylans of Dingras, Cajigals of Badoc, ad infinitum.

Articles from Riknakem have also been reposted in other blogs and circulated in online mailing groups.

Four articles in the Filipino language have appeared in this column, and they are among the most read and most reacted to. I continue to dream to be able to write in Iluko, and that I will do before we turn two.

It is a good thing that I have access to blog statistics which give me an idea of what articles are most frequently read, the links that lead visitors to my blog, and a geographical profile of my readers.

Based on stat reports, the blog registers at least a hundred visitors per day, and has catered to at least 10,000 web users on its first year. Not bad at all.

The most read article is “Pitaka ng pag-asa: Isang pagpupugay kay Leoncio Pagtama at sa lahat ng tulad niya,” which tackles the refreshing honesty of Pinoys in the face of poverty. Pagtama is a janitor in our school, who, on several occasions, returned lost money and things. He is increasingly becoming an internet phenomenon. Try to google “katapatan at kagandahang loob” and the results will lead you to articles written about him.

Coming in close second is “Agosto: Buwan ng Lip Service (patuloy ang pagdedma sa mga katutubong wika),” sought after by students and researchers on the use of the mother tongue.

“Pretentious and Meaningless: Pamulinawen Festival kicks off,” which lashed at the February festivities in Laoag, stands at third. I have written two other articles on the subject, “No to Beauty Pageants and Political Invocations,” and “Hitler’s Visit, Unbearable Speeches, Amazing Ms. Laoag, and Other Notes on Pamulinawen Festival 2009.”

“Why the National Anthem Should Precede the Invocation in Secular Gatherings,” which sparked fiery debates among blog readers, grabbed the fourth spot, with “Legalize Marijuana,” read by Internet users from 28 countries, at fifth.

“Portrait of a Writer as Ilocano: A Tribute to Zosimo Ma. Pablico,” which tackles the life and times of a fellow columnist who went to the Great Beyond last April, and “Pockets of Redemption,” a photo-essay on the little things my students do to make the world a better place, are in sixth and seventh places, respectively.

“Mga Larawan sa Maharot na Dilim,” written by my student Cherry Gatiw-an, which I featured in a two-part series, was the eighth most read. Offering inputs on how to make Ilocos Norte a bicycle-friendly province, “Pedaling our way through the crisis” ranked ninth, and completing our top ten is “Gloria as Obama’s mentor,” my commentary on Malacañang’s hilarious claim that the charismatic US president stands to learn from the bemoled queen.

When I wrote articles that criticized the church, starting off with “Slap the Bishops,” people thought I was anti-church, in the same breath that some City Hall supporters branded me as “a minion of the capitol” because of my stance on a couple of issues. It’s good that readers begin to consider your karikna, neither as enemy nor as minion of any person or institution, but simply as a dreamy writer who pursues, with no fear or favor, a future less unfair, less unjust, and less inhumane.

Yet the most rewarding experience for me is not that my column has earned a captive audience, it is that budding writers, by reading my articles, have been encouraged to nurture their passion for the written word, and to continue to hone their gifts.

Eaglepower, a young reader, frequently visits my blog where he posts well-crafted comments. I always encouraged him to write essays, but he had been hesitant, saying that he was not confident.

The other day, however, Eaglepower sent me two essays that show healthy doses of inquisitiveness, idealism, and bravado, reminiscent of my early years in writing.

And so I will carry on with my work, no matter that a journalist’s job is not without serious dangers, and no matter that government is inutile in curbing the attacks on members of media.

Because first anniversaries are always special, allow me to say, at the risk of being too cheesy: thank you, dear karikna, and ’til next week.

Author: Herdy La. Yumul

A hesitant academic pimp, writer

30 thoughts on “Happy 1st anniv, karikna!”

  1. thank you for acknowledging my comments and although we have our arguments and discords sometimes, i enjoy getting your reactions.happy one year anniversary may you have more to come.i have learned a lot from your column not only facts of life but words that i do not understand you had been more than patient translating….you are an asset herdy..

  2. Thanks for the acknowledgment Herdy!! I may just be one of ur recent visitor but still u treated me indifferently.

    I can say,, i am magnetized by ur own unique way of sharing ur views and ideas,, keep it up!!

  3. happy first year anniversary!may you be an instrument of truth and fairness!we are so happy for you and for your unending love to your karikna’s.btw,keep it up and my ardent prayers for your so many endeavors.cheers!(uray basi an-annusan ta lattan nga itungga).good luck!
    from your karikna’s here in toronto

  4. herdy,i forgot, please extend my condolences to the family of our dear neighbor manang aida.my ardent prayers…..

  5. Makipagragsakak ta maysan a tawen daytoy kolumyo. kongrats, Apo Yumul. Sapay koma ta saan laeng a maysa ti magtengna daytoy– no di ket adu a tawen a kabinnulig dagiti umay pay a karit ti panawen.

    Kayatko laeng nga inayon– wenno aturen koma ti pasetna ti kolumyo a: Because first year anniversaries are always special,.. redundancy no kua daytoy, Apo Yumul. rumbeng koma a: first anniversary.

    1. Wen, usto, redundant talaga. Dios ti agngina.

      Mapadayawanak, Apo Nesperos, iti inka panangkablaaw. Sapay koma ta makasursuroakton nga agsurat ti usto nga Iluko.

  6. Herdy…congratulations!!! Nabayag nga diak nag post ti commenten ngem dinak met pay latta nalipatan…thanks. Still love reading your blog. Sadut nak lang ngamin no dadduma nga ag-comment.

    Nagkita kayo kano met kenni tita lita? Chatted with her a few days ago.

    1. hey, manang donna. ok lang, thank you. Nagkita kamin ni Tita Lita idiay Batac. Am inviting her to an event in MMSU next week. We have an exhibit on Politics and Youth, and we’re inviting her to serve as judge.

  7. ty sa pag acknowledge hehehe. if im not mistaken, pangalawang beses mo na na mention name ko sa mga columns mo, the first time was nung nasa trinity ka pa at nag tuturo ka ng sociology dun, sabi mo sakin bili ako ng newspaper kasi may papabasa ka sakin.

    congrats sa first year anniversary mo!

    1. Her insarabasab was excellent, and her paksiw sinfully delicious.
      The carinderia was always so cramped with sweating costumers, you could hardly move, but it’s all part of the experience. Her son manages it now.

  8. Its been a long time Sir,

    First of all CONGRATULATIONS (belated)

    Again, don’t loose that heart and fire to educate and enlighten others…

    Keep Writing!!!! 😉

    sayang I dont have time to visit there and to meet tita Lita…

  9. today is going to be a rainy day.i annot stand anymore of this rain!!!when i went for my daily walk it was just drizzling .around my route i saw amongst all the big houses in that area there is a small hut and there was an “atong”signifying there was a dead person in the house so i stopped by and luckily i have always money in my pocket in my jogging pants from the other night that i was able to share them.i went to church after and thank GOD THAT WE ARE SOOO LUCKY AND BLESSED WITH OUR HEALTH AND WHAT WE HAVE AND LIVE COMFORTABLY…again i thankGOD for all of the joys in my life and can help the poor..and my parents for working hard all of their lives so all their children can finish school.november 8 we will be remembering my mom’s 1 year death anniversary then i will be back in the states…

  10. we have the right to know the happenings in our environment…i know that media is a very difficult and dangerous job…i salute you all,keep up the good work and God may guide you in everything you must do.

  11. i have not met eaglepower and i know he is pursuing to work abroad and if he comes to the states i will make sure that we will meet then. our house is and always be open as our family house in batac ilocos norte. i made sure when i was there that they always cook enough so that all our relatives who drop by will eat lunch, dinner or brunch whatever time they are there.my mom always said to cook extra all the time and made it a tradition.even now in the states just the 2 of us i still do it and the end result my husband end up eating the leftovers for 2 to 3 days because i do not like to eat leftovers like i do not like to eat whatever is nai -atang.ever since i was small kid i always say sobra ti kararua .like sinukat or ninyogan as laoaguenos call it…so eaglepower i will see you here or either in the philippines in 2011 if you will still be there…

  12. eight month ago when i started reading your blogs i was saying”this guy have a lot of spunk in him his is so not afraid to say what is in his mindand with a name like herdy i can’t go wrong “so i started commenting and i was intrigued and overwhelmed with your answers although there were times that we argued and disagreed on issues we were okay.and then i was in the philippines and we met…you came to my dad’s wake and right then and there you got my respect because here is this young guy who have better things to do than come over and meet with me and on a wake? although there were times that we argued again for the most part we made up and bonded i met your family , we went out to lunch and brunch,birdwatching,river watching, laughed and visited museo ilocos, you met my family and to sum it all up i just wanted you to know you made my vacation enjoyable AND YOU NICKNAMED ME DRAGON LADYand answer our calls to each others with “WHAT” and i thank you soo much and hopefully we will be able to do the same the next time i come home…THANK YOU HERDY .

  13. let me be the first one to greet you dear karikna…happy second year anniversary..another milestone herdy.

  14. in the 5-day span of reading this blog, i enjoyed it. i gained knowledge in Politics, in Marcos, Cory in Religion, the name of Manong Janitor of CoE, the insufficient coin reserve of Robinson’s, I was shocked to what the late bishop said about receiving jueteng money, I laughed and envied.

    For me as a regular Technology Blog reader, this kind blog, Riknakem was a refreshing to me. it’s an eye opener to the things I mostly ignore. it’s smooth at piling-pili ang topic unlike to tech blog that it updates every hour blogging anything under new which is somewhat annoying.

    Whoa, two years na pala to. Sana more topics with humor Sir Yumul.

  15. This karikna really inspires a lot Ilocanos. It gives us the real insight on what’s happening on our society today. This opens an opportunity to many people who wanted to speak up and let their thoughts be heard. Just keep up the good work. More powers to the writer and to the avid fan and commentators!

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