Lemlúnay: Pagunita sa Gunita (Lemlúnay: A Reminder for Memory) is the latest collection of poetry by National Artist for literature Virgilio S. Almario, launched on December 2, 2023, capping a prolific year for the former chairman of Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino and National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

This year, Almario launched Mga Póon, Mga Piyón, Mga Pusóng, Isang Púsong, a collection of poetry published by San Anselmo Publications, Inc., on March 12, on his birthday; Ang Wikang Pambansa at Amerikanisasyon: Isang Kasaysayan ng Pakikihamok ng Filipino para Maging Wikang Pambansa, published by Ateneo de Manila University Press; and the third edition of Si Balagtas at ang Panitikan Para sa Kalayaan, published by University of Santo Tomas Publishing House.

Organized by the NCCA, Office of Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, Filipinas Institute of Translation and Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo, the launch event of Lemlúnay: Pagunita sa Gunita at the Ignacio B. Gimenez Gallery in University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, was aptly a literary celebration attended by esteemed writers, artists, historians, academicians and cultural workers including National Artist for dance Alice Reyes, National Artist for film and
broadcast arts Ricky Lee, National Artist for music Ramon Santos, UP Chancellor Edgardo Carlo L.
Vistan II, and former Vice President Leni Robredo, who the Philippine culture and the arts community supported in a historic and unprecedented move.

Published by NCCA and using his pseudonym Rio Alma, Lemlúnay: Pagunita sa Gunita featured 30 of Almario’s poems written in Filipino in the last six years, from 2018 to 2023, accompanied by excellent English translations by poet Marne Kilates, who wrote his thoughts on translating the
work as well as the significance of the poems. The book is one of Almario’s most visual books with photographs by journalist and publication designer Roel Hoang Manipon, and design by Manipon and Mervin Concepcion Vergara, adding additional ways of seeing and interpreting.

The title of the book is a term that denotes the concept of paradise in the mythology of the T’boli people of southern Philippines, signifying the aspiration or dream of a better country through a deeper and critical reflection on our history and culture and interactions with cultural products.
“At ang lahat ng ito ay recent na produkto ng aking mga pag-iisip. Kasabay nito ang Lemlúnay.

Bumubuo ako ngayong ng isang panitikan para sa aking sarili na nagsasama-sama ang aking sariling pagtula at aking critical mind para mabuo ang isang bagong matatawag kong sapantahà tungkol sa ating panitikan, isang bagong paraan ng pagtingin sa ating panitikan na matatawag nating higit na autentiko, Filipino at hindi masyadong nalalaganapan ng kolonyalismo at
Amerikanisasyon (All of these are recent products of my ponderings, including Lemlúnay.

I am now creating a literature for myself, which will combine my own poetry, my critical mind to form a new what I call theory about our literature, a new way of seeing our literature that is more more authentic, Filipino and not much influenced by colonialism and Americanization),” he said.
“Ang Lemlúnay ay isang paggunita sa ating kasaysayan.

Ang naiba rito sa librong ito ay ginawa ko ang pagmumuni tungkol sa kasaysayan ng Filipinas sa pamamagitan ng mga cultural objects magmula sa primitive art objects, mga relics, at mga natuklasan recently na mga fossils at iba pa, gayun din ang mga likha ng ating mga dakilang pinto, manunulat na kailangan nating balikan, pag-aralang mabuti at ituwid ang ating paningin tungkol dito (Lemlúnay is a remembrance of our history.

The difference of this book is that I reflected on the history of the Philippines through cultural objects, from primitive art objects, relics, and recently discovered fossils and others, as well as works by our great painters and writers, which we must return to, study diligently and correct our perception about them),” he concluded.

Amianan Balita Ngayon