Dear Tita Mercy: Literature-focused radio show helps young people

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Tita Mercy and Kuya Ed share a conversation with a candle maker in Argao.

CES volunteer DK Kuizon documents the registration process at Chitang.

CES volunteer DK Kuizon documents the registration process at Chitang.

Kuya Ed inquires about the torta-making process with a longtime employee of Chitang's Torta Bakery.

Kuya Ed inquires about the torta-making process with a longtime employee of Chitang’s Torta Bakery.

From left to right: Aireen Dayao, Joel Econas, Fely Latras and Dave Kuizon.

From left to right: Aireen Dayao, Joel Econas, Fely Latras and Dave Kuizon.

A hablon weaver shares the joys of her five years of experience in the hablon craft.

A hablon weaver shares the joys of her five years of experience in the hablon craft.

There are so many things the art of literature could do. It’s more than just reading and more than people’s misconception of a lost art. It is all-encompassing and draws from many branches, including psychology, history, and culture. In the radio program called “Dear Tita Mercy”, these three aspects of literature are used to help its avid listeners, at the same time, learn about Cebuano culture and history.

Conceptualized by Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu, director of the Center for Cebuano Studies at the University of San Carlos, “Dear Tita Mercy” began simply as an idea for “tambag-tambag” or counseling sessions.

Together with Fely B. Latras, advisor to the Community Extension Service (CES) of USC Palabra (Pulong sa mga Alagad sa Obra), a college student literary organization, they explained that the original plan for the radio show was just a consulting segment.

Ms. Latras said, “Dear Tita Mercy” aims to promote Cebuano culture as a whole, especially to young people. “Here at the radio show, we want to help people and hear their issues and provide words of affirmation. It’s much easier to deal with your issues if you know someone is listening to you. It eases your burden. knowing that someone is willing to go out of their way to help you.

With the proliferation and accessibility of social media, it is indeed easy for people to reach out to others regarding their issues. But the downside, according to Ms. Latras, is that young people don’t particularly know where to draw the line between virtual and real. It’s easy to give any kind of advice on the internet without worrying too much about the effect on the other party.

In “Dear Tita Mercy”, the advice given comes directly from Mrs. Latras who is a qualified spiritual counselor. She revealed how effective the medium of radio programs is in reaching those in need of advice. Hearing real people talking about real issues instead of just conversing through the screen ensures a more authentic connection between people.

In its next episode, a group of students from Palabra accompanied by Mrs. Fely traveled to Argao to explore the cultural treasures of the municipality.

They went to Torta Bakery in Chitang and asked one of the store employees about the process of making Argao’s world famous tortas. The group also visited one of the churches in the municipality to interview a candle maker about their difficulties in life. Finally, the team traveled to Cebu University of Technology in Argao to see the hablon (handwoven fabric) factory that operates inside the school. They spoke with one of the weavers about the colonial influence of the weaving process.

Aireen Dayao, one of the CES representatives for Palabra, shared that by exposing their listeners to local literature like Cebuano poetry and folktales, listeners can effectively trace their roots as Cebuanos.

Joel Econas, Palabra’s new CES representative, explained that through “Dear Tita Mercy”, listeners will learn a lot about the hidden facets of Cebuano culture since the pieces of literature shared on the radio show are niche – all thanks to the Cebuano Study Center Partnership.

It is indeed time for people to immerse themselves in the art of literature. Not only is it story-centric, but it also takes history and culture into account. “Dear Tita Mercy”, in its own little way, is able to connect Cebuanos from all walks of life with the deep influence of the written word.

“Dear Tita Mercy” airs every Saturday at 8 a.m. on DYRF Radio Fuerza 1215.

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