Jessa Amarille is an Assistant Professor at the Division of Humanities, University of the Philippines Tacloban College, where she teaches communication and literature courses. She earned a BA in Communication Arts from UP Tacloban in 2012 and finished an MA in English Studies (Anglo-American Literature) at UP Diliman. Her research interests include Chicana literature, Waray literature, ecopoetry, and ecocriticism. E-mail: jaamarille@up.edu.ph


“Aada pa gad an mga tudluk ha akon dumdum…”: Post-Disaster Resilience, Eco-Nostalgia, and Eco-Mapping in Victor Sugbo’s Post-Haiyan Poetry

Abstract: This paper examines the concepts of post-disaster resilience, eco-nostalgia, and eco-mapping in selected poems from the collections Taburos Han Dagat (2014), Poems from Ground Z (2021), and Gimata (2022) by Waray poet Victor N. Sugbo. These books, published post-Haiyan, form part of Philippine ecoliterature, which deals primarily with the human relationship with the environment pre- and post-disaster. Most contributors to this genre come from Eastern Visayas, the part of the country ravaged by the super-typhoon Haiyan. Using an ecocritical lens, the paper analyzes how Sugbo’s poetry employs a kind of romanticism and sentimentalism that results in a personal memory map that transcends into an ecological map. This eco-map retrieves names and memories of the region’s flora and fauna and traces pre-disaster sea- and landscapes vis-à-vis the poem’s persona’s recollection and longing of a seemingly utopic past and philosophizing of a present that is less than the ideal. The paper thus explores the role of nostalgia in rebuilding realities (both the tangible and intangible) after disaster and devastation, and in reinforcing the relationship between humans and the natural environment. This study of the affinity of the people of Eastern Visayas, one of the most vulnerable populations to environmental catastrophes, with their physical environment as portrayed in Sugbo’s poetry adds to the discourse on ecocriticism. More than establishing Eastern Visayas ecopoetry as a genre, it appraises the value of this body of work in understanding human life and existence in the Anthropocene.
Keywords: ecocriticism, post-disaster resilience, eco-nostalgia, eco-mapping, Waray literature, Eastern Visayas ecopoetry