Friday, March 30, 2007


Now in my hometown, these are the “hits” that started my summer in an extraordinary way—and truthfully they both gave me a smile and a frown on my aging face. And please baby, don’t hit me one more time! I had enough.


HIT 1: Upon reaching our house in Calceta last Sunday afternoon, I found a small white lump in our garage. And suddenly it moved and went on yelping. I don’t know what’s with my brother but he called him Bubu, the three-month old unshaved poodle. Sir Ian, don’t worry, he is cute.

HIT 2: …and my nephew was bitten by the playful Bubu.

HIT 3: The hundreds of mosquitoes were so welcoming—they hugged, kissed, embraced, and sucked (the blood) me in my early stay at home, day and night.

HIT 4: We went to a fast-food chain last Wednesday with their mascot’s name exactly the same with a certain chocolate milk brand. We bought a bucket meal, dined in, and left. The thing is we left not minding the three-or-four large pieces of spicy chicken inside the bucket. What a waste.

HIT 5: Fresh from London, my other nephew (I have lots of nephews) and sister-in-law finally arrived. My, I can’t wait with the sweets they hide in those luggages.

HIT 6: As what Donna Amethyst said to me lately, I am now on my legal-age! Now does this mean I can do logging? It isn’t illegal anymore since I’m nineteen, am I right? Yipee.

HIT 7: Room-exchanges happened in a blur, it was so confusing.

HIT 8: My cellphone network’s unlimited text service went into a zilch and I’m in the middle of nowhere!

HIT 9: What’s happening with the world—or should I say what’s happening with Tagbilaran? Every morning we can’t witness even a single drop of water in our faucets but then, by 1 o’clock at dawn, water gushes out in an instant. Is this another naughty action moved by the city’s running officials? Let me guess…

HIT 10: My mother has extremely long hair! Maybe I should hide the scissors in our house, they might spring into life and go radically chasing and cutting everything.

HIT 11: Still can’t recover the unconstrained internet connection right in the comfort of one's abode. Eye-strain and migraine, here I come!

HIT 12: And on this special day, my requirements for this one special workshop I am ambitiously eyeing for were finally submitted. Special delivery care of Lyde.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

the strange familiarity

of the images copulated
in the words you choose to weave
the sublime,
the mundane,
and, sometimes,
the carnal,
and offer it as essentials
of your becoming poetry.

pen colored

lily pads stripes

paper artwork

With your trembling hands,
you held the pen and doodled
stripes like colored shoelaces.
Then, you grabbed the camera,
took a picture of your artwork,
and gave it to the croaking frog
behind the lily pads.

* * *

This poem, The Strange Familiarity, is written by Lyde Gerard Sison-Villanueva, one of the brilliant young writers in campus who is a member of LitCritters Dumaguete (together with me, hehe). He dedicated this work of poetry for my 19th birthday.

Though some people say this kind of gift is trite and unoriginal, I proudly say this is one the best rewards I have had received so far.

Thanks Lyde! You're a good bullfrog!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

sugar quoted

Our birthdays are feathers in the broad wing of time.
- Jean Paul Richter

There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents... and only one for birthday presents, you know.
- Lewis Carroll

Old age: A great sense of calm and freedom. When the passions have relaxed their hold, you may have escaped, not from one master but from many.
- Plato

No wise man ever wished to be younger.
- Jonathan Swift

One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them.
- Virginia Wolfe

When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it happened or not.
- Mark Twain

A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age.
- Robert Frost

You are only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime.
- John P. Grier

Age is a high price to pay for maturity.
- Tom Stoppard

If we could be twice young and twice old we could correct all our mistakes.
- Euripides

Call this an unfair generalization if you must, but old people are no good at everything.
- Moe, from the Simpsons

* * *

Got an instant knockout with what Swift and Grier have said, but honestly they all sounded sweet! Now all I have to do is wait, until the product of waiting dawns upon me, and then I shall wait again for another year. Phew!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

three more days

Three more days and I’ll go beyond the assurance of being a young adult. Three more days and that’s all I’ve got to go on a bender of myself into certain matters a mischievous inhabitant of this overcrowded world can excellently and mundanely do.

Excellently do? Wait. Let us review what I had actually done last school year; because that was one tumultuous year, occupying my days as an eighteen year old man-boy.

External Vice President, Kadugong Bol-anon Organization
P.R.O., Silliman Guild of Artists
Member, English Society
Feature Writer, The Weekly Sillimanian
Graphics Editor, The Sillimanian Magazine
Competitions, I can’t exactly remember those activities I had participated

And as a sophomore who majored in a course that requires the mind to be up-to-date with the freshest imagination available (hmm, should they be canned and sold in the market someday?) and at the same time a hand that is skilled and capable of working to its full extent, let us see what have I shaken out from my crusty nutshell.

Getting High with Kamikazee, tWS article
Music to Our Ears, tWS article
You’ve Got to Know Vito, tWS article
Myths of the Maligned Dorm Food, tWS article
Sunday Destinations: To Church or Not to Church, tWS article
Waiting in Vain… for thy Late Teacher,
tWS article (unpublished)
Flying Ants, Crawling Birds, tWS article
Diamonds in the Silliman Rough, tWS article
Behind the Humor, tWS article
One Hundred Years of Music Might Indeed, tWS article
Outstanding Sillimanian Awardees, tWS article
Under Blood Red Skies, tWS article
My Turn: Bullfrogish Unions, tWS column
Legacies of Giving, tWS article
Not Just Fairy Dust, tWS article
Ask Cloudy and Jordie, tWS column (lampoon)
Elevator’s Back Alright,
tWS article (lampoon)
Here’s To You Word Nerd!, tWS article
Into the Blogosphere, tWS article
Laughter Still the Best Medicine, tWS article
On the Court, the Track, the Beach?, tWS article
Calling All Christmas Couch Potatoes, tWS article
What Amazed You the Most, tWS article
Sole Survivors, tWS article
Where Have All the Brocka’s and Bernal’s Gone?, tWS article
Kill the Bill, tWS article
Tiempo: Portrait of an Artist, tWS article
Losing the Fairytale Touch?, tWS article
The VSC and Beyond, tWS article
Strings of Unity, tWS article
Triptych: Grasps on Greens, artwork
Donito and Faura,
Flight and Fishes, artwork
Bloodline, artwork
On Behalf of a Lady and a Man,
In Between, artwork
Saved, artwork
The Growth, artwork
Imperfect Sphere, artwork
Weaving with Language, artwork
Asphalt, poem
The Young Seed,
Tin Can Tautologies, poem
She Will, She Would, poem
White Window Curtain, poem
Dark Horse, poem
On Page Twenty One,
Eating Christmas,
Downers, poem
Burning Bush on Moistened Soil, poem
Heart, poem
An Act,
The Amphibian, poem
Mabalahibong Huwebes from Isang Rebelasyon sa Isang Linggong Rebolusyon, short story
Donito and a Bird Named Faura, short story
Waiting Days and Story Nights, short story
Chopsuey Dish, short story

And that’s that. Perfect, one may say. It was like I had accomplished sufficiently… but actually its not. And perfect must not be the word. Imperfect that is! For what I have done just proves that there are those that I have not done that I should I have done.
(Redundancy is clarity so don’t mind the excess usage of the same word.)

Let me share this quotation from Matthew Arnold, an English poet and a cultural critic, who once said that
“the great aim of culture is the aim of setting ourselves to ascertain what perfection is and how to make it prevail.” *

Exactly. And three more days and maybe I may as well get out of the comfort zone and be more let’s say put a capital on my own capabilities – before everything will turn out to be a waste.

If my fedrins—as what the majority likes to call them—have this mission to fulfill that they should have a book published before they turn 20, I think I should start having mine too.

* Realization realized.

Monday, March 26, 2007

of stirring up or slumbering down

I intended to sleep late last night and wake up late this morning. I failed.

Well, the former intention I was partly successful, but I think 12:30am was not that late (I went up to 5am recently as far as I can remember) so undeniably I failed still.

I do not know but there is always this kind of feeling between stirring a bit then waking up and pinning yourself in bed forever, playing with the sheet of your bed until it decided of leaving you, sprawling on the floor. The subconscious act of deciding is very complex: wake up or not? And that feeling is the most enigmatic; imagine you are in a slumber but you are in the verge of thinking in the world of your dream realms or most probably in the “post rapid eye movement” stage!

Sheesh. The mind is indeed fascinating. And maybe I will be one of those people who can’t attest to this quote from Grimmy, the manic dog and main character of
Mike Peter’s Mother Goose and Grimm comic strips:

“The mind is a terrible thing to waste.”

So before pondering of doing something else that may lead to mind desecration, why not sleep and enjoy the ephemeral task of choosing to wake up or not?

If you wake up, good. If you don’t, you’re probably a ghost reading this.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

critiquing ourselves

Because of an unexpected turn of events that happened between March 23 and 24, we had our very first LitCritter meeting this morning without Sir Ian.

It should supposedly be a special meeting to me since it will be the first time my very first LitCritter Original short story will be criticized by my fellow LitCritters and the moderator. Anyways, I think it was still special, but it would be better if we can hear the sharp comments and suggestions of Sir Ian.

Sir was actually doing some works with MetroPost and he cannot handle two priorities at once, so we all decided to critique ourselves (with Sir's permission) and we had Dirgy, the authoritarian-like patriarch, as the moderator. Here are our original stories...

Almost A Love Story by Robert Jed Malayang

Like A Broken Record by Rodrigo Bolivar II

The Letter by Anthony Gerard Odtohan

The Wanderers by Michelle Eve de Guzman

Leprechaun's Request by Lyde Gerard Sison-Villanueva

Until Today by Marianne Catherine Tapales

Sir Ian Rosales Casocot, LitCritters Dumaguete moderator

Thursday, March 22, 2007

an original

At exactly 4:27 in the afternoon, my first LitCritter Original short story materializes; escaping away from my disturbed mind and succumbing in print on a short bondpaper from Scooby's.

Body Clock
I can't believe it! I woke up this morning at 11 o'clock, then I took a bath, ate at the same place where Ben is now used to, brushed my teeth and fell on my bed, disregarding the musky atmosphere of the room -- like I was placed inside a large turbo-boiler. I woke up again at 2:05 in the afternoon with something very heavy donned on my head and my whole being pinned like forever on my thinning bed's foam. Luckily I was able to get up.

That was something original, I have never done that in my whole life. Something must be wrong.

Monday, March 19, 2007

evidence from the past?

Browsing through a couple of web pages on the net this day, I came upon this site with a very interesting post.

here and you will really experience a sudden blood-rush in your head. You call it nausea? I prefer it is a hemorrhage.

Friday, March 16, 2007

instant haiku

n order to stretch out my time this coming weekend (specifically Saturday) and avoid conflicting schedules, I, together with Raissa Matunog and Mario Trinidad Jr., had decided an hour ago that we shall take our final exams in World Literature ahead of the rest.

In about 30 minutes, we finished it.

What was interesting in our exam was that we were to write a haiku; being the last part of the test. Wow, this would be my first time to write a haiku! And as if everything had thrilled me, the final line of the instruction stated was more eye-catching: "...write a haiku about a frog."

How coincidental -- a frog. Of all the creatures in the world... Well, here is my haiku entitled "The Amphibian."

On pads of lilies,
subtle serenity lies
when croaks bid goodbyes.

Though I must admit that the final line of this haiku made me relate to my elementary writing compositions, at the very least it amused me to read something about a frog.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

some things about backs

Dark Blue Southern Seas
The Sillimanian Magazine is back into works after a two-year (or so) absence in the literary scene of the university -- and even the country.
With Rodrigo Bolivar II as the Editor-in-chief, Michelle Eve de Guzman as the Prose Editor, Marianne Catherine Tapales as the Poetry Editor, and I as the Graphic Editor, we just perpetually hope that this comeback would materialize before the students and the faculty will be going home for summer.
It was hard but fun making this magazine. With the special help of this mysterious Isagani Morales (hehe...), our "little baby" is worth lending your eyes and mind into its pages.
The magazine's title too is great! Made my stomach ache when I first heard it (wink!).

* * *

Turning Back
I knew there was turning back on her decision. She dreamed for it but also hesitant and at seven o'clock this morning, memories began to haze in my mind.
In silence. In solitude.

* * *


That's how the wheel turns. That person must face it. All I see was the "back," or am I just seeing things? Or maybe I am blind... Bullfrogs! Bullshit.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

an act

(for M )

. . .

abandonment is but a
state of abrupt mild arrest.

amidst gossips and augurs
keen aspiration persists.

and with ascended words that
makes one an assemblage, you

arrive somewhere, distanced and
revered, in absolute nil.


Monday, March 12, 2007

the authority and the critters

Upper Row from left: Sir Ian Rosales Casocot, Lyde Villanueva,
Rodrigo Bolivar II, Robert Jed Malayang. Bottom Row from left: Marianne Catherine Tapales,
Michelle Eve de Guzman, Anthony Odtohan, Fred Jordan Mikhail T. Carnice.

Well, those are the people that composes LitCritters Dumaguete--for now. One member will leave us for a short while; and wait, that would be for one year.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

litcritters dumaguete

Originally a brainchild of Dean Francis Alfar, LitCritters is a witty play on the words “literary criticism” to signify those who take part in the practice. With Sir Ian Rosales Casocot at the helm of this Dumaguete chapter and with Dean’s special grant of branching out, I as the latest member to take part in the group will surely learn a lot from anything literary under the blessings of the sun.

Mind you, I am a Creative Writing major in Silliman University so I direly need this training! Hu hu hu...

Hours ago we had just discussed, studied, and grilled(?) stories such as "The Music Child by Alfred Yuson,""Stella for Star by Yvette Natalie Tan,""The Rememberer by Aimee Bender," and "The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier" at a quiet beach in Dauin. Considered as my first serious meeting, it was indeed amusing hearing Dirg's, Mich's, Odie's, Marianne's, Rj's, Lyde's and, our special student government president-guest, Razcel's sentiments concerning the stories.

I just hope I can hone this craft.

Sideline: Thanks to
Marianne Catherine Tapales who suggested me to take her place for she will be flying off to Japan this March 15. “Bye Mar! We will miss you loquacious lady!”

Friday, March 09, 2007

outplay. outlast. the survivors.

The Weekly Sillimanian Staff of school year 2006 - 2007.
Niño: Mr. Kris Aquino
Even with his sharp tongue, we still bow down to this Tagalog genius who could juggle Weekly work with his Accountancy load. A private, opinionated person, he feasts on any Kris tidbits with the same relish he gives to his spiritual journey.

Dirg: Patron Saint of Beer
Geek kuno. But inside that hyperactive mind is a Philippine literature fanatic. (Hint: He was the spark that ignited the Literatura Festival, after asking Sir Casocot if “the pen is dry in Dumaguete”). A future editor, he has a drunken humor and worships Angelo Suarez poems.

Kim: Office Psycho
Her blog is of her being a psychologist/musician/journalist/student nurse. Walay tulog. Forever lost daw, but her real talent lies in organizing events and tracking down errant information. This tech staff mom has all the patience in the world, except for those who can’t beat deadlines.

Claudine: Japanese Pancoon
The Campus Ambassador Chair who named herself the Witch of Finance who hates mess. Always stressed (Panda+Racoon=eyebags), she keeps us well-fed with Neva’s pizzas. When she gets drunk, she laughs nonstop and speaks Nihonggo (she did it once in front of Sir Casocot).

Marianne: Loquacious Ratatatatat
Our Japan-bound writer who considers silence a mortal sin. Whenever she leaves the office, maghilom gyud. The sportswriter who shares Dirg’s love (uyyy…) for Philippine lit and celebrity interviews, she is DYWeekly personified. Abandon all hope ye who seek to silence her.

Odie: Mr. Shades
Smart and multi-talented, this debater is perhaps the only news editor in tWS history who doesn’t shout. He has a special knack for caption titles and staying up late just to finish editing. An understanding little guy, he gives extensions to news writers, to the EIC’s eternal frustration.

Donna: Loveable Biatch
She is the Timon to Janseven’s Pumba. A spunky fashionista (she’s a milder version of Hitler) with a nose for the morbid and the bizarre, this petite management major once bought bottles and bottles of tequila and rhum at Lee all by herself, to the amusement of the salesladies.

Micah: The Prophet
The youngest in the Editorial Board, this pastor-in-making is quote-unquote brilliant. A biker around campus, he head butts the EIC every Monday at 12midnight, and reads aloud Confucius teachings. Quick to challenge illogical fallacies, we’re happy he shifted from nursing. He is philosophy.

Rochelle: Haggard Supergirl
The debater and nursing college honor who fights for her rights (wink wink). She is perhaps the nicest girl in the office, and we all bow down to her biiiiig books and multiple ballpens. The genius juggler, she sprinkles the front page with a dash of animal flavor.

Michelle: Bosing ng Masa
Stressed bisan dili Nursing, she is obsessed with Wednesday morning tWS circulation. Aside from Sundays-Tuesdays, she is as bouncy as a toddler. A Dr. Doolittle of all things electronic, she is the always smiling O.C. who looks forward to being a bum next semester.

John Boaz: Skimmer Wannabe
Literature enthusiast and computer junkie, he is a multilingual athlete with a crazy yet subtle sense of humor. Bogoy nga opao, and pachoychoy nga libakero. Bitaw, another future editor, he wowed us with his Alice story—read the SU Mag.

Jordan: the Semi-opao Bullfrog
A visual artist and one of only four creative writing majors left, he satisfies his pet worm Ben with Bikolana every 11:30am. Daghan ni ug bodyguards. Always relaxed and calm (once ra ni namo nakit-an nastress), he’s known for his “Comets and Stars” rendition and wicked humor.

John Steve: Cookie Monster
Like the Sesame Street character, he’s an eating machine during meetings. Always in a hurry, he is the youngest Masscom staffer and an all-around helpful, religious, eager, good boy. Quotable quote: “Bitaw.”

Claro: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Way klaro kuno. But his pictures undoubtedly rock. After graduating last semester, we can only sit here and remember when he nonchalantly entered in the middle of a convo in sando and slippers, and took perfect pictures of the pulpit while chewing gum before leaving. Pagkaperfect.

Jeruel: Ginoong Polsci
This tWS veteran and graphics expert holds the record for 20 straight hours of layout during our 8-page issue. This outspoken chief tig-sugba loves to quote celebrities like Juday and Heart and invite everyone to “shottings” at El Amigo.

Paul: Car Pimp
Without him, the office computers would have long combusted due to our abusive techno jinx selves. A lover of anything resembling cars, this Engineering-adopted kuya is also the Superman and tagakalat ng lagim sa office.

Aiken: La Bongga Diva
Multi-talented nga bayota. Writer, dance troupe member, VSC finalist. We do not know where he finds the time to pass articles on time and grace the office with Beyonce/Miss Saigon flights of fancy, but we love him for it.

Janseven: Pooh nga Palahubog
Si Master kay self-confessed pa-cute nga chubby. Ahem. A tWS veteran with a megaphone voice, he is the other half of the staff couple (hardcore ni manguyab!), and the Demolay leader who has been known for his certain…fondness for debaters in the office.

Joseph: the Creative Albino
The epitome of Gonggong, he once scared us at Forest Camp with his blinding whiteness. Described as the vampire with pimples, this computer game addict and guitar player is a kindergarten kid who gives good advices, although palpak ang uban minsan.

Eugene: Gentle Giant
His back debuted in the Weekly for the “Luv U Pre” article. An extremely nice and hardworking guy, his hilumon nature adds diversity to the otherwise noisy staff during post-mortem meetings.

Sesi: And the Academy goes to…
The “Heroes” fanatic, he can’t be seen without his backpack. The seemingly shy guy who is in-charge of tWS’ reputation to the outside world (i.e. the website), he shocked us with his amazing acting abilities in “Kayamanan sa Ilalim ng Tansan”.

Pearl: …of the Orient
Usa sa among babies, this sweet and soft-spoken nursing student has a lot of potential. She was crowned Best Actress during the Christmas party for her portrayal as a robot hairdresser.

Marvin: Promil Kid
Another Portal import, he makes us proud—usa ni nga college honor and student leader. He has a fashion sense that amuses Aiken, and chada siya’g camera.

Ma’am Gina: Mother Goose
Described as the light that brightens the paths of those who are spiritually, socially and technically lost, she is the calm one who encourages and supports the crazy bunch mentioned above. Patient even if bulyagon mi, she is a brilliant adviser who pays attention to the details.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

the vsc and beyond

-due to some circumstances, this article should have been posted last last week
The Valentines Songwriting competition (VSC) in the 1990s was held at the Guy Hall’s music sala, with only a grand piano for accompaniment. The winner then was given a Php300 prize.

VSC’s humble beginnings pale in contrast to these past few years’ excellently extravagant preparations: the Luce Auditorium, the band and back-up singers, the outfits.

The dream just keeps getting better and better as the VSC sticks to its commitment to discover and showcase new talents, celebrating the universality of music. The entries were certainly testaments of how musically inclined we are.

Raul Navarro, chairperson for conducting at the University of the Philippines School of Music and chair of the board of judges in the February 13 VSC, commented, “It confirms that the Filipinos are very creative and musical, and that we are up to par with international standards.” He further stressed, “It also shows that we are good in interpreting the song, not just [composing it.]”

“To improve this competition for the coming years, I think the marketing strategy of the event should be much well-planned. Hopefully, a lot would join next year,” Navarro said.

This year, the song that bagged first prize was “Solace,” from mass communication junior Primy Joy Cane. The song pertained to her angst when her parents separated, and her finding comfort and assurance in her boyfriend. It was a quick favorite of a giggling crowd that night.

“I am very thankful to my boyfriend for being my solace at that time,” she said before her winning performance.

However, the chance for Sillimanians to express romantic odes didn’t come at an easy price.

The competition itself has had its own share of angst through its entire history. The years 2003 and 2004 left excited would-be participants with their hopes swirling down with the last note.

“The Sigma Mu Lambda, which organizes the VSC, during that time weren’t able to come up with a concrete goal to maintain working on the competition,” said Sigma Mu Lambda adviser Jomar Abrio. Apparently, one of the reasons production was halted in those years was that the student body didn’t work well together for it.

“Another reason for its sudden halt was the dissemination processes. There was a time when the extended deadline came; there were only six to eight entries. There was a unanimous decision not to continue with it,” Abrio added.

When it comes to future VSCs, Abrio suggested that maybe they could tap the university’s student government.

With the SG’s extensively influential arm it could reach more and more students in the campus, especially with the Council of Student Organizations.

“The music is definitely star quality and this must be the reasons for its staying power. I am sure record companies would find the songs appealing enough to mass produce,” said Noel Vallente, a mass communication junior and a disc jockey of the radio station Killerbee. “To gain more appeal to the public, the committee should hold promotional tours, let’s say, for a cause.”

Moreover, tWS writer and 2nd-runner up “Dreams” co-composer Aiken Emmanuel Quipot said that VSC could also increase its level of participation from the community.

“I would be very glad to know if COPA would open the VSC to the Dumaguete community. With this, Silliman can build relationship between other schools in the city,” Quipot expressed. “It could provide an avenue for musically-inclined students, not only Sillimanians, to share their talents.”

Learning from the lessons of the past, it’s all uphill from here for the VSC.

(photos taken by Leon Medado)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

the end of the game


Bye bye.


I will sorely miss this.

announcement for submission of entries to the 46th dumaguete national writers workshop

National Artist for Literature Edith L. Tiempo has announced a March 31 deadline for applications for fellowships to the 46th National Writers Workshop to be held in Dumaguete City from May 7 to 25.

Panelists this year are Gemino Abad, Alfred Yuson, Susan Lara, Anthony Tan, DM Reyes, Marjorie Evasco, and others. They will compose the revolving panel of writers together with National Artist for Literature Edith Lopez Tiempo, and resident panelists César Ruìz Aquino, Bobby Flores Villasis, and Ernesto Superal Yee.

Fifteen (15) fellowships are open for young writers all over the country.

The first screening panel, composed of the workshop’s resident writers, selects the writing fellows for the summer based on the manuscripts submitted by the applicants. These selected manuscripts are forwarded to the Director of the Workshop, who does the final screening and formally approves the final lineup of writing fellows.

The writing fellowship covers (1) lodging for the full 22 days of the duration of the entire workshop, (2) a modest stipend, (3) one-way fare reimbursement, and (4) workshop manuscripts and reading materials.

The applicant must submit the following requirements:

1. Original manuscripts consisting of at least three to five short (3-5) stories, or three to five (3-5) essays/creative non-fiction, or two (2) one-act plays, or seven to ten (7-10) poems. Stories, poems, plays, and essays in English are preferred. Only unpublished manuscripts are accepted. Works which have previously won in literary contests will not be accepted.
2. An application letter addressed to Workshop Director Dr. Edith Tiempo
3. A diskette or CD containing the various submitted literary works encoded in Microsoft Word Version 6.0
4. A recommendation letter from a renowned writer or literature teacher
5. Two 2x2 pictures
6. A brief biodata or résumé

These must be sent before the 31 March 2007 deadline to:
Dr. Edith Lopez Tiempo
National Writers Workshop
c/o College Assurance Plan
2nd Floor, CAP Building
Rizal Boulevard
6200 Dumaguete City
Accepted fellows are usually notified by postal mail, or email, or by phone call, although the announcement is usually published by major Philippine dailies.

Interested parties may also apply for sit-in or auditing privileges.

The National Writers Workshop was established by Edith and Edilberto Tiempo in 1962, making it the longest-running creative writing workshop in Asia. The 2007 edition is sponsored by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Silliman University, and College Assurance Plan, in coordination with the Creative Writing Foundation Inc. and the Dumaguete Literary Arts Service Group, Inc. (DüLA). Donors to the fellowship program include Senators Edgardo J. Angara and Mar Roxas as well as former NCCA Chairman Jaime Laya and Ms. Erlinda Panlilio.

Friday, March 02, 2007

strings of unity

If there is anything that could transcend barriers of geography, politics, language and culture, music may well be one of its most vital keys.

In celebration of the second International Rondalla Festival, the musical concert was held at the Claire Isabel McGill Luce Auditorium last February 22, plugged as One: Cuerdas sa Panaghiusa or Strings of Unity showcasing unique and world-class performances from Israel, Russia, and our very own Philippine representatives.

It was presented by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

“‘Strings of Unity’ means that with music, with sound, with art, we can connect. We build a bridge where politics and economies have separated us,” said Yueal Avital of the Three Strings Plucked group from Israel, a war-torn country knowing full well the significance of unity and peace. “Through this, we find ourselves in our highest form of expression.”

It may be distressing to find that the rondalla is said to be on the verge of disappearing in the music scene. But thankfully there are various groups and organizations that uphold the rondalla as part of their country’s rich cultural heritage. This then counters the stringed instrument’s lack of palatability in the popular market.

“We attend workshops every summer para malalaman din namin kung anong bagong piyesa ang maaari naming matutunan,” said Andrew Duma-up, one of the lively children of the Kabataang Silay Performing Arts and Rondalla Ensemble.

One composition, Yueal Avital’s “Dark Red City”, showed such adoption of popular contemporary trends in music. Collaboratively played by Silliman’s own Kwerdas group with the Israel ensemble, Avital remarked, “For me, the words ‘experimental’, and ‘avant garde’ are just terms of freedom: freedom to express yourself, freedom to put something from yourself that has not been done already.”

Avital further stressed that there are certainly risks to be expected because the expression he mentioned were not familiar to the listeners. The instruments employed weren’t very familiar, either.

“My musical instrument is called the double-bass balalaika -- the large triangular shaped guitar. I’ve been playing it for quite a long time,” Radi Gareev, one of the players of Quartette Phoenix from Russia, proudly said, having played his unique instrument for thirteen years.

Rondalla music has indeed summoned music lovers and players together, ranging from countries in the West like Mexico to the East like Japan and China. Many delightful surprises have been in store for them, as well as for us in the host province. Also, for all it’s worth, we’ve just made the world a little more united.

“Once in our lives we have been part of this international event, and it is overwhelming that there is music like ours played in different parts of the world. Experiences like these are very memorable,” expressed Mathilda Erojo, who led Silliman’s own contingent.

“It is a big opportunity of us to be in the 2nd Rondalla international festival. We were concerned because we might make mistakes when performing our pieces, however well screened and pinaghandaan they were,” said young Andrew of Kabataang Silay, the group from Negros Occidental. “Because in some cases, it happens on the spot. Meron talagang lapses na mangyayari and therefore we cannot avoid that. But seeing the audience’s smiles at what we had done is always really priceless.”

“The festival is a bond,” said Yueal.
“It is very profound and philosophical,” said Radi.
“It is heavy?” jokingly said the pregnant Mathilda.
“It is an honor,” said Andrew.

Now three years after the first festival was held in Naga City, Bicol, during the National Arts Month of 2004, this year’s second edition was given as a gift to everyone who cares for the art of the rondalla. Even with the different tunes, players and instruments, the same familiar objective still remains—to unify.

(photos taken by Leon Medado)