Friday, May 23, 2008


I think all of us writing fellows in the Dumaguete workshop have reached the inevitable of our literary undertakings—whether we like it or not. All of us are going to our separate ways. Mushy? Yes. Even with our three-week stay in the province just to embrace the critiques of esteemed writers from across the nation, I am glad no one has reached the physical level of a breakdown. Well, there’s one but the subtle emotional rage is not brought about by the flawed technicalities of the fellow’s work but, rather, on the reality of the story in itself.

Tonight, at Labas (just along Hayahay), we would celebrate this glorious gathering of shaping and reshaping literary practices before the inescapable breaking that will happen the following day. Also, we would be unveiling something tonight that would create an interesting dot in the history-line of this workshop. This is our anthology entitled Sea[sic]: Prose and Poetry by the Fellows of the 47th Dumaguete National Writers Workshop. Painstakingly made in one week, which was spearheaded by Dustin Celestino and Margie de Leon, the output is something we could not believe would come in actuality. We are all proud of our baby. What’s this for? Let’s just say that this project is our little token to all panelists who have endured our ignorance, our clean-slatedness as youngsters in the world of literature.

Sigh. To my fellow feelerettes who discovered the ethereal beauty of katusbong, who pranced Hibbard Avenue at 3 o’clock in the morning to the music of Total Eclipse of the Heart, who thought that the night-time security officers were Yellow Cab Pizza deliverers, and who realized that the humid charm of Dumaguete was just too hard to ignore, thanks and see you all soon. I just sincerely hope that our love for the letters will bring us back together again.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

one more week

For some of us who have realized (or stumbled upon?) the path of writing is something to be of great significance, there will come a time that this simple want or need to prove it has to be skinned down to its bare muscles, then to its bare bones, to see if it is all worth it.

That day was May 5.

After the skinning comes the roasting. The coals have been prepared and stoked. Now, we have one more week, and our muses will never be the same again. Good or bad, the various critiques would not only shape our future words but also guide our pens that we hold on to continue writing if that writerly itch persists. Or even if that itch begins to fade.

(Top L-R) Liza Baccay, Lambert Varias Jr., Elena Paulma, Lawrence Bernabe, Noelle Leslie Dela Cruz (Middle L-R) Bron Teves, Arlene Yandug, Rodrigo Dela Peña, Marguerite Alcazaren De Leon, Fred Jordan Mikhail Carnice (Bottom L-R) Celeste Fusilero, Joshua Lim So, Dustin Celestino, Carmela Tolentino)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

under our sleeves

Sudden plans just sprout out in our minds (or maybe from our ears) like bulbous mushrooms poisonous enough to kill a wary vegetarian, such as this one thing that would, probably, be the first to happen in the history of the Dumaguete workshop. Though, we can probably blame this to the fickle weather that constantly racks up our sensibilities which subsequently makes us ponder on certain agendas, the idea is undeniably great. It would be a feat if the process goes well. I can’t spill anything yet at the moment but Dustin Celestino, the culprit behind all of the tension that's cowering us all this week, is definitely persistent in this undertaking which would be revealed maybe in a little while.

Okay, got to do some writing now. Deadline: tomorrow at eight o’clock.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

literary exile

Week one is finally over. From various hypotheses of silly judgments on speculating this and that to lunch-time propers in order to eradicate the silence that was shrouding almost everyone, all of us fellows in the Dumaguete workshop eventually understood each other’s special eccentricities—like all the dregs of a tea drink had finally settled. Listening to literary icons such as Edith Lopez Tiempo, Rowena Tiempo-Torrevillas, Myrna Peña-Reyes, Cesar Ruiz Aquino, and Butch Macansantos for full five straight days was a bit strenuous so off we hit the road towards Lake Balinsasayao (sans Lambert, Dustin, and Neslie) to, in some ways, reflect on our literary boogers. I wonder what will happen tomorrow. Till here, bye!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

moving forward

The days of unlimited internet connection in a humble corner of my house may finally be over (goodbye daily blog updates!). In just a few hours, I will be going back to a place that both stoked up the coals of my imagination and extinguished the flames of my heart. Oh, before we go into any soggy sentiments, let’s just end this by saying that I’ll be busy in the next couple of days. Busy but moving on.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

15th iligan national writers workshop fellows

The results are in. I guess I have to immediately jump off to Iligan after the Dumaguete Workshop. Two word tortures in one month? Well, here’s to the watering of my ambitious take on the field of literary arts.

The National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA), the Mindanao Creative Writers Group, Inc. in cooperation with the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology’s Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension (MSU-IIT-OVCRE) announce the 15 writing fellows to the 15th Iligan National Writers Workshop on May 26-31, 2008 in Iligan City.

Samantha G. Echavez, UP Diliman (Fiction in English)
Sarah Jane D. Sebastian, UP Diliman (Fiction in Filipino)
Erick Dasig Aguilar, UP Diliman (Poetry in Filipino)
Evangeline B. Gubat, Ateneo de Manila University (Poetry in English)
John Lorenz S. Poquiz, University of Santo Tomas (Poetry in English)

Fred Jordan Mikhail T. Carnice, Silliman University (Poetry in English)
Nino Manaog, Ateneo de Naga University (Poetry in English)
Leonilo D. Lopido, Leyte Institute of Technology (Poetry in Waray)
Luciano L. Abia IV, UP College Tacloban (Poetry in Waray)
Efmer E. Agustin, UP Visayas/Abuyog (Fiction in Cebuano)

Krisza Joy P. Kintanar, UP Mindanao (Fiction in English)
Marius Angelo G. Monsanto, UP Mindanao (Fiction in English)
Ma. Elena L. Paulma, UP Diliman, (Poetry in English)
John Philip A. Baltazar, Xavier University (Poetry in English)
Xer Jason D. Ocampo, UP Mindanao (Poetry in English)

Panelists this year are Ma. Rosario Cruz Lucero, Leoncio P. Deriada, German V. Gervacio, Victor N. Sugbo, Merlie M. Alunan, Jaime An Lim, Steven Patrick C. Fernandez, keynote speaker, Antonio Reyes Enriquez and Christine Godinez-Ortega, the 15th INWW Director.

Highlights of this year’s workshop include the launching of the 14th INWW Proceedings titled, Fire and Faith in Writing edited by Godinez-Ortega and published by the MSU-IIT OVCRE; a lecture by INWW alumnus, Ralph Semino Galan; the Jimmy Y. Balacuit Literary Awards; and, the launching of the Manuel Buenafe Writing Fellowship and the Ricardo Jorge S. Caluen Writing Bursary.


state of shock

Unexpected inclusions in our day-to-day familiarity of living have only two things to offer: things worthy and things worthless. But when I arrived home minutes ago, I received some news that definitely fit under the first suggestion; I got a letter of confirmation to become one of the fifteen fellows in the 15th Iligan National Writers Workshop (INWW). I became super-happy because in one summer break there’s a possibility that I’ll be joining in two workshops; the Dumaguete (of which I’m already officially involved as a fiction fellow) and the Iligan (as a poetry fellow, of which most of my works are misery-induced). Suddenly, something came in: I’ve got to be in Tibanga, Iligan City by May 25 but the other workshop would probably end on that exact date, too. My goodness! Oh my, what should I do? But there’s a glimmer of hope though; Kuya Bron, who’s a fellow for poetry in the Dumaguete workshop, told me that the SU English Department planned of closing the event by May 22. Whooo! After all of these coming into my life I say that things, along the run of the slow ache-obliterating time, are getting better indeed. It’s ironic that my being emo just got me into two national writing workshops. Hail to side-swept hair? Never. I had enough.

Friday, May 02, 2008

kicking in

One month down and I have just recently enjoyed the whole purpose of a summer break. Thanks to some old acquaintances who suddenly appeared in my midst, repetitiveness has finally flown away from me. Hopping from one house to another is one enjoyable time-killer, knowing that the city is in fiesta mode until the end of the month. Lyde, Galee, Tonet—till next time! Yes, Lyde is in Bohol right now.