Thursday, April 30, 2009


In the midst of all the humdrum that seems to last forever, I woke up with a start this morning and automatically warmed up my jaws. It’s pre-fiesta tonight. Never mind the burgeoning waistline; I live to gorge as of the moment. And maybe, if I am lucky enough, also in the days that follow. I will eat!

Monday, April 27, 2009

end of jordan

I don’t think so. No one will ever conquer Michael “Air” Jordan. But our household boxer takes the spotlight again. Manny Pacquaio is already in the thick of consumerism—from laughable water to medicine ads—that Nike tailored another set of apparel especially for him. What’s next? Pacquaio’s Pacman toothpaste, for that winning champion smile? I don’t even want to imagine it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

still lives

Something got me into my toes. I never thought I will be busy, considering my absolute resolution of being a Handay-Handay Man this summer. My parents’ Ruby anniversary is inching its way to The Day. My task? Scour a mountain of photos. Instead of focusing my eyes on what were needed for the “surprise” project, I found these:

My baby picture. I think that's my brother’s toy.

The kindergarten class. I am easy to find here.

My love for cats will last until forever—even if I am diagnosed as asthmatic two months ago.

Mother’s graduation picture.

Father with the brusque James Dean machismo
and mother with the classic beauty of the early days.

The wedding day.

It is sad that quite a number of photos surrendered; some have molted, some have entirely lost what they’re trying to picture out. A pile, unfortunately, has to be thrown before it affects others that are way older than anyone’s prized hand-me-downs. Sayang, the memories.

Friday, April 24, 2009


“Two weeks before graduation, after taking all your final exams, you walk around the campus prematurely saying goodbye to the ghosts you will leave behind. That’s how sentimental you are….

So you walk around waiting for graduation, feeling empty while contemplating the bare crowns of the acacias. After four years in school, you ask yourself, what have you learned? Nothing, comes the humble reply….

The memories threaten to overwhelm you as you say goodbye to the old school, your mind melodramatically rushing up to meet another leaf-falling season. You have to have a sad tale to tell to go with the dreary music in your head even as the leaves come falling down on your head. Adagio, the heart says, but the mind vehemently denies: no, no, you were not—never—lonely here. And still the leaves rain down on you like music fit to commit suicide in.”

-excerpt from Timonthy Montes’ essay,
“Silliman in the Eighties: Of That Time, Second Person”

Thursday, April 23, 2009

9th iyas creative writing workshop fellows

Congratulations, Pong! I know your words will dissect many in the workshop proper. Keep it cool, Mr. Bastareche! Without further ado, the IYAS Creative Writing Workshop proudly announces its roster of Fellows for 2009.

Fellows for Fiction
Jesus Miguel Agreda (Hiligaynon)
Russel Stanley Geronimo (English)
Irish Angelica Ibon (Filipino)
Errol Merquita (Cebuano)
Gil Montinola (Hiligaynon)
Ramon Antonio Pandan (English)

Fellows for Poetry
Vanessa Mae Almeria (English)
Vijae Alquisola (Filipino)
Jan Paulo Bastareche (English)
Neil Genica (Cebuano)
Philip Kimpo (Filipino)
Patricia Magno (English),
Deborah Rosalind Nieto (English)
Joselito Delos Reyes (Filipino)
Cindy Velasquez (Cebuano)

The panelists for this year are Dr. Marjorie Evasco, Dr. Elsie Coscolluela, Dr. Genevieve Asenjo, Dr. Leoncio Deriada, Dr. Anthony Tan and Prof. John Iremil Teodoro.

The IYAS Creative Writing Workshop is sponsored by the University of St. La Salle and the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center of De La Salle University and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. The workshop begins on April 27 and ends on May 2, 2009.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

your highness, happy birthday

Though anything I say hardly reaches to your hilltop home at Montemar in the meantime, and makes my heart ache for not being with you on your 90th birthday, I will still greet you with fervent admiration and love: Merry birthday, Mom Edith Tiempo!

I first saw her in the opening of the Silliman Writers Workshop, in the midmorning of May 5 last year. I remember even envying my co-fellow when her poem was being read by the literary great, no less. Obviously, I had no chance of having my poems read at that time since I was a fiction fellow. But by the 17th of May, every bits of thought on intimidation and aristocracy proved me wrong. As I approached her to have one of her works signed, she welcomed me with tenderness and care anyone who has recognized love would be familiar of. She even asked if I write poems. “I do,” answered and added, “but I am a fiction writer in this workshop.” She smiled and wrote something above her poem Sapiens Evolving. I was already content of seeing and talking with her that day but what made it entirely special was her message.

"For Jordan, How proud I am to have a writer who is Biblically approved."

She definitely still has that sense of humor. In behalf of the 47th writers workshop batch, we love you Mom!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

of children and magic words

The little beasts are running wildly in the room. My sisters are watching their respective children as usual. It’s summer so everyone has gathered in our so-called ancestral house. All in all, there are ten nephews and nieces playing inside that room; it has instantly transformed into a day care center. Suddenly, one of the children approached one of my sisters:

Child: I am very thirsty. I want water. I want you to get water in my kitchen.

Sister: And what’s the magic word?

Child: Mickey Mouse!

Children do say the darndest things.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

48th dumaguete national writers workshop fellows

The 15th Iligan National Writers Workshop's one and only official "Lolo" of the batch has made it in this year's Silliman Workshop! Whoa, with your age Lolo Niño Saavedra Manaog, you got in! I am so happy for you. Seriously, the results make me smile; at least there's someone I know in this year's list of fellows and gives more weight in my decision to visit Dumaguete again. And I just realized I am officialy an alumnus now of this workshop. A year has passed and our batch is one year "wiser" and older. Oh well, here's the list of the lucky ones:

National Artist for Literature and National Writers Workshop Director Emeritus Edith Lopez Tiempo, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and Silliman University are pleased to announce that the following young writers have been accepted as fellows for the 48th National Writers Workshop scheduled on 4-15 May 2009:

For Poetry
Mariane Amor Romina T. Abuan (University of Santo Tomas)
Jonathan S. Gonzales (Ateneo de Manila University)
Arkaye V. Keirulf (Ateneo de Manila University)
Patricia Angela F. Magno (Ateneo de Manila University)
Niño S. Manaog (Ateneo de Manila University)

For Fiction
Keith Bryan T. Cortez (University of Santo Tomas)
Ana Margarita Stuart del Rosario (De La Salle University)
Monique S. Francisco (University of the Philippines - Diliman)
Russell Stanley Geronimo (De La Salale University)
Aleck E. Maramag (De La Salle University)
Gabriel Millado (University of the Philippines – Mindanao)
Gabrielle L. Nakpil (Ateneo de Manila University)
Joy c. Rodriguez (University of the Philippines – Mindanao)

For Creative Nonfiction
Philip Y. Kimpo, Jr. (University of the Philippines - Diliman)
Marck Ronald Rimorin (University of the Philippines - Baguio)

This year’s panel of critics is composed of Dumaguete-based writers Ernesto Superal Yee, Myrna Peña Reyes, and Cesar Ruiz Aquino, as well as guest panelists Gemino Abad, Juaniyo Arcellana, J. Neil Garcia, Susan Lara, Rosario Lucero, DM Reyes, and Alfred Yuson.

The workshop, which is the longest running Writers Workshop in Asia, is coordinated by the Silliman University Department of English and Literature.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

sudden changes

It is not that abrupt. As a matter of fact, it almost took us a month to finish the facelift of the Weekly Sillimanian office. Wait, there’s something wrong in this statement. Let’s change it into this: As a matter of fact, it almost took us a month to decide what to do with our office and another month to actually start “facelifting” it when we finally decided of discontinuing our efforts as frustrated Michelangelos or Da Vincis and started giving the job to the real painters.

And this is the result. Can you spot the difference between the two? Of course, you can.



From a monochromatic, low-spirited, cobweb-infested office to a colorful, candy-coated, pseudo-daycare center, the Weekly Sillimanian office has evolved—I guess, for the better. I, Camille and the rest of the editorial board have planned of this a long, long time ago pa (I remember, ‘twas on the first month of the second semester), to do something with the office's tables, chairs and shelves. It is only at the end of the school year that actions take place. Because of some enigmatic reasons, working progress suddenly stopped. And since it is April already, the obvious has surfaced: no one will ever finish the job. So, a credit to our editor-in-chief’s brilliant but often misinterpreted as lousy ideas, painters were hired.

In honor of the past dreary look of the office, I have made an album (entitled “For Old Time’s Sake” in my Facebook and Multiply) consisting of various shots of numerous corners. This may not be a gratifying avowal for our parents to know—who pay the bills of our apartments, boarding houses and dormitories—but in college the office is our home. Yes, we sometimes hated it but it will be forever loved.

P.S. I will now personally call this office The Rainbow Hub.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

black and white

These are the events that happened yesterday. Try as I might to whip up as many as I can, I only managed to bring out five things here. Maybe they have more bearing than the motorcycle my brother has lost. But why black and white? It’s self-explanatory—go figure.

1. I enjoyed reading Ricky Lee’s latest work, Para Kay B. The novel’s prose is funny, dialogues are contemporarily street-smart. If it is considered popcorn—meaning it’s enjoyable but keeps you asking for more airy tummy-filler—it is one bucket of popcorn glazed with the best caramel in town. This is only me speaking who has a hard time reading Tagalog literature. You read and decide. (White)

2. Thanks to my Father, my two sisters have new phones. Yes, he is generous but he is the perpetrator of what happened in the bullet that follows this. (White)

3. Two of my beloved companions left me (or more appropriately, forced to leave me). One I grew up with since my elementary days and the other I usually called Tsukoy and would approach me with a healthy meow always at the ready to comfort me. Goodbye to my mimings who, I believe, have witnessed more happenings of the Carnice family than anyone else in the world. (Black)

4. The departure of these two mammals stirred a bad combination of feelings in me, thus, the birth of a five-lined stanza. I am not posting it here yet; it is barely even a poem, and I can never show any works of mine that is young and easy to stumble. I guess I have clearly understood my poetics by now. (Black and White)

5. I am back to my original love: Nokia. After three years of courting Motorola, it finally put everything into an end and proves to me we are never compatible. Well, good luck to this American. I love mine Finish. (White)

Thursday, April 02, 2009

16th iligan national writers workshop fellows

We are getting older, indeed. Now, there’s the sixteenth batch…

The National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) in cooperation with the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT)-Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Extension’s Multimedia Information & Dissemination Unit and the Mindanao Creative Writers Group, Inc., announce the 16 writing fellows to the 16th Iligan National Writers Workshop (INWW) to be held on May 25-29, 2009 in Iligan City. The writing fellows are:

FICTION (English): Timothy James M. Dimacali, UP Diliman/Pasay City; (Filipino): Ma. Fe de Guia, UP Los Banos/Caloocan City; POETRY (Filipino): Jason G. Tabinas, Ateneo de Manila University/ Pasig City; Arvin T. Ello, De la Salle University/ Paranaque City; PLAY(Filipino): Marianne Mixhaela Z. Villalon, UP Diliman/Quezon City.

POETRY (Waray): Phil Harold Mercurio, UP Tacloban/Calbayog City; Jhonil C. Bajado, UP Tacloban/Maydolong, Eastern Samar; (Cebuano): Russ Raniel A. Ligtas, UP Cebu/Cebu City; Cindy A. Velasquez, University of San Carlos/Cebu City; and (Hiligaynon): Sam S. Prudente, UP Diliman/Iloilo City.

FICTION (English): Gabriel P. Millado, UP Mindanao/Davao City; Justine May R. Torregosa, Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU)/Zamboanga City; Paul Alfonse J. Marquez, ADZU/Zamboanga City; POETRY (English): Anderson V. Villa, Ateneo de Davao University/Davao City; (Chabacano): Edgar Darren G. Bendanillo, Zamboanga State College of Marine Science & Technology, Zamboanga City; and, the Manuel E. Buenafe Writing Fellow (poetry-English): Everlyn T. Jaji, ADZU/Zamboanga City.

Panelists this year are: Ma. Rosario Cruz Lucero, Jaime An Lim, Merlie M. Alunan, Victor N. Sugbo, Antonio Enriquez, Leoncio P. Deriada, German V. Gervacio, Steven Patrick C. Fernandez, Macario Tiu, this year’s keynote speaker, Ralph Semino Galan and the INWW Director Christine Godinez-Ortega.

Evaluators of INWW manuscripts this year: Bro. Karl Gaspar, CSsR; C. Godinez-Ortega, Arlene Yandug, Ed P. Ortega, German Gervacio, Steve Fernandez and Zola Gonzalez Macarambon.

Highlights this year include the launching of the 15th INWW Proceedings, ‘About Us’ edited by Godinez-Ortega and the Special Issue of the Mindanao Forum containing 15 INWW Keynote Lectures [from Lumbera to Enriquez] also edited by Godinez-Ortega. Both are published by the MSU-IIT OVCRE.

All writing fellows are asked to confirm their attendance to the INWW with the INWW secretariat (call Alice) on or before April 24, telefax: (063) 3516131; email: &

growth of an amphibian

I was checking my wallet for some 2x2 pictures and look what I found; a comprehensive documentation of the Bullfrog’s growth since I-do-not-know-when. You might not believe this but this is authentic. You can laugh, it’s alright.

Honestly, I do remember trying to put on the internet the first three photos but three is not enough. I forget about doing it, thinking why should I post a face that’s burned (grayscaling needs to be done) and almost terrifyingly skeletal? But then, until today, I think it is fun to post the pictures now that I have more than three. And, my oh my, the sudden exposure to my very own evolution is entertaining, if not revolting.