Monday, August 31, 2009

2009 philippines free press literary awards

And here it is again, the list. Familiar names are in it and it is not surprising. Up to now I still have no guts to submit anything for the magazine, maybe out of cowardice or lack of anything sensible to show off. Well, I’d just like to congratulate Sasha, Arkaye, Marie, Dean, Mia and Jean Claire for their respective achievements (the last four people have humbly shared their works for publication in Dark Blue Southern Seas 2009, an anthology I have edited for Silliman University’s literary folio).

1st Place: Epic Life by Rhea Politado
2nd Place: Marita Pangan by Mechu Aquino Sarmiento,
3rd Place: Catherine Theory by Sasha Martinez & Bad Heart by John Bengan (tie)

1st Place: Textbook Statistics by Arkaye Kierulf
2nd Place: Poet Looks at Satellite Picture of Home by Sid Gomez Hildawa
3rd Place: Mebuyen by Mikael Co

Finalists (Short Story) Sunboy by Dean Francis Alfar, Bad Heart by John Bengan, Outlaws, by Mary Jessel B. Duque, Big Yellow by Jean Claire Dy, The Death of Roy by Sharmaine Galve, Photo Sessions by Joy Anne Icayan, Catherine Theory by Sasha Martinez, Epic Life by Rhea Politado, Marita Pangan by Mechu Aquino Sarmiento, Wishes Do Come True by Mia Tijam, An Abduction by Mermaids by Eliza Victoria

Finalists (Poetry) Infinite Mondays by Mads Bajarias, Mebuyen by Mikael de Lara Co, Textbook Statistics by Arkaye Kierulf, Slowness by Marie La Vina, Instructions by Marie La Vina, Meals Without You by Arvin Mangohig, It Is 1980 by Natasha Gamalinda, Poet Looks at Satellite Picture of Home by Sid Gomez Hildawa, Poet Talks to an Old Movie by Sid Gomez Hildawa, The Little Things by Rafael Antonio C. San Diego

Friday, August 28, 2009

envy and boredom is a bad mix

We grapple with the littlest problems we think of in each day, whether we like it or not. It could be the overly-sweetened morning coffee, the tangled shoelaces, or the neon checkered pants your neighbor wears. In my case, there’s the wishful thinking of jumping onto a plane and flying straight to Dumaguete City. Yup, that’s a problem.

It may not be known to the whole world but Dumaguete holds one my beloved places: Silliman University. Today, the institution is celebrating its Founders Day. And like everybody else who’s provinces away, I miss that rustic place oh-so badly. And yes, “missing” is another problem.

You see, there’s work. I cannot leave my daily duties just to spend my day going to beach, or basking in a café for an afternoon latté, or lazing around the booth area in the evening, or drinking the night away until dawn breaks at the boulevard. Or can I? I don’t know. What I really know is that I have said this line to my immediate superiors a lot of times, on how I am doing with my work: “I’m still coping.”

Their default answer of surprise: “Ang tagal naman ng coping na yan!”

Well, if these people have just lived in a place like Dumaguete for four years or longer, I think they will take a closer look and study what a post post-graduation syndrome is. With my little problem of flying to Dumaguete remains to be "little" because there's no other choice, I try cheering myself up. August will end soon and the only bright side I can think of is that my boredom, as of now, is paid with a check.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

tell me what real means

It impresses me that some people make their words sound so genuine, believable in their piercing notes. The tune they carry is melodiously careful, if not sweet, like the slow creaking of a door when a mother checks on her sleeping child. Measured, labored with so much concern.

I know this admiration is nothing compared to what these people utter. If one hears them speak of their sentiments, one will hear the song that moves the curtain in the afternoon, the cries that commence the clouds to cover the sun.

Who could have known these exaggerations? Or how did I know these hyperboles exist? Well, who else will be familiar of these things other than me, who was once saturated in those concentrated words of affirmation and of love that lasts?

But after some time, I know everything is just not what it seems to be. A word is a word unless felt, not only heard.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

to the exit door

If my silence overpowers me, if my heart does not beat fast whenever I sit on the same chair for a couple of hours, if some habits are not going to change, if the flow stops and creates a clog, if it is all vague and the answer is there but remains unnoticed, if the big head grows bigger and the sense of logic diminishes, if his fellow fellows share more than what they can keep, if ghostly stories shrouding that humble image continues for another sunset, well, all systems go to the exit door then.

All these could mean something is not right. Nothing is right but, at least, having a thought of something reasonably right is adequate. I guess this is not my luck.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

small on your palms

My sister showed me something that made my heart skip a beat. In her hands was an envelope the size of my thumb and a pop-up letter with the date October 1997 written in tiny letters. It was weird seeing those made-up things in this day, not because of some rubbish I saw but wistfulness.

I made them 12 years ago.

When I was a child I constantly wrote letters longhand to my sister who lived here in Manila. Even if the revolutionary Macintosh was already out in the market, we did not have a computer. Starting at the young age of six onwards, I sent to her what I like as a birthday present, drawings, stories from my neighbor and even juvenile poems in jumbled English. If a plain sheet of paper was not enough, I constructed small paper planes, boats and, like what I recently saw, pop-up cards. I placed them in self-made envelopes and I didn’t even know yet how they reached to my sister. As long as gave one of them to my mother, I felt relieved.

And as man looking back as a child, it amazed me that the most blissful experience I can remember was the day I received a letter from my sister with a little package I wished for her to give. It was a set of glow-in-the-dark stars.

Indeed, love is more significant if you see it closely, feel it like petal on your fingers, or a glow-in-the-dark star. As what Mom Edith Tiempo reminds us with her poem Bonsai, “…life and love are real/ Things you can run and/ Breathless hand over/ To the merest child.”

Sunday, August 09, 2009

freedom as respect and humanness

[Statement on the National Artist Awards]

The head of a country or state who is truly enlightened provides the populace with the exercise of freedom not just for the government’s considerations but, most important, freedom as every individual’s right and privilege. To be aware of freedom as the individual’s possession requires the respect for his personality, for his considered actions, for his beliefs and decisions. A favorite American saying goes this way: “Your freedom ends where my nose begins;” this saying stresses how personal this requirement for freedom goes, with the specific anatomy as the limit that one’s freedom can go.

What is meant by a country’s head being enlightened? By this enlightenment is meant the awareness that at the very primary root of freedom is the human presence, humanity that demands respect – because without this respect one might as well be dealing with the most fearful and undomesticated of animals.

A well-run government’s decisions are based of course on respect for rules and regulations,and the respect always is rooted in the awareness of the acknowledged group’s right and well-considered performance of its duty.

Dr. Edith L. Tiempo
National Artist for Literature
August 6, 2009

Saturday, August 08, 2009

an attempt to avoid dormancy

Just look at that. Since when have I posted a decent post here? I can’t even remember. It would even be more confusing if I define what “decent” is in the context of the blogosphere. Due to the reality that I am finally one of the million of employees working like machines, it is hard to find some time to write. I can ever consider myself lucky right now I am able to come up this. Here are some posts for lost writing time of events.

Anniversary. My mother and father have just celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary last August 1, Saturday in the afternoon, at Villa Alzhun, Dauis, Bohol (even if the actual anniversary date is on the third). This Ruby anniversary is just one of the seldom seen testaments that there are things lovely and touching—and hopefully, things that would last. To the Higher Being, bless this family.

Work. As what I have said earlier, I am a working citizen now, paying taxes that even the genius Albert Einstein could not comprehend in his lifetime. The first week of the job is pretty unhurried, nicely slow an understatement, but I know my bosses’ smiles and words of encouragement would not last. I know that being absent on the first day of the job is not a plus factor to my records. I know that someday I will pull every strand of my hair and shout, “Heck! I can juggle but I am no magician!”

Absurdity. I still have a bit of time to write something else so I have included here mundane undertakings a fool would puke if he would know. Because I work in a company that’s slightly above call-center and advertising corporate-look standards, I cut my hair. But because I know I will not be comfortable with how everything looks the same (and smiles the same) with each other, I add another ear piercing. Maybe next time I will wear my faux diamonds. Oh, by the way, my upper set of teeth is in retainers already. Absurd, enough? Tell me.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009