Friday, April 29, 2011

oh my

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 official traile from EnternityGR on Vimeo.

Marketing aside, this is truly my generation’s literature, and it is sad finally seeing it end on the silver screen. Oh, thank heavens for books (and especially you, Jo Rowling)! I am going back to them soon. I’ve got nothing more to say. It is hard not to be speechless.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Just in time for the wipeout of awkward photos and “testimonials” in Friendster, I cleaned up this blog. It was getting crowded with so much nonsense (and I won’t admit that this cyber corner of mine belongs to that league). Aside from that, many of those in my blogrolls have entries as recent as circa 2008.

Clicking them open, one by one, was saddening. (Of course, I have to check each before sentencing it to hell). The once lively community is now a virtual ghost town. I didn’t even know where these people are right now.

Curious, but is this how the present mindset works these days? Are we just too click-happy on all things trending and new, that it is easy to dismiss this and that in a heartbeat? Do we now have the attention span of a paperclip!?

If that is the case, they should at least give the data cloud a favor and delete their sites before jumping onto Tumblr or Twitter. It does not do any good leaving the internet with articles about red nail polish and other related matters.

(And yes, I won’t admit that I have entries falling under related matters).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

11th iyas creative writing workshop fellows

This may be too late an announcement, but this is a self-imposed initiative for having been part of the growing family in its 10th edition (yeah, just last year), which I think would be my last following my participation in Dumaguete and Iligan workshops back in 2008. I have learned a lot from this gathering. And I hope for the same thing to the new fellows listed below:


IYAS announces its Roster of Fellows for the 11th IYAS Creative Writing Workshop at the Balay Kalinungan, University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City, Philippines on April 25-30.

Fiction Fellows

Michelle Abigail Tan (English)
Karlo Antonio David (Filipino-Playwriting/Drama)
Rom Peña (Filipino-Kuwento)
Norman Darap (Hiligaynon)
Jayson Parba (Cebuano-Sugilanon)
Romeo Bonsocan (Cebuano-Sugilanon)

Poetry Fellows

Ronn Andrew Angeles (English)
Ronaldo Recto (English)
Louise Vincent Amante (Filipino)
Cor Marie Abando (Filipino)
Rogie Bacosa (Hiligaynon)
Chuvic Monserate (Hiligaynon)
Darylle Rubino (Visayan)
Desiree Balota(Cebuano)
Ioannes Arong (Cebuano).

The panelists for this year are: Dr. Marjorie Evasco, Dr. Gerardo Torres, Dr. Genevieve Asenjo, Dr. Christine Ortega, Prof. Danilo M. Reyes and Prof. John Iremil Teodoro.

The IYAS Creative Writing Workshop is sponsored by the University of St. La Salle, the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center of De La Salle University and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

call for contributions to the high chair poetry journal, issue 14

We are inviting interested writers to submit poems, essays, and reviews for possible inclusion in the 14th issue of High Chair’s online poetry journal, which will be released in July this year.

We welcome submissions in Filipino and English. Please visit our
site to get a more comprehensive idea as regards the work we do and the poetry and essays we publish. We also welcome reviews of published poetry collections, especially of Filipino authors.

The deadline for submission is on June 15. For poetry submissions, please send no more than five (5) pages of verse. There is no page limit for essay contributions.

High Chair is a non-profit independent press based in the Philippines. Its first online issue went live in 2002 and has, over the years, published more than 19 chapbooks and full-length collections in English and Filipino.

Please email your submissions or enquiries to (subject heading: High Chair Issue 14). Feel free to circulate this call for submissions to other interested parties.

(lifted from this site)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

on writing, again

Writing is a perpetual act of practice.

It seems this is the reason why writing does not require a licensure exam unlike accountancy or engineering or dentistry. Nothing is definite for what the craft demands. It is a constant struggle of the letters, a coming of terms with one’s duende, a Möbius strip of starting in the beginning and ending at the beginning all over again. The reasons could go on and on.

(fragment from a longer article)

Saturday, April 23, 2011



For some reason I asked a pebble this question:
Why your heft on my palm like the tug from a child

In the fair? The first drop of rain on the forehead?
The handwritten note? Your smoothness against the rush

Of sea is something my fingers have longed to touch.
Lately, mornings and evenings have been rough on me.

(Empathy towards a stone is an old ritual;
It takes practice to cipher grains of its surface

Some story that's less sad and jagged than the one
Found at a well's cold bottom. Or in a man’s chest.

I did not wait to hear a word from a pebble.
I stood silent as stone, holding on to what matters.


The outdoor garage was not yet done in the evening of 1993. After dinner, your family laughed that communal laughter. Being the youngest, you felt that they were scheming against you. You always thought things were about you, reason or without reason. Tantrum was your weapon of choice, so you dropped on the floor and flailed your arms, thrashed your legs, then cried louder than the screeches of a rock song playing on the radio.

You got their attention. When breaking things was not enough, you ran outside and stumbled on the rectangular plot of gravel near the garden, sharp edges digging into your palms and knees. Your father and mother pursued you, your brothers and sisters behind them. Your mother tried to talk you out of the unfolding drama, approaching you, when you hurled a piece of rock straight at her face. It was meant to be a warning of some sort but it was too late.

You could neither remember the faces nor the voices of anyone except for the blood. You remained crouching on the unfinished garage while your family ushered your mother back in the house. You were stunned at how small things could break the comfort of the night. Or someone like your mother. This time it was really about you. You cried for a reason. A few years later, you willed to hate the song playing on the radio that night.


Lighter than air, that’s
What we are, until we pick
Stones and pocket them.


We remember names by what we can recall, often for validity: stone for David, bear for Theodore, flowers for Rose, cats for Josie, guavas for Juan. Curious, but the grand scheme is simple: we name them in such ways because they seem appropriate, impeccably fit, something like You for Me. So apt is this union that I will brand our names on a stone and toss it in a lake, for in days like these one has to feel the depth of all things.


I have a guess and I believe in it
Since guesses are potent when trusted:
To think of strength with a piece of rock is
To blaspheme who is deemed the immutable one:
The Creator. The Grand Architect. The Master Builder.
A chip off a rock used to stone someone to death is ungodly.
Stoning could not bring a human back to dust. It’s not that easy.
In many anthologies, a lottery has recounted enough about it. Here’s
A confession: I could never cry on a rock. I have other things to lean on.


Summer, 2009. You left the beach and brought the pebble with you, leaving the place of the free, the municipality of La Libertad, Negros Oriental, to return to Dumaguete. But as the bus trudged on a tough dirt road, you saw chickens in a coop. The fowls were not free.

There was an engine problem. All of you had to get off the bus. You checked on a chicken and were surprised that it pecked on a little stone then swallowed it. You stepped back when a man behind you said the chicken had to do it. In your mind, you hated the word had.

“Chickens don’t have teeth.”
“And then?”
“They can’t chew. They even have to swallow more.”
“Yes, the stones go to their gullet and ground the grains for the stomach to digest.”

You stared in wonder at the feathered creature. Then you surmised the chickens could never be free: they were forever bound to stones to live. The man laughed at you and threw a handful of rice grains into the pen.


Tonight, under the dormant waters
in the backyard, no stones are turning,
their shadows remain heaped in their

usual spots. The pool is their lullaby,
the rainy month’s full moon their mother.
As a child I would not dare disturb

the stillness to pluck something glowing
in the waters, else the di-unato would pull
me into a world much different than ours.

Years pass but the small lake insists on its presence.
Beneath it the pebbles that we, brave brooding
kids of mornings past, have flung to see how

wonderful certain things move before our eyes,
until we grow up and notice the swaying of hips.
Or the arms one hopes to be embraced with.

Remarkable, how capable they are to resist
the nudge of time. Unlike us: children became
men who loved women who loved men who

loved other men. Even the mango
tree that looms at the far end bears fruits
already. A true sign of a golden age.

But overall this faithfulness and un-
faithfulness to time is a beautiful reminder:
The world spins, a butterfly takes flight.

See, the waters quiver with the stone I drop,
only to return to their oneness in seconds,
a mirror showing what constantly changes us.

Friday, April 22, 2011

panelists for the 50th silliman university national writers workshop

First Week (May 2-6, 2011)

Rowena Torrevillas
Cesar Aquino
Susan Lara
Myrna Peña Reyes
Danny Reyes

Second Week (May 9-13, 2011)

Rowena Torrevillas
Cesar Aquino
Dave Genotiva
Ricky de Ungria
Bobby Villasis

Third Week (May 16-20)

Rowena Torrevillas
Jimmy Abad
Cesar Aquino
Kirpal Singh (Visiting Asian Writer)
Krip Yuson

(lifted from Tapok Silliman page)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

50th silliman university national writers workshop fellows

And here they are! The golden girls and boys in this year’s 50th Silliman University National Writers Workshop! This would be an interesting batch. I know four in the list, and each has proven to be a force to be reckoned with. (But they are kind). Hey, see you this summer! You know who you are!

Anyway, here’s the official announcement:

Silliman University National Writers Workshop Director-in-Residence Rowena Tiempo-Torrevillas, 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 50th Silliman University National Writers Workshop scheduled on 2-20 May 2011:

For Poetry

Charmaine Carreon (University of the Philippines-Diliman)
Evangeline Gubat (University of the Philippines-Diliman)
Jeffrey Javier (University of the Philippines-Mindanao)
Allen Samsuya (University of the Philippines-Mindanao)
Alyza Taguilaso (University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, Inc.)

For Fiction

Glenn Diaz (University of the Philippines-Diliman)
Christine Lao (University of the Philippines, College of Law)
Emmanuel Lava (Ateneo de Manila University)
Andrea Macalino (Ateneo de Manila University)
Marius Monsanto (University of the Philippines-Mindanao)

For Creative Non-Fiction

Philline Donggay (De La Salle University)
Rogelio Garcia, Jr. (Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan)
Miguel Sulangi (Ateneo de Manila University)
Elaine Tobias (University of the Philippines-Diliman)
Maria Villaruel (De La Salle University)

This year’s panel of critics is composed of Dumaguete-based writers Myrna Peña Reyes, Bobby Villasis and Cesar Ruiz Aquino, as well as guest panelists Susan Lara, DM Reyes, Dave Genotiva, Ricky de Ungria, Gemino Abad, and Alfred Yuson.

For this summer, internationally-acclaimed Singaporean writer from Singapore Management University, Kirpal Singh, will be sitting in with the panel. The workshop, which is the longest running Writers Workshop in Asia, is coordinated by the Silliman University Department of English and Literature.

Monday, April 18, 2011

all work and no play

Jumping bullfrogs! “Blue Collar, White Collar, No Collar: Stories of Work” edited by Richard Ford is something that I’ve been looking for a long time! Fiction that revolves around corporate issues or just even slightly touch on a work environment! Coincidentally, I’m working on a personal project that sounds so much like this for a long time too, spinning tales out of the 38th floor, and coming out probably as too self-absorbed that they end up something like this, this, and this among many others. Besides, I have enough love story anthologies in my bookshelf. I think I need to do this, with my reasons going back to this post I made early last year.

Seriously, I’ve got to find this book, as soon as possible. Or a belated birthday gift, anyone?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

small notes of a big trip

Traveling can be an excuse to escape the humdrum of anything that you’ve been currently in (unless, of course, you’re lucky and happy on where you’re currently in). But that might be the point of it all. Traveling, local or not, gives us the momentary thrill and newfound sense of familiarity of discovering foreign tastes, places, and people. Or basically the exact opposite of things we relentlessly complain about.

That is why from March 31 to April 3, the usual culprits grab their packed bags and put on their happy-joy-joy smiles, all giddy for the B.I.G. trip (that’s Bacolod-Iloilo-Guimaras for us who love to put a silly spin on our expeditions). But for such a short period of time, especially for three major destinations, we only had little snippets of experiences of the spots visited.

I am not particularly sure with the rest of my peers but the experience altogether is sufficient for the writing project I’ve been brewing on for the last couple of months. Yes, a personal project that involves a lot of traveling and a lot of cashing out, so that makes me half-mature for discipline and half-juvenile for indulgence. And for all the Amazing Race jaunting we had just to cover every inch of every new territory (for some), here is what I have got to say:


It’s still the same, the last time I have visited it eleven months ago, and the first time four years ago. There is a changed degree of busyness in the streets but the blanketing quietude is still there. A companion wondered where all the skyscrapers are. Fact one: despite the absence of tall buildings and towering billboards, Bacolod is one thriving city of cultural and business progression in Negros Occidental. And for me, fact two, the place is all about food. For our budgeted time, we had to settle to Chicken House for their inasal, Café Bob’s for their disturbingly reasonable top-notch coffee drinks, and Calea, of which it never failed in making me a sucker for their cakes and pastries. Hands down it’s one of the best.

After all the food binging, off we went to Talisay City’s The Ruins. Since no amount of sun-dance could bring the fiery sun out of the clouds, we remained thankful that the day did not offer us rain instead. (Fact three: locals shared that we were lucky—days and weeks before we arrived the province was washed in almost-ceaseless downpour, morning until evening). Story of the skeletal grand house replayed in my head but our guide, who was supposed to be enjoying his day-off if not for our timely appearance, is a comedic historian in a positive way. We listened to Roger, who impeccably pronounced his name as ‘Row-Jhur,’ even if I heard it all in the past. Time was running fast, so we purchased our mandatory pasalubong at Bong-Bong’s before rushing on to our next trip.


Though Iloilo supposedly followed in the chronology of our B-I-G Trip, we only got to linger in this city for a couple of minutes, in transit for the moment. But after our stay in Guimaras, we will have Iloilo City all by ourselves for one night and one morning before we all fly back to Manila.

We arrived at Guimaras’s Jordan Wharf in the Municipality of Jordan (it’s not a joke, though they articulate it as ‘hor-dan’) in the early afternoon of April 1. Between our twenty-to-thirty minute ride via multicab to Kenyama Beach Resort, we stopped over at a local dry market to raid boxes upon boxes of the island province’s world-famous mangoes. And here’s one important tip for future visitors: make sure the fruit stall where you’ll be buying your mangoes has a license or permit of something. This way you can assure yourselves of the sweetest carabao mangoes that appeared on the pages of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1995.

Not to dampen anyone’s spirits but one has to be as compliant as ever when it comes to accommodations. Some resorts basically had no 24/7 electricity and running water, so ours can be considered luxury at its best. Though the night was always young in Guimaras, seconds moving in turtle pace, we got some shuteye by twelve midnight to visit the white sand beaches in some nearby coves, caves especially one where you can drink water that drips from its stalactites, and the lonely lighthouse that sits on the edge of a cliff. Before six in the evening, we all returned to Jordan Wharf as the sun set, the pier turning gold like the island’s mangoes.


We were back in Iloilo, and I have never seen a province, or a city at that, packed with so much malls and department stores. Imagine, if I am not mistaken, three SM Malls! What is even more interesting to note is that they do not look cramped and crowded like other [over]developed counterparts.

Whether it is due to the looming flight back to Manila or the settling of exhaustion in our bodies, we find that the place seemed to be in a constant rush, people somewhat dressed for a special occasion, with nightlife throbbing at Smallville, a Western Visayas version of Eastwood City, Libis. But no one was complaining. We got to visit one mall for a pair of slippers and a headband, bought another set of pasalubong at Biscocho House, and dined at Ted’s for their piping hot bowl of special batchoy. After a few rounds of drinks at JAQ’s, coffee and buns at KopiRoti (yes, we specifically had to visit this branch in Iloilo), chatter, and more chatter, the grouped returned to Riverside Inn for a much-needed quick nap.

By 6:45 in the morning of April 3, we found ourselves in a plane cabin, all worn out but with smiles on our faces, that rare kind of smile that could only come across in days spent with the right people at the right time. Today’s Thursday, we are back to our office grind.