Thursday, December 15, 2011

dark blue southern seas call for submissions

For Silliman campus writers! Dark Blue Southern Seas, the official literary folio of The Weekly Sillimanian, is now open for submissions of previously unpublished literary works from students and alumni of Silliman University. The folio, to be edited by Mariella Sagarbarria Bustamante with Ian Rosales Casocot as moderator, is accepting short fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and graphic fiction in English, Filipino, and Cebuano. Photographs, drawings, and paintings are also welcome. Deadline of submission is 27 January 2012. (Update: just send your work).

Email your work as attached .doc file (or in .png format for graphic works, photographs, and drawings) to Send your submission together with a short bionote, in 3-4 sentences, that includes your name, course, year level, and anything else that may you want to say about yourself. For queries, please contact Ella at +63917-314-1161.


Dark Blue Southern Seas is something very close to my heart, so I am hollering this ad here. If you’re a Sillimanian, or even if you’re not, please feel free to repost.

Monday, December 12, 2011

here and queer

My poem “Cushions” is in the Queer Punk Issue of Paper Monster Press (and Eva Gubat’s work, too!). Was glad this managed to worm its way into this humble publication, because what better way to tackle a stupendous lie than to turn it over. And send it to the market.

Got no hard copy yet, since I was not able to attend the launching during the Writers Night last December 9 at the Toyota Foundation Bldg., Asian Center, UP-Diliman. Will now have to think of ways to get hold of one.

Aside from things literary, this venture also includes a couple of visual arts and a companion CD for the music selections. Here is the complete lineup:


Ayn Frances dela Cruz (Red Balloon)
Chinedu Jonathan (Cedars of Lebanon)
Christa De La Cruz (Rent)
David Neves (Final Thought 2)
Elan Sastine (Artemis and Callisto)
Eva Gubat (Parallels)
F. Jordan Carnice (Cushions)
Lolito Go (Suicide Note)
Paolo Domingo Macariola (Framing Seconds)
Ria Bautista (XVII)
Tofi Alonte (Shadowtale)
Zeraph Dylan Moore (Pre-Op Beauty)
Jeanilyn Kwan (Identity Crisis)
Daniw Santiago (Bagyo)
Elaine Lazaro (Ilang tala sa isang araw na pamumuhay kuno)
Emmanuel Halabasco (Kung bakit magaspang ang mukha ng buwan)
Jim Pascual Agustin (Lakad-lasing)


Aofie Odwyer
Lorna Zaragosa
Chris Bird
Jorge aka Munds
Archo “capitalist” bastard
Ivan Diolola
Paige de Guzman Maquiling


Mitten (All That I’ve Got)
The Heart Foundation (Stereo Lab)
The Bernadettes (Oh! Oh! Oh!)
Scantron (Sweet Song!)
The Serial Heartbreaker (Frida Boy)
Skies of Ember (I’ll Be Your Mirror)
Monochrome (Between Tranquility and Impending Death)
Elemento (Makina)
Pogs Fortes (Toke a Little)
Goodleaf (Dub Pilipinas)
The Presidents (Long, Long Time)
Lions and Acrobats (Hanging On A Cliff Named IV Drip)
Read Our Lines (The Natural)
Fherrond (The Analyst)
Method (A Bitter Farewell)

Thursday, December 08, 2011

how to make an accident

There is no end to the vacancy
of what has once been surrounding us:
womb, embrace, room, coffin, body, sky.

Maybe we are born to keep our hands
wringing in the air, in obvious gaps,
searching for things to hold on to.

So it seems appearing to be wise helps,
that we know countless shades of red
and suggest books we have never read.

We always try to fill the empty glass.
Yet it also seems we are not old enough
to think we deserve the perils we create.

Imagine the glass, brimming and untouched.
Imagine the stain on the mahogany.
Imagine the thirst others would have.

Someday, with the back of our hands,
we will tip this glass off the table
to see it splinter into little jigsaw pieces.

We will then note the liquid map surfacing
on the marble, a new topography within reach.
There are desperate measures we resort to.

And this would be one of them:
to stare at space, water in the eyes,
like that pool on the floor, filling some void.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

fortunate with this book

Consider myself lucky, having plucked off the shelves Wildwood, a thick book authored by Colin Meloy with illustrations by Carson Ellis. (A husband-and-wife creative tandem really, of which the former is the front man of my favorite band, The Decemberists).

Yes, it is a children’s book—though a strange one especially knowing that the author writes songs about murder and vast catastrophes—but the impulsive purchase is not for me but for my nephew. A little token for the yuletide season.

As for the lucky part mentioned earlier? Well, after flipping through the pages of the book, I realized it had the kind of atmosphere that I had been trying to meld with my hands, trying to emulate in a new project.

The urge to create something, with the aid of this book, is strangely in my system lately, electric and pulsing, so it seems logical to hop into this budding genesis. This feeling comes rarely. And I believe one brilliant announcement that has popped in my email’s inbox last Monday has something to do with this. I couldn’t share it right now.

What this all means is that my nephew has to wait a little bit longer for his Christmas gift.

Monday, December 05, 2011

boracay and beyond : ordinary night

Day 3
November 27

Tobey, who I met in a workshop last May, had been working in the island for months, something that dealt with a lot of “researching and copy-pasting” (her words), so it was apt to held her hostage and become our guide in Tiguatian Island, or now commercially known as Crystal Cove. Never heard until I read her entry about it weeks ago.

Woke up at six (that meant I approximately had four hours of sleep), taken breakfast, prepared our thingamajigs, bribed a tricycle for P20/head to bring us to a shore closest to the island which rested between Boracay and Caticlan, and braved the banka ride on rough waters. We arrived a bit out of breath and paid P200 each for the entrance fee.

The tiny island, something Davey Jones would gladly settle in, was not for the extreme city-dwellers or for those jaded by too much house music. (But I guess they really need it). A two-hectare mass of sharp stones and corals, the island had no running fresh water, and everything sold in it was pricey. But we were prepared and we lived to tell the tale. Thanks to Cheetos and measly liters of water.

Though not thoroughly developed, with some structures said to be built little by little through the years, what made up for what it did not have was the overall stunning ambience. It was a gorgeous piece of land, the caves with the crystals (finally found them, after minutes of scouring the island) an experience with those little pockets of water pool and sand. Sadly, since the seas that day were high and rough we were not able to dip and frolic in one of the two.

Then we were back in the Island of the United Colors of Benetton. Had lunch at Sababi Exotic Foods and Vegetarian somewhere in the heart of D*Talipapa. Bought our choice of food in the nearby wet market and made the restaurant cook them for us. Liempo, shrimps, scallops. That meal was divine. We also bought the mandatory pasalubongs around the premises.

After a quick dip in the pool back in the hotel, off we went to Puka Beach via tricycle for P25/head. The things I heard were right: it had one of the most beautiful sunsets in the country, perhaps even better than White Beach. We spent the entire afternoon taking pictures and embracing (or crashing into) the large surging waves. That explained my comrades body aches the following day.

On our way back to the resort, we managed to tick a few places off our list: Jona’s Milkshakes and The Real Coffee and Tea Café. The former’s Banana Chocolate Peanut Shake (P180) and the latter’s Ultimate Cupcake (P65 each)—which had a wicked combination of pineapple, walnut, raisin, banana, carrot, whatever—were both delightfully a surprise. For my mates who ordered the café’s famous Calamansi Muffins, they were not as enamored, though I honestly thought they were as yummy as the Ultimates. In fact, I believed one would be best served with a cup of dark coffee or hot chocolate.

And then they were worn-out. Four of the eight decided to rest on the remaining hours, knowing we had to leave the hotel at six the next morning. Good thing I managed to pull the other two out of their beds. A quick dinner was followed by one final walk to the White Beach. I texted Tobey to come with us, but she responded she had work to do. (Apparently, I forgot we also had work to do in a day’s time). It was an ordinary night, the occasional stares/looks from fellow tourists (or maybe locals) flashing at us maybe because of some strange familiarity or simply checking us out. I’d like to think of the latter.

Yes, ordinary, this night. Until we had our last drink at Epic in Station 2 around two in the morning. We were calmly lounging on rattan sofas outside the establishment when one man excused himself and asked permission if he could join us in the table. All three of us, of course, were surprised, but as if we had telekinetically imagined this was how the dynamics worked in a crowded-island-vacation, we agreed.

His name was Matt, he was from Oregon, and he had worked in the navy as a technical fixer (forgot the official term) in ships and other fighting machines for a possible war. For a couple of years. Now, he just had to identify where to expend his rewards, his moolah. Alone. He was fresh off Palawan and planned to stay for a week or two in Boracay. Next destination would be Cebu, and I, of course, suggested Negros Oriental and Bohol. And perhaps now desperate to have someone to talk to, he luckily found us along the shores looking like people also desperate to have someone to talk to. And boy he did talk. I could not spare enough space here to encapsulate his curriculum vitae just that between his stints as a high school wrestling coach and playing offbeat characters in a theater, he sure had one contentedly busy life. And at 26, that is one fortunate busy life.

By four in the morning, we three realized we were out of harm’s way, that this man was not one we initially thought he would be: lunatic (though the picture suggests otherwise), pretentious, implausible. Or maybe we were just dreadfully beat we did not notice any of them. Anyway. He planned to visit Manila and thought it would be nice to catch up with us three soon. Fine.

We returned to the hotel a few minutes later, fully aware we only had an hour before the rest of the group wakes up, ready to leap to the pier in Caticlan, returning to reality. It was an ordinary night, yes, but it only started that way.

[ 3rd of 3 parts ]

Friday, December 02, 2011

boracay and beyond : challenge unacceptable

Day 2
November 26

Had to fit a gargantuan things-to-do this day, especially that three of the group of eight were freshies in the island. Tried parasailing in the morning, of which the little voice in my head could still not justify the 15 minutes of one
’s life dangling in the sky would cost P1,300. Some comrades, dizzy from being human kites, had not been strong-willed as I was, so we lounged on a vacated spot on the beach and desperately suntanned ourselves with the grey cloud-cloaked sun. Yes, it threatened to rain that day.

Lunch was at Smoke, one of the two little restos in a hidden corner at D*Mall and D*Palengke, a suggestion made by Tobey (a person that would be humanized a little more later). The place felt like Hayahay or the old Memento in Dumaguete City. I loved it. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong food. The Beef and Mushroom was not entirely tender. Bulalo soup, fish steak, and apparently most on the menu aside from my order were good. At least my mango shake was refreshing.

Planned to try out the ATVs (All-Terrain Vehicle) and vroom our adrenalin-hungered selves onto this and that course, but the astronomical price made me back out, which, in classic toppling domino fashion, made the rest of the pack followed suit. (I don’t know how to drive, yet I still have to pay P400 for sitting next to the driver! Unless the driver is of royal descent, I
’d give in). So, we went back to the beach and got ourselves a paraw, a boat powered only by wind. That was another grand off the budget.

After half-an-hour of cruising, occasionally bathed by swelling waters (we did not heed the warnings that that day’s sea was a little bit rough), we treated ourselves with a humongous bowl (The Couples Size) of halo-halo at Halowich. There was a humongous-er bowl (The Barkada Size) that made me wonder, how big are the couples supposed to be here in Boracay? Left the question unanswered and, after a quick wash-up back in the hotel, had buffet dinner at Alf’s (reasonably prized for their tasty food at P380) and introduced Tobey to the group.

Mates urged (or commanded) I try Cocomangas’ “Still Standing After 15” challenge, a life-changing if not deadly test of endurance of having 15 mixed liquor shots, to solidify my status as the varsity player in the group. If successful one would get a choice of jersey or a tee and have his/her name engraved on a little golden plate to be plastered on a wall. Unfortunately, my aching wallet was not as enduring as my spirit (win or lose, those shots cost P1,300+), so we settled with the Illusion Drink, the joint’s famous drink. It was safe. I was neither seeing nor hearing anything after seven shots.

Then skipped to Guilly’s Island for a bottle of beer then to Club Paraw for another one, before getting a night-cap at Pat’s Creek, one my favorite places along the shore. The next itinerary at the first hint of sunlight would be a departure of the island’s lavish, cosmopolitan offerings. I was looking forward to this.

[ 2nd of 3 parts ]

Thursday, December 01, 2011

boracay and beyond : not a good start

The last time is December 2008. From where I stand today, that is a long stretch of time. In an entire vacationer’s summary, Boracay sure has its highs and lows. And yet the island, mildly peopled in the low season and increasingly urbanized all year round, never fails to surprise upon visiting it again.

Day 1
November 25

Filed for a half-day vacation leave last Friday (since that’s what VL’s are for; it’s strange though having to fill-in that “Reason” blank in the application). Left the office at 12:30PM to catch the 3:35PM flight to Caticlan. What made it all wrong was that there was no flight to Caticlan. Due to “sunset limitation.” Brilliant. Co-traveler revealed it was the same excuse she received in her trip to Caticlan before. So airline carrier, why promote a flight scheduled on a time when sunlight is always, erm, limited? And haven’t you heard of light bulbs? Halogen lamps? Or bonfire? This is the second time I have experienced pesky troubles with this airline. In two month’s time. Read previous gripe here.

Anyway. Flight was moved to 7PM at Kalibo instead. That airport was an hour and a half away from the pier in Caticlan, or an hour and 45 minutes away from island of Boracay itself. So we missed the sunset. So sunset watching would have to wait. (We only had three nights and two days to spare). Arrived at Kalibo International Airport around 8PM, which luckily made us hitch the last boat to the island of white sand/tourists just in time.

Dropped luggage in Boracay Holday Resort and immediately went out for dinner. For this, had to shell out a couple of hundreds to indulge in seafood. Then decided to walk through White Beach from Stations 2 to 1 and venture the latter’s talked-about nightlife. But, alas, the waters had risen to the point of reaching the establishments’ beach-front entrances that the sofas, bean bags, mini tables by the shore were removed, thus, the chaos was concentrated inside the clubs’ already-chaotic order. We all went back to our hotel and ordered a couple of beers. Yeah, we were losers, but not tomorrow.

[ 1st of 3 parts ]