Tuesday, August 30, 2016

buwan ng mga akdang pinoy: ani 39

My work “Poetry as a Lesson in Zoology” will be included in the 39th edition of ANI, the official literary journal of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. What a heartwarming way to end this month. Good news: that’s one dream finally ticked off the bucket list. Bad news: I won’t be able to attend the book launching on September 23 at the CCP Silangan Hall, 5PM, with the same event also serving as a celebration for the 47th anniversary of CPP. Sayang.

This particular edition takes on the theme “Kahayupan: The Animal Kingdom,” and it is touted to be the thickest issue of ANI yet. It has the cover art by Neil Doloricon, and the published works are written in various languages like Filipino, Ilokano, Akeanon, Bikol, Bikol-Naga, Chavacano, Kinaray-a, and English. The ninety-one writers (from across the nation and across the globe) featured in this literary journal are the following:

Jose Marte A. Abueg
Jim Pascual Agustin
Vijae O. Alquisola
Jenalyn J. Aman
Mark Angeles
Rebecca T. Añonuevo
Genevieve Mae Aquino
Mark Joseph Z. Arisgado
Mark Anthony B. Austria
Elbert O. Baeta
Gil S. Beltran
Herminio S. Beltran
April Mae M. Berza
Julius D. Bulahan
Anabelle Calleja
Ernesto Carandang
F. Jordan Carnice
Dexter Cayanes
Jose Jason L. Chancoco
Melchor F. Cichon
Jasmine Cruz
M. Protacio de Guzman
Rodrigo dela Peña, Jr.
Francis Gallano Delgado
Charlie Anne I. Espiritu
Martin G. Genodepa
Joel Jacob
Sabina Marites Lañada
Marra PL. Lanot
Ireneo Jr. Lit
Nestor L. Lucena
Francis C. Macansantos
Priscilla Supnet Macansantos
Shur C. Mangilaya
Noahlyn Maranan
Vim Nadera
Ben D. Nillo
Richard P. Nollen
Allen Lenard Ocampo
Aldrin Pentero
Padmapani L. Perez
Honesto M. Pesimo, Jr.
Allan Popa
Frank Rivera
Glen A. Sales
Louie Jon A. Sanchez
E. San Juan, Jr.
John Patrick Solano
Ariel Tabag
John Iremil Teodoro
Glenn Ford B. Tolentino
Oswald A. Valente
Hope Sabanpan Yu
Jeffrey R. Ancheta
Ma. Rita Aranda
Emmanuel T. Barrameda
Ludwig Jan Batuigas
Janet Batuigas
Lorna A. Billones
Rina Garcia Chua
Joey Chua
Efren J. Domingo
U Z. Eliserio
Susan Lara
Andrian Legaspi
Perry Mangilaya
Eilyn L. Nidea
Ian Kenneth L. Orasa
Wilhelmina Orozco
Chuckberry J. Pascual
Ma. Angelica Edralyn R. Tuazon
Raul Esquillo Asis
Ana Maria Cuevas-Oliveros
Eugene Y. Evasco
Shur C. Mangilaya
Marilyn Marquez Mercado
Jasmin Tresvalles
Adelle Villarey
Christine S. Bellen
Emerson Bengco
Joshene Bersales
Grace D. Chong
Francis Gallano Delgado
Zarah C. Gagatiga
Luis P. Gatmaitan
Ferdinand Pisigan Jarin
Christine F. Godinez Ortega
Carla M. Pacis
Rosales S. Pagnamitan
Flor Salanga
Herbel Santiago.

[ image and information borrowed from this site ]

Saturday, August 20, 2016

buwan ng mga akdang pinoy: feast and famine, stories of negros by rosario cruz lucero

To continue our celebration of Buwan ng mga Akdang Pinoy, here’s another literary work that deserves all the praises it gets and, I believe, deserves the need for this masterpiece to be required reading for both casual readers and lovers of literature. This is Rosario Cruz Lucero’s short story collection Feast and Famine: Stories of Negros. This is so far the best collection of stories by a Filipino writer that I’ve ever read, and I am not kidding. It features an array of genres: domestic realism, historical fiction, mystery, even magical realism. But the real and impressive triumph here is how all of these variations feel connected, seamless, and unassuming. It never felt jarring. It is not because of the language or the sprinkling of local Bisayan here and there, and definitely not just the setting of Negros Island where most of the stories' actions take place. I believe it is Lucero's expert handling of the characters’ psyches, the situations or how point A leads to point C and reverts back to point B, and the timeless expressions of misery and joy amidst a backdrop of culture and traditions that are so vivid and well-realized. I can’t stop gushing about this collection since the very first time I stumbled upon it in 2006. From time to time, I return to this work whenever I needed reminding how wonderfully singular and original the Filipino sensibility. For a slim book, it packs a lot of punch. And I am telling you, you better prepare for it.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

buwan ng mga akdang pinoy: hukbong sandatahan ng kahagardan! by manix abrera

I am not sure if every Filipino knows this, but August is Buwan ng Kasaysayan, and while history in this country is now muddled with lies and denial, with many people easily falling for online memes and fabrications, there are remedies to keep the truth from slipping away into obscurity. One of them is the literary arts. Through the imagination of Filipino writers, we cull the insights and the universal truth this nation desperately needs. But for a country with a writer as its national hero, it is ironic that only a few of the populace know about Filipino works of literature. Sad, but it is not the end. There's hope. That's why we have Buwan ng mga Akdang Pinoy, a celebration to bring the spotlight back to our talented, hard working artists. And I'll begin it with this...

I have been following Manix Abrera's comics in the early 2000's through the pages of Philippine Daily Inquirer. So imagine the joy I had when finally, in college, I got his very first compilation titled Mga Tagpong Mukhang Ewan At Kung Anu-ano Pang Kababalaghan. Abrera's humor is not for the faint of heart. It is direct, unapologetic, and although it sometimes border on the metaphysical, it remains sharp that it slices through you, making you ask yourself instead if it is indeed funny or painful because it hits you right on the spot. I've once worked for the student publication for three years back in college, and we juggled our tasks like mad to meet the required weekly (yes, weekly) output, so this particular edition, Hukbong Sandatahan ng Kahagardan!, is a gem because it accurately details the comedy and pains of working as a journalist. It is dark at times, yes, it is brimming with piping hot sarcasm, but it is signature Abrera to put you off for a moment but bring you back in to its uncomfortable embrace. There's a lot more to say about Manix Abrera and his works, but I suggest you guys go see them for yourselves. You'll get a good laugh. That's what we need these days, right?


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

buwan ng mga akdang pinoy

Yesterday I received a little surprise from the mail man. I got this book. And published in this book is my short fiction piece “The Forgiving.” I have genuinely forgotten I have written this piece. How timely it is to receive this on August, which is considered to be our country’s Buwan ng mga Akdang Pinoy. Ubod, which literally means “bamboo shoots,” is a product of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ (NCCA) goal to showcase emerging voices in Philippine literature from across the archipelago. I am surprised and humbled to be part of this collection, to be one of the few featured writers from Central Visayas, considering what I have contributed to this anthology is a product of a genre writing challenge sometime in 2011 to 2012, during the productive years of LitCritters Dumaguete. I have not written much like in those days, especially fiction, with my routines and habits these days almost bursting to the seams already. But I guess this is a sign to get back into it. I am still mastering this craft, and I hope I can contribute more and better works through the years, to do my part as a practicing writer.

With that in mind, I am thankful for the writers Shane Carreon for giving me the heads up just a few days ago that I am actually published in this book, Haidee Palapar for calling my attention about the deadline for submissions almost four years ago, Hope Sabanpan-Yu and Lolita Go for relaying me to the editor on how to get my complimentary copy, and ultimately, NCCA, Juliet Mallari, Alex Dacanay, and Victor Sugbo for including me in this anthology. And also, Edgar Samar for pushing the celebration Buwan ng mga Akdang Pinoy forward into national discourse. We need more of this.