March 8, 2014
The Raul Roco Library will host a monthly poetry event dubbed as Naga City Library Public Poetry Project (NCLPPP) which will feature lectures, poetry readings, performances and books, among others. Main organizers include Naga-based writer Jose Jason L. Chancoco, AdNU-POEM moderator Elsie Albis and City Librarian Riko Vinluan. The first installment, a lecture by Chancoco on Bikol poetics, was held on February 28, just in time for the closing of the National Arts Month.
Chancoco, a known organizer of literary events in the city, is the person behind the WG and VerSosimo. Said poetry projects were held monthly at the now defunct Wharf Galley Rock Café until it moved to Sosimo Bar. The Public Poetry Project will have almost the same format as the previous poetry gigs, featuring multimedia and performance poetry, but this time there is a lecture-workshop element.
For the month of March, the NCLPPP will be a Cirilo F. Bautista Tribute. Poems by the incoming National Artist for Literature will be read on March 14 at 4-6pm. An open-mic segment will also follow. Interested parties may contact the organizers at hagbayon(at)gmail(dot)com.
March 7, 2014
March 7, 2014
Mr. Good News came by last Wednesday. I got a slot as English poetry fellow for the Dumaguete National Writers Workshop this year! Earlier, I responded to their call for manuscripts which went this way:
Call for Manuscripts to the 53rd Silliman National Writers Workshop
The Silliman University National Writers Workshop is now accepting applications for the 53rd National Writers Workshop to be held 5—23 May 2014 at the Silliman University Rose Lamb Sobrepeña Writers Village.
This Writers Workshop is offering twelve fellowships to promising writers in the Philippines who want to have a chance to hone their craft and refine their style. Fellows will be provided housing, a modest stipend, and a subsidy to partially defray costs of their transportation.
To be considered, applicants should submit manuscripts in English on or before 15 January 2014. All manuscripts should comply with the instructions stated below. (Failure to do so will automatically eliminate their entries).
Applicants for Fiction and Creative Nonfiction fellowships should submit three to four (3-4) entries. Applicants for Poetry fellowships should submit a suite of seven to ten (7-10) poems. Applicants for Drama fellowships should submit at least one (1) One-Act Play.
Each fiction, creative nonfiction, or drama manuscript should not be more than 30 pages, double spaced. We encourage you to stay well below the 30 pages.
Manuscripts should be submitted in five (5) hard copies. They should be computerized in MS Word, double-spaced, on 8.5 x 11 inches bond paper, with approximately one-inch margin on all sides. The page number must be typed consecutively (e.g., 1 of 30, 2 of 30, and so on) at the center of the bottom margin of each page. The font should be Book Antiqua or Palatino, and the font size should be 13.
The applicant’s real name and address must appear only in the official application form and the certification of originality of works, and must not appear on the manuscripts.
Manuscripts should be accompanied by the official application form, a notarized certification of originality of works, and at least one letter of recommendation from a literature professor or an established writer. All requirements must be complete at the time of submission.
Send all applications or requests for information to Department of English and Literature, attention Prof. Ian Rosales Casocot, Workshop Coordinator, 1/F Katipunan Hall, Silliman University, 6200 Dumaguete City. For inquiries, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 035-422-6002 loc. 350.
There. It’s been years since I applied for a national workshop, the last being the Iligan National Writers Workshop in 2005. And so I gathered my material and ended up sending poems in English. Now the result:
53rd Silliman University National Writers Workshop Slated for May 5—23
The 53rd edition of the Silliman University National Writers Workshop is slated to start on 5 May 2014 at the Rose Lamb Sobrepeña Writers Village in Camp Look-out, Valencia, Negros Oriental.
Twelve writers from all over the Philippines have been accepted as workshop fellows. They are Jose Jason Chancoco (Ateneo de Naga), Daniel Hao Chua Olivan Jr. (Ateneo de Manila), Maria Camille Rivera (UP Diliman), and Roberto Klemente Timonera (Silliman University) for poetry; Jovy Almero (UP Diliman), Prescilla Dorado (UP Mindanao), Jose Renato Evangelista (DLSU Manila), Rolly Jude Ortega (Silliman University), and Erlinda Mae Young (UP Diliman) for fiction; and Johanna Michelle Barot Lim (University of San Carlos), Jan Kevin Rivera (UP Diliman), and Gracielle Deanne Tubera (Ateneo de Davao) for creative nonfiction.
The panel of writers/critics for this year includes Director-in-Residence Susan S. Lara; Dumaguete-based writer César Ruìz Aquino; and guest panelists Gémino H. Abad, Dean Francis Alfar, Merlie Alunan, Ricardo de Ungria, Marjorie Evasco, Grace Monte de Ramos, Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, DM Reyes, John Jack Wigley, Alfred Yuson. They will be joined by two foreign panelists whose names will be announced later.
The workshop, which traditionally lasts for three weeks, is the oldest creative writing workshop of its kind in Asia. It was founded in 1962 by S.E.A. Write Awardee Edilberto K. Tiempo and National Artist Edith L. Tiempo, and was recently given the Tanging Parangal in the Gawad CCP Para sa Sining by the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
This year, the workshop is co-sponsored by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia.
For more information about forthcoming events during the workshop, please email Workshop Coordinator Ian Rosales Casocot at email@example.com or call the Department of English and Literature at (035) 422-6002 loc. 520. (Edilberto and Edith Tiempo Creative Writing Center)
There. I am excited to travel again and meet new people. Dumaguete, Hagbayon is on the way!
January 16, 2014
Carl Jung’s Theory on Collective Unconsciousness and formation of archetypes, ‘natural attitudes’ (in phenomenology) or in layman’s term, ‘notion’ of things concrete or abstract, living or non-living, presents itself as a ‘nativist’ theory. He says Collective Unconsciousness is a theoretical pool of memories or reservoir of experiences that we are born with as species but we are not directly conscious of it.
However, I think by mention of ‘experiences’ his theory then leans on its ‘cognitivist’ side. Because even if we are born with what I will call (in Chomsky’s mold) as AAD or ‘archetype acquisition device’ there is still a need for meaningful human experiences for one’s consciousness to flow into the sphere of Collective Unconsciousness.
Cross-cultural analysis of myths, epics and legends will reveal evidences of these archetypes. But I think the great Carl Jung should have read an unusual archetype in Oryol, a cunning and deceptive nymph from the Ibalong epic fragment. She knew how to project naïveté only to lure unsuspecting macho guys like Handyong. And the latter would end up in a compromise partnership with her in fighting unattractive and devilish monsters (and crocodiles) in Bicolandia.
It appears that these common notions articulate themselves not only in ancient oral traditions but also in other artistic pursuits and preoccupations. They are so much into our lives that they even influence our judgment and some of our decisions. However, I should say that Jung’s theory is also structuralist in orientation. It tends to linearize human notions oblivious of cultural boundaries. But this is not to say that his attempt is failing, but rather perhaps it needs some culturally determined extensions. For example in Bicol, we have the archetype and embodiment of machismo in the persona of Kulakog, a mythical creature with a huge penis. Archetypal formation then is really a culturally bounded phenomenon.
In the poem “Not My Best Side (Uccello: S. George and the Dragon, the National Gallery)” by English poetess U. A. Fanthorpe, we see the seeping in of three main archetypes; the Monster or Dragon, the Maiden and the Hero or the Knight, into an artistic pursuit other than literature, in this case, the visual arts. However the archetypal articulation by Italian painter Paolo Uccelo in his St. George and the Dragon is interrogated by Fanthorpe’s poetic discourse resulting to a deconstruction.
The poem is divided into three parts according to voice. The first part has the monster or the Dragon talking to the reader. The second part has the Maiden talking to the reader. And the last part has the hero or the Knight talking to the Dragon.
The approach of the poet is neither narration, imagism nor lyricism but rather expository, or in Filipino, ‘tulang patanghal’. In this case, the line-cascade and poetic utterance is pre-determined according to the persona and are conveniently subdivided into three parts. The main merits of the poem are in its consistency in voice, tone, language and form in effecting a deconstruction. Throughout the text the voice, tone and language of the poem will interrogate the archetypal articulation of the painting by being the poetic discourse themselves unaided by imagistic/metaphorical manipulations and acrobatics but supported by phenomenological methodology.
What if we remove all our ‘natural attitudes’ on archetypal figures and re-examine the roots of this notion in order to come back to the essence of things. After much introspection, how can we apply them to current human preoccupations?
As a product of the interrogative pattern of the poetic discourse we come to know a monster that has the attitude of an image model. It says: “The artist didn’t give me a chance to pose well properly.” It is also concerned, like a movie-star or politician, with bad publicity. It says: “But afterwards, I was sorry for the bad publicity.” It also comments and interrogates the human archetype of a prim and proper, well-groomed hero when it says: “Why, I said to myself, should my conqueror/ Be so ostentatiously beardless..?” It also reacts on the artist’s perspective: “Why should my victim be so/ Unattractive as to be inedible”. Here the monster ceases to be the manifestation of human primal fear, but the poet fills it up with very human actuations and impressions.
In the second part, we are confronted with a highly hormonal and calculating maiden concerned both with pleasure and financial security. She is very much a delineation from our notion of a damsel in distress. She says of the Dragon: “He was/ So nicely physical, with his claws/ And lovely green skin, and that sexy tail, / And the way he looked at me, / He made me feel he was all ready to/ Eat me.”
In deconstruction, previously established definitions take on a different meaning, and ‘To eat me’ has come to articulate female prerogative. It also humanizes the maiden, expressing her repressed preferences (personal unconsciousness): form follows function, effect and performance is superior to propriety. And of course the future has to be secured first and indulgence in provisional pleasure should be momentary: “what could I do? / The dragon got himself beaten by the boy, / And a girl’s got to think of her future.” Yet she comments on the insecurity of those who live by the books, follow the rules and hide behind the armor of the system. She says of the Knight: “So when this boy turned up, wearing machinery, / On a really dangerous horse, to be honest/ I didn’t much fancy him. I mean, / What was he like underneath the hardware? / He might have acne, blackheads or even/ Bad breath for all I could tell, but the dragon–/ Well, you could see all his equipment/ At a
In the third part, we hear the Knight (St. George) and we gather some things about knighthood and the hero job: “I have diplomas in Dragon/ Management and Virgin Reclamation.” Being a knight was partly legalese and determined by familial and financial origins. It was part of the political system and therefore a machinery of political discourse or repressive state apparatus. And of course it was often used in warfare and political subjugation: “My spear is custom-built,/ And my prototype armour/ Still on the secret list. You can’t/ Do better than me at the moment. / I’m qualified and equipped to the/ Eyebrow. So why be difficult?”
More importantly, it was also a trade: “Don’t you realize that, by being choosy, / You are endangering job prospects/ In the spear- and horse-building industries?” The Knight is the coercive structural force and the Dragon, the liberal rogue. The former is the brute and the latter, the lover. Together they form the thesis and anti-thesis, and in war there is no synthesis but profit.
(This article also appears at Global Press.Org)
January 2, 2014
I was going to prove that you need not got to Manila to get to Iligan City. And so there I was, almost a month after I received a call from Cherly Adlawan of MSU-IIT that I made it as fellow for the 12th Iligan National Writers Workshop, waiting for the only Cagayan de Oro bound bus in the Naga City Central Terminal. It was ten in the evening of April 27 and I was not going to get a ride until four the next morning. Call it the preliminary rites to the bloodletting that was to happen in the writers’ workshop.
Why take a bus from Southern Luzon to Northern Mindanao? Of course aside from my mild regionalist sentiments, I wanted to see the countryside. I don’t get to travel this far, so why spoil it with a plane ride? Anyway our bus will be on board a barge twice, from Matnog, Sorsogon to Samar, and from Liluan, Leyte to Surigao del Norte. So it’s pretty much the same as taking a bus to Manila, a ferry to Cagayan de Oro and another bus to Iligan. Besides, this route is cheaper and faster.
I brought with me a map and everytime I would spread it out to pinpoint our location, my fellow passengers would peer. We would be traveling for a day and a half so why not try to win some friends along the way? They could also be useful in giving more specific directions when I get to CDO.
One thing you will notice (if by chance you are an alien) with Filipinos is that they are still much rooted to their regional past. During the trip, it was easy for the Mindanaoans to gel. Of course we began to smell the same due to the long trip, but their having their own language lost the need for cultural translations. And so they felt comfortable with each other, up to the point of even sharing their life stories. They also were partners in crime, abolishing the ‘single file’ rule whenever it was time to get our ferry tickets from those poorly manned Ro-Ro terminals. And we were quite happy about it too, with the chaotic queue, smell and all.
It was during the trip when somebody with the typical Maranao goatee told me to take caution when I get to Iligan. “They kidnap people there,” he says. And with my semi-samurai and (they say) Carlo of ‘Lovers in Paris’ look, I had enough reason to worry. But as they say, you never really know until you get there. A semester of Philosophy of Man and phenomenology of this and that turned me into a recycle bin of ‘natural attitudes’.
CDO Soiree with Michael Coroza’s Doppelganger
A cousin of mine works for the Philtranco and he said Naga-CDO trips usually take two days. I was expecting to arrive Saturday, but it was Friday morning when I got to the “City of Golden Friendships.”
“Yes, Cagayan de Oro is a big city!” says Raul Moldez in an SMS. I was asking him to pick me up at the terminal, and to be sure that he would be around when I get there, I announced my arrival as soon as I saw the ‘Welcome to CDO’ sign. He then told me to text him when I get to the terminal.
I had not really met the poet Raul Moldez before. But perhaps being like-minded writers, our paths crossed inside the cyberspace. The internet has caused quite a stir in the literary world that more and more writers are into it.
A man who looked very much like Michael Coroza approached me. Then I knew it was Raul Moldez, unaware of his striking resemblance to the poet from Taguig who writes in Filipino. He smiled, only to confirm the resemblance.
Cagayan de Oro is rich with factories. I learned that electricity there costs pretty much the same as it is in Bicol (where we have an abundant source of energy in Tiwi), but perhaps due to its distance from the center, which is Manila, it encouraged industry and self-sustenance. No wonder Raul refers to the country’s capital as ‘imperial Manila’, a place he says he has never been to and has no plans of visiting for he has no affection for it.
Bit I had the urge to tell or perhaps remind my friend that his city is beginning to look like Manila, and therefore, apparently has not escaped its ‘imperial claws’. With all the malls, taxicabs and the traffic, there is no mistaking it for Nick Joaquin’s city of affections.
That is why Raul says; the city government is trying to restore the glory of the city park right in the middle of Tirso Neri St. and R.N. Abejuela St., West-bound Hotel Ramon and East-bound Xavier University. There is the so-called Nite Café every Friday and Saturday and also a night market. Before the malls came, the people of CDO were park goers, using the place as a cultural melting pot, and even as venue for family outings and picnics.
It was there in the Nite Café where I met Mario Batausa. I was to partake with the genesis of a CDO-based writers group. Raul, editor of Verses, cannot help but feel like a voice in the wilderness in the city of his affections. Thus the need to form a network of writers in the community. I suggested that they meet regularly and do informal creative writing workshops. I also do the same with the help of some young poets in Bicol. But my network is quite large, and there is a need to always classify them as to language and geography. And that network is about to be widened even more with the 12th INWW.
To the Muslim Country
Just like the others, I almost got lost. The bus was supposed to pass by MSU-IIT but when I got to Iligan, I was told to go catch a jeepney. It was a good thing that a woman helped me around for it was a common observation among us that some Iligan folks are not your usual tour guide type.
And so for some nebulous turn of events my Luzon to Mindanao inter-island adventure came to an end with a simple “Hi Jason!” from co-fellow Jennibeth Loro who arrived in Elena Tower Inn a few minutes ahead of me. I was still in Iriga City when I looked up various eating-places and so I was looking forward for a taste of Sun Burst Chicken. So there I was, together with Jenni and Ma’am Merlie Alunan, enjoying lunch while discussing something heavy, like the politics of language or culture. I stressed that it is important for young writers to create with respect to their regional roots. Ma’am Merlie could only muse that things are hard in Tacloban, and she says it is perhaps because she scares young writers away, being one of the grand dames of Philippine literature.
LuzViMinda Well Represented
I was the only fellow for poetry in Filipino. With this, you can deduce two things: 1.) Congrats, you topped the poetry in Filipino division. 2.) They are not into it anyway, I mean, theirs is a Cebuano country right?
One glance at the folio confirmed everything else: it was a workshop heavy with regional literature. And being a Bikol writer myself, I found the situation very healthy. Philippine literature is more importantly the ones written in various other Philippine languages other than Tagalog/Filipino. So it follows that Philippine literature is not only Manila-literature. It is true that we miss a lot of things when we are in the Big City.
We can say that with all the national writers workshops, it is only in the INWW where Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao writers are well represented. They get five fellows from each region, and the opening ceremonies would remind you of a national beauty contest where the emcee would say: “And now, from Mindanao…!” And you stand in the middle of the stage pretending to look writerly—but oftentimes some of your co-fellows would really take the chance to look more like, of course, beauty queens.
Held on May 2-5, the workshop fellows for Luzon are Rosandrei M. Ladignon of Cubao, Quezon City (UP-Manila), Maria Abigael M. Malonzo of San Fernando, Pampanga (UP-Diliman), Jose Jason L. Chancoco of San Francisco, Iriga City (Ateneo de Naga University), Vladimeir B. Gonzales of Novaliches, Quezon City (UP-Diliman), and Virgilio A. Rivas of Brgy. Holy Spirit, Quezon City (Polytechnic University of the Philippines). Fellows for the Visayas are Roger B. Rueda of West Visayas State University, Bryan Mari Argos of Roxas City, Capiz (St. Anthony College of Roxas City), Marcel L. Milliam of Roxas city, Capiz, Jennibeth R. Loro of Green Heights, Merida, Leyte (UP-Visayas Tacloban College), Dennis M. Ravas of Tacloban City (Pontifical University of the Holy Cross). Fellows for Mindanao are Jamila Ruth A. Hojas of Suarez, Iligan City (Ateneo de Manila University), Charisse Mae T. Ampo of Tabon, Bislig City (UP-Mindanao), Jose Ma. Y. Tomacruz of Davao City (Ateneo de Davao), Telesforo Sungkit, Jr. of Sumilao, Bukidnon (UP-Los Baños) and Grace S. Uddin of Tagum City (UP-Mindanao).
Panelists this year are Rosario Cruz Lucero, Erlinda Kintanar Alburo, Jaime An Lim, Leoncio P. Deriada, Merlie M. Alunan, German V. Gervacio, Tim R. Montes, Steven Patrick Fernandez and this year’s keynote speaker, the fictionist and Director of the Bienvenido N. Santos Creative Writing Center, Vicente G. Groyon. The workshop is sponsored by The Mindanao Creative Writers Group, Iligan Institute of Technology and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and is under the directorship of the venerable Christine Godinez-Ortega.
Much as I went slow in critiquing works in Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Waray, for we were dealing with translations; I also had to take the pains of being asked to explain my works right after critiquing. We can say that there was a language barrier, more so, an aesthetic and cultural barrier. My being a writer in Bikol did not help either. I can no longer clearly assume that our nearness to the capital is to our advantage. Perhaps it simply made things a bit more interesting for us—with Bikol poetics more closely affected by the hybridization of Philippine culture. Shall we say that it is to the Cebuano writers’ advantage that they are far from the center? I should say so, for they can easily create their own center—as they are bent on doing.
12th INWW Literary Folio
Now we need only to wait for the publication of the batch literary folio due next year. The folio will include all of the comments form panelists and fellows alike on the manuscripts. This, aside from the fact that our video cam armed co-fellow, Vlad Gonzales ‘threatened’ to come up with his version of the ‘12th INWW: The Real Score’, with our talk shows and documentaries of poetic outbursts.
A Leoncio Deriada sponsored game also helped reveal the macho dancer instinct of the fellow with the “pinakamagandang itlog sa balat ng lupa.” This proves that there can be no legitimate writers workshop without nudity—as in the Silliman beach. The last time I heard of the fellow, he was still doing teacherly activities, checking papers and the like. Way to go.
Surely, a workshop cannot be legitimate without drinking sprees either. Alcohol enhanced conversations on the human genome, courtesy of this writer, did not at first sound like a topic that like-minded poets would indulge into, same with the medical and scientific truth on the aswang folklore, courtesy of Bryan and Marcel of Capiz. But believe me they were and it did not make me forget about my kris, the sword that I was supposed to buy in Iligan as souvenir. Next time around, I will get the longer one.
Might as well bring my katana too.
(I am posting this old article because soon it will be national writer’s workhop season in the Philippines. I wrote this in May 2005 after I attended the 12th Iligan National Writers Workshop)
January 1, 2014
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.
December 26, 2013
It’s December 26, and it’s time to make a year-ender blog entry.
I was out of touch most of the year. I was not so visible (at least physically) to a lot of my friends. You see, I had to finish something important, something that entailed a lot of expenses and time. Had to finish it once and for all so I could proceed to other things that I think are also important. I did not organize any poetry gig in Bicol. I also did not hold a mini- poetry critique session this year, although I am passionate about it and enjoy it so much. But yes, I still sent some of my works to various publications.
The country’s executive and legislative branch earned so much flak this year. I always supported P-Noy but he surely mismanaged the Yolanda crisis. Our congressmen and senators are also being seen as a gang of robbers courtesy of Napoles and company. The Philippines is a great country. It is gifted with natural resources and able man-power. What is wrong with us? I agree with Jaime Licauco when he said that we need a change of inner mind and a change of heart. And it is a collective change. I did buy at least five Licauco books in October, and I enjoyed reading all of them. But sometimes I wish that he could have employed better research procedure and evidence presentation.
This year, I am most happy to have finished my law course. I finally have a post-graduate degree. And under Commission of Higher Education Resolution 038 Series of 2001, the same is equivalent to a master’s degree. The reason for this is that for one to be able to enter law school, he must have first finished a baccalaureate degree. I also think that a law degree is much more difficult to handle than your usual master’s degree. First, it takes at least four years to finish law school. Second, the subjects are definitely more demanding! (But it has been found out that an LLB degree is only equivalent to MA when it has corresponding Bar eligibility)
Again, I observed that the Philippines sometimes cannot give jobs that are commensurate to the skills and academic background of its people. No wonder everybody aims for a job placement abroad. We cannot blame them. As Manoy Gode Calleja once said, the people have immediate needs. Patriotism is great but people get hungry. But still, I say that we all must work to enrich our locality. We must first contribute to local progress no matter how difficult and sacrificial it is. After-all, chances are, after everything has been said and done, we will eventually go back to our roots when our time has come.
During my law school years, I wrote and wrote in English. I came back to my poetry in English. You see, back in the year 1999, when I was in my teens, I started writing in English, particularly English poetry. This year, I still sent some of them to publications for posterity and immortality. I even printed Tagalog poems in the Sunday Times Magazine, a primarily English publication. Now Let me see. Here are my published poems this year:
- Astral Travel (Poetry, The Sunday Times Magazine–July 21, 2013)
- Cram Session (Poetry, The Sunday Times Magazine–July 28, 2013)
- I Love You But We Have No Divorce Law Here (Poetry, The IYAS Anthology 2001-2010, April 26, 2013)
- It’s a Dangerous Thing (Poetry, The Sunday Times Magazine, July 21, 2013)
- Oct. 29-Nov. 4: Sanlinggong Facebook S(tanaga)tus (Tula, The Sunday Times Magazine, August 18, 2013)
- Sa Naninibago (Tula, The Sunday Times Magazine, September 15, 2013)
- Tatsian (Osipon, Hagong: Mga Osipon [AdNU Press], February 13, 2013)
As I said, I was not so visible this year. And I really did not get paid for these poems. But I was paid print copies. I’s actually okay, for even in the ‘States some publications would just pay in copies. It’s part of usage of trade. I have no problem with it so long as the publications would at least treat the writers right. Now, let me share my heartache with Manila Bulletin (Philippine Panorama):
You know that I am a Panorama boy, courtesy of Doc Bau (Cirilo Bautista). The said magazine is one of my literary outlets. I grew up in said publication. Even after Doc Bau ceased to be one of its columnists and poetry editor, I would still send my poems there. In 2011-12, three of my poems got printed in Panorama and Liwayway (MB sister publications) namely: And Home is Not What I find Each Christmas (Philippine Panorama, December 25, 2011, Sa Bookstore: Dasal ng Salesboy (Liwayway Magasin, May 30, 2011), The Price of (Dis)Trust (Philippine Panorama, March 25, 2012).
I only got the checks last November 2013. Reason: They only release checks during Tuesdays and Fridays. And since I am from Bicol, sometimes my schedule would not coincide with said release days.
Doing a follow-up of the checks would always be hellish. And they are consistent, since 2003. The phone operator would be inefficient, sending you to the wrong line. The Panorama staff would be so rude. Things like that.
I finally had a row with some Panorama staff when I got fed up. For my poem The Price of (Dis)Trust, they gave the credit to the wrong author. I notified them about it, but the answer was not satisfactory. They will “try” to correct the error daw. So I told them to please don’t just try, I told them to do it. If not, it would be a violation of my IP rights. Sila pa ang galit. But in fairness to them, they made a rerun and printed the poem again under my name.
So when the telephone operator mistakenly sent me to the wrong line, the Panorama line and not the accounting’s. The Panorama staff went on her way again upon knowing my name, saying: “Ah, Jason Chancoco, matagal-tagal ka na ring di nagko-contribute sa Panorama, so no-comment kami sa claim mo na yan na may check ka pang kukunin sa amin.” (Ah, Jason Chancoco, it has been a while since you contributed your works to us. So we cannot comment to your claim that we still owe you checks)
She was alluding to me the crime of estafa, in effect. She was telling me that I was misrepresenting myself, claiming for writer’s checks when in fact I don’t write for them anymore. So I asked: “Is this Accounting?”
She said, Panorama. I told her, I was not trying to contact the Panorama office but the Accounting office or wherever I can claim my checks because I have not claimed them yet. And I was talking about my old-old checks.
When I finally got to the MB office, I still had to wait because some big shot still had to sign it. I thought they already prepared it since they knew I was coming over, and from Bicol pa ko.
To my inadvertence, I did not notice that the check they issued was a crossed check, for a particular purpose only–in that case, it was a “pay to accounts name only check”. So from Intramuros, I went to UN Avenue area just to encash my check in the Philtrust main office. To my dismay, I learned that the same was a crossed check and it could not be encashed. It could only be deposited in my Philtrust account. AND I DON’T HAVE A PHILTRUST ACCOUNT! AND WHY WOULD I OPEN A THREE THOUSAND PESOS OR SO WORTH PHILTRUST ACCOUNT FOR A FIVE HUNDRED FORTY PESOS CHECK (FOR THREE POEMS)?
I think they should issue crossed checks or “pay to account’s name only” checks to their employees who have Philtrust accounts, and not to poetry contributors. You see, in effect, they are not really paying us. Remember that under the law, a check is not legal tender until encashed.
So there. I hope my litany did not spoil your New Year celebration.
But still, I am happy to have a copy of two Tagalog poems that got printed in Philippines Graphic in 2007. I did not know that they were published, not until early this year. So I requested for a copy from the editors. Thanks to Sir Joel Pablo Salud and Alma Anonas-Carpio for helping me out!
December 17, 2013
I noticed that Christmas is becoming less and less interesting. I sort of no longer look forward to it unlike when I was younger. Perhaps it is true that Christmas is only for children. I remember that when I was a kid, I would be very happy if I would get presents for Christmas. I did not care if the gifts were cheap, so long as I got them because it was Christmas.
My writer-friend Santiago Villafania said that there is such as thing as “December Mood.” It’s kinda ironic really. The feeling of emptiness and loneliness while everybody around seems to be happy or at least trying to be happy. Christmas songs being carried by the cold winds would instead chill the soul instead of thrill it. When I was in grade school, my classmate Estelito Abonalla told me about this Christmas phenomenon experienced by kids–waking up at dawn to the sound of Christmas song coming from a passing vehicle, say, a tricycle. I could relate because I experienced it too. My heart would leap in excitement for the coming new day. A day that would eventually lead to Christmas day.
Anyway, one memorable Christmas season for me was in the year 2000. I was then staying in Imus, Cavite and writing for The Daily Tribune. I was also trying to finish ROTC. I was “BS RO” so to speak. I would go to the Tribune office to get my money. They were so generous. I would even get my bonus! I was then reading “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Hemingway. The coldness of the war scenario in the novel would creep up on me. I was after-all just like the characters in the story. I was alone in that flat, and the place felt like a bunker.
Last night, I reread “Kirot ng Kataga,” a book of poems in Tagalog by Cirilo Bautista. You see, I bought the book in December 2000. It’s just a short book, more of a chapbook really. But man, it’s a classic! And the book calls to mind as I rewrite my poems in Tagalog. Let me post some excerpts here of my new poems. This one is from “City of Springs.”
Mga isda, ianod
n’yo ng huklubang ilog
ang huli kong pagdulog:
Ay! Aking sinusumpa,
kung lahat nang makata
ay bayad pag tumula—
Hindi s’ya matataga!
Hindi s’ya matataga!
I also wrote something about the death penalty. Of course, right now we have no capital punishment but just the same, I wrote about it. You see, it would really depend upon Congress if it would revive the same. The 1987 Constitution gives them such allowance. Here’s the last stanzas of “Bisperas (Awit ng Lalaki sa Bitayan)”:
Subalit ay sino itong paparating?
Huling pag-idlip ko ay gagambalain.
Nagmamadali pa’t nakabarong man din—
bagong abogadong sadyang matulungin!
Remedyo raw sana sa aking problema’y
automatic review ng Korte Suprema.
Ang aming kapatas na kasabwat pala,
lahat nang salarin ay kanyang kinanta.
Ang utak ng krimen ay ang aming meyor
na kulang ang pondo para sa eleks’yon.
Kunwari pa’y banal at suki sa Pasyon,
‘yun pala, tit’yempo saka mandarambong.
At dagling umalis itong si attorney.
Tatawagan n’ya raw pati Presidente.
Dapat daw ang husga ng aking ponente’y
swak sa absuwelto at hindi garote!
Ngayong hinahanda ng aking berdugo
ang kanyang ineks’yon at lasong likido.
Sa may isang sulok ay may telepono:
akala mo’y diyos na nakadek’watro.
I also worked on a poem about the poetic process itself. It even delves into the writer’s life and plight. Here’s the beginning stanzas of the poem “Pasada,” also included in my upcoming book:
Sinasabing kadalasan ay malalim na gabi
at ilang ang ruta ng makata.
Mga daliring tumitipa ay susi
sa makina ng makinilya at netbook
at makinaryang umaangil
ang daigdig sa loob ng bungo’t dibdib.
There you go folks. You can expect that I will labor some more for the next poems. I am actually working on a very long poem on my experience as an organizer of poetry gigs here in my locality. Things I do. I don’t expect to be rich by doing said things, but still, I do it. But does it mean that I will no longer do other things that could make me filthy rich? Legal and moral things? Nope. Not at all.
Until next time.
December 16, 2013
It’s kinda weird when people don’t know that a Bachelor of Laws degree is equivalent to a Master’s degree. You see, it is a post-graduate course. One can get to law school only after finishing a four-year baccalaureate course. And it takes at least four years to finish a law course. The subjects are also definitely more demanding!
It’s good that I came across CHED Resolution 038 Series of 2001. It places the issue to rest. We now consider an LLB to be also a Master’s degree holder.
I have been hooked to the classic TV series The Twilight Zone. Thanks to YouTube, I can now access even the earliest episodes during the 1960s. Rod Serling is just brilliant. It’s also great to know that he was a Literature major. The early episodes were just so great. They are truly classics!
December 3, 2013
I am happy to be revising my old Tagalog poems. It is like going back to my younger self. Since I have matured in more ways than one, I find them wanting of revision. My teacher Cirilo Bautista would say: “Make sure that they are the best you have written.”
He was talking about my next book, a collection of poems. I have to admit that this second title has long been delayed. Well, we cannot live as a dreamer all day. We have to make a living too. But while existing in the pragmatic plane, I struggled to still come up with poems and get them published. I even organized poetry gigs. I even won some poetry prizes. I cannot ask for more. Now let me post a picture of a Tagalog poem I published in Sunday Times Magazine. This one won in the Talaang Ginto 2012, a poetry contest sponsored by the Philippine government via its Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF).
But then my guitars. I just cannot live without them. And I am just so passionate about guitar picks. I love collecting guitar picks! I collect them like stamps. Here’s some addition to my pick arsenal.
There you go. Until next time my friends.