June 30, 2006

We attended a lecture-forum on Historical/Cultural Heritage Preservation at the Holy Rosary Minor Seminary in Naga City. Lecturers were Aprill Tijam and Architect Michael Manalo. The event was well-attended by seminarians, rectors, academicians, architecture students, writers and historians.

Ms. Tijam of Ayala Museum talked about the role of museums in cultural and historical reclamation. We would learn that Ayala Museum, for one, borrows materials of Philippine origin from other countries in order to showcase them once again for the Filipino people.

Architect Manalo expounded on heritage architecture, looking at the semantic value of historical structures. For him these buildings articulate not only political but aesthetic history. He traces architectural designs as products of religion and culture. However, inter-cultural contact, even in the form of wars, would create a ‘mudejar’ or hybrid.

Recently there had been conflicts between heritage preservation activists and the ecclesiastical-secular power bloc as some parish priests and local officials are wont on defacing historical structures.

As our reaction, we saw the process of ‘mudejar’ as a continuing phenomenon. The determining aspects of hybridity being politics, commercialization and natural forces. We mused that among the three, natural forces seem to be the easiest to contend with than careless and whimsical members of the bureaucracy, whether ecclesiastical or secular. This time hybridity is not between two architectural styles, but between a finished work of art and an ignoramus. Needless to say, the results could be catastrophic.

As query, we asked Ms. Tijam to elucidate on some ‘ethical standards’, if there’s any, set by museums in acquiring artifacts and works of art coming from another culture. We noticed that some Bikol artifacts continue to be carted out of the region going to other museums.

She responded that there are standards and there are various factors as to why these artefacts leave Bicol. It could be that they are objects of theft or of merchandise.

For his part, Mr. Manalo explained that the so-called ‘ethical standard’ could be relative. It’s now between the ethical standard of the owner of the artifact and the buyer. He says that it would be better to have these artifacts kept in better equipped foreign museums.

And so it is an adoption case. The mother cannot take care of the child and so the state facilitates an adoption. Now this, I think, is only a temporary solution. It is even good to have them abroad for proper exposure. However, it is still best to have these artifacts back in our shores. The ultimate solution is to have a government and citizenry enlightened enough to care about Philippine history and cultures.   



June 29, 2006

And so it is final. We got another letter containing the logistics of “Express Yourself Reloaded”, a blogging and podcasting workshop sponsored by the Freidrich Naumann Foundation. We learned that out of the fifteen participants, six will be coming from the provinces including Bicol, Antique and Vigan.  

We will be billeted at Asian Institute of Management Conference Center until July 6. Workshop proper will be held at FNF in their office at 76 Amorsolo St., San Lorenzo Village, Makati City.

My plane ticket for Manila is now ready. We have not availed a plane ticket for Naga just yet because we will still be looking for a place to stay come Thursday night. Flight schedule for Naga is 7:15 AM, Friday. If ever, I will just take a Philtranco bus heading for Bicol right after the workshop and have my expenses reimbursed later.

Meanwhile, one of our Bikol-Naga poems appears in the June 25-July 2 issue of the Bikol Reporter. By the way, congratulations to all of the Catholic Mass Media Awardees particularly Mr. Francisco Peñones of Bikol Reporter for being given the distinction as Outstanding Columnist in the Bikol language. Likewise, kudos to the staff of Ateneo de Naga University’s The Pillars for winning both Outstanding Campus Paper and Outstanding Campus Editorial. We noticed that the CMMA does not have categories for Bicol-based Web sites and I think, this is something they should look into.

Here’s my poem:

Tinigsik ko si Palito
Kun minalatik trangkilo
Kun siya man baluson mo
An payo minakalayo!

Tinigsik ko, mga misis
Kadto materiales fuertes
Ngonyan garo na bariles
An kamot pa parong bitis!

Tinigsik ko si Kulani
Minapula, minaputi
An dila n’ya garo pisi
An tinaram, pigbabawi!

Tinigsik ko si G.I. Joe
Nag-agom sa Olongapo
Nin Pinay na garo loro
Mayong aram kundi: “Yes, yo!”

Mr. Goodnews has something for us today. This blogger was given one of the fifteen slots to the Friedrich Naumann Foundation’s ‘Express Yourself’ Blogging and Podcasting Seminar-Workshop. Now we would like first to thank the Guniguni: The Absent Muse member who posted the PR about the workshop in the e-group. Applicants were asked to provide an essay on why they want to join, plus bio-data and sample of works. Deadline was June 22 and the result came out in the 27th. We got a phone call from Anne Elicaño, coordinator for the workshop. More information will be sent via e-mail.

The focus of the seminar-workshop will be on the importance of blogging and podcasting as uncensored political tools. A panel of experts will facilitate the activities. As accepted applicants, we will be provided travel (flight) allowance and accommodation. This will surely be an enriching experience for eveybody.

We sent the essay ‘Blogging and Freedom’ as part of our entry. Our concerns and reasons for joining are articulated there. Needless to say, this fellowship will open doors for Hagbayon as a Bicol-based literary blog.

Now a research on prehispanic Philippine dramatic traditions revealed that ‘Dung-aw’ is a kind of a poetic ritual for the dead. We will delve further on other forms of theatric practice next time.

We have been reading an article Moral Philosophy in relation with Moral Relativism. We know that we have technical, societal, aesthetics, religious and ethical norms ang grounds for morality. Moral relativism, basically, is easy to debunk simply because one group may just be confusing the various norms. For example, religious and soceital norms maybe at play among cannibalistic tribes when it’s just wrong to eat humans, dead or alive. 

The main point is that there are universal ethical modes of correctness irregardless of culture. And in the context of postcoloniality these modes must apply even in the political reality of neocolonizer and colonies. Ethics is not a master narrative set up by the current thesis or neo-imperialistic power. Ethics is human not European or American.

Since this blogger is into literary arts our main concern here is aethetics. We know that it is predetermined by technical, societal and spiritual norms. Linguistic art is defined by geography, climate, theology and ideology. And in the Bikol context, we use a certain rhyme scheme validated by our linguistic properties that in turn borrow sounds from our surroundings. We perform poetry for its pragmatic value.

Now if our culture allows us to kill people so that we can write poetry on their skin using sharp objects, that’s something else.

Now is there a universal idea of what is beautiful? Well there’s the concept of symmetry. Rhyme and meter can be found in various poetic cultures. Aesthetics has to have function and historicity. There is always the fallacy of accident and in comparative literature, one must not be ethnocentric, arrogant and condescending. That solves it for now.

OragonRepublic is doing a repeat of the Writer’s Night held last December 2005. But this time, we are going to have it at Lolo’s Bar in Naga City. Shiela Basbas already talked with the management and we have finalized the schedule. It will be on July 19, 7pm onwards. Now that’s a Wednesday, so it’s going to be a midweek event.

But mind you, it’s still a ‘KKB’ thing. We are lucky to have a venue and for now we should be content with that. We will be inviting poets, musicians, dancers and theater groups along with people from the academe and the media. And yes, you are invited too for the open mic.

Yesterday we were with Fer, Shiela and Ringer of OragonRepublic. We dined at New China, the haven of nostalgic Nagueños, plaza Rizal debaters and beer drinkers. Later they had to close and so we transferred to Naga Green Resto for some coffee. We discussed some issues and yes, we are looking for sponsors for our second Bikol literary folio. Kindred spirits should just write this blogger or contact Shiela Basbas.

Now Ringer and I proceeded to a bar in Barlin St. for more beer. We noticed the increasing number of motorcycles and related accidents. We know that riding a bike is cool and soothing (both physically and psychologically) but LGU’s should make ordinances (helmet use, speed limits, restricted areas) in order to minimize these accidents. Sale and issuance of license should also be regulated by the LTO.

Personally, this blogger dislikes hyper-tripping bikers. They are a nuisance to the disciplined motorist and pedestrian. We have lots of these bikers along Ateneo avenue here in Naga City. Now I just miss that guy in P. Santos who used to kick riders passing infront of his house. And how happy I am whenever I see them meet minor accidents. Just last night, we saw how three drunk men went down twice with their bike when they have not even reached the main thoroughfare yet. I wonder if they got home in one piece.


June 24, 2006

Technology had been a puzzle for us lately. Our PC sort of stopped working all of a sudden, disturbing our daily routine and lifestyle. But now it's fixed, thanks to warranty deals and a little cash. Soon this PC's memory will be upgraded when the replacement arrives from Manila. It helps to have two 128MB memories working. And it would be best to have two hard disks. And no, we are not planning to save all of the Pinay Sex Scandals around.

It's sad that these 'scandals' are proliferating like a worm virus. It seems that sexual prerogative is tastier with geography in mind. It's like flavor of the month, or flavor of the place. As if the guys and gals from this school or this place work it better than the others. Or perhaps it's a deconstructionist scheme, reducing big names of schools, places and even love motels (hehe) into sex dens. Like a friend of mine in UP once said, 'The world revolves around sex.'

Now we got mail from Ian Casocot of Dumaguete. They need teachers there, here's the message:

for individuals to fill up full-time or permanent teaching posts
beginning with school-year 2006-2007:


* Male or female, with a Ph.D. in Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, or
English (Language Studies)

* Communicates proficiently both orally and in writing

Please send resume to:

Prof. Andrea Gomez Soluta
Department of English and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences
1/F Katipunan Hall
Silliman University
6200 Dumaguete City

Or you can send the resume in MS Word or PDF format to the following
e-mail address:

For further inquiries, please call (035) 422-6002 local 350, and look
for either Mr. Michael Patron or Prof. Andrea Soluta.


June 20, 2006

We got mail today from poet and UMPIL Chairman ROBERTO T. AÑONUEVO regarding a lecture/forum called 'Nationalism and Literature'. Here's the letter:

20 June 2006

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) and the University of Santo Tomas Center for Creative Writing and Studies (UST-CCWS) would like to invite you in a forum entitled, “Nationalism and Literature,” which will be held on 4 July 2006, from 3 to 6 pm, at the ground floor of St. Raymund’s Building, UST-CCWS Conference Room.

Three prominent literary critics, namely, National Artist for Literature Dr. Bienvenido L. Lumbera, Dr. Soledad S. Reyes of Ateneo de Manila  University, and Dr. Ramón G. Guillermo of University of the Philippines will each deliver a paper addressing various concerns and controversies surrounding writers as well as artists in the Philippines ranging from popular literature to nationalist ideology to Filipino esthetics.

The forum is the first of a series of collaborative efforts between UMPIL and UST-CCWS, and is made possible through the assistance of College of Arts and Letters Dean Dr. Ophelia Alcantara Dimalanta, an eminent poet and critic herself.

Very truly yours,




June 19, 2006

Our article on the 3rd Juliana Arejola-Fajardo Workshop for Bikol Writing appears in Dalityapi.Com and Panitikan.Com.Ph.

And here’s some news:

Call for Papers for Sawikaan 2006: National Conference
on Word of the Year in August

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts
(NCCA) and Filipinas Institute of Translation (FIT)
sponsor Sawikaan 2006: Pambansang Kumperensiya sa
Salita ng Taon that looks at the development of
Filipino as a national language and focuses on new
words or phrases that were popular in the local
socio-cultural scene in the preceding year. Sawikaan
will be held on August 3-4 �vThurs & Frid�w at the
College of Arts and Letters, University of the
Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.

The conference, with this year��s theme ��The
Filipino National Language and Philippine Education,��
has two parts. The first one is a discussion on the
development of Filipino language in contemporary
Philippine education with invited resource speakers
from the government and private sectors. Also, there
will be lectures on the development of national
languages in other countries with guest scholars from
Spain and Indonesia talking on language policies and
engineering in their respective countries. Filipino
language planners and users are expected to learn much
from the discussions.

The second part of Sawikaan is the search for the
��Salita ng Taon.�� Scholars, linguists, students,
teachers, and language enthusiasts are encouraged to
submit 2-5 paged papers that argue why particular
words/phrases deserve to be called as ��Salita ng
Taon.�� Finalist entries will be presented in the
conference. Entries must be new words, i.e. not found
in the dictionary. Or if already a dictionary entry,
it must have acquired a new meaning. Words contained
in phrases can also be considered as entries.
Participants and a panel of judges will choose the
word most deserving of the title.

By analyzing words or phrases that influenced the
lives of Filipinos in the past year, we gain a deeper
understanding of the national language. This can be an
indicator of how far have we gone in making it a truly
��national�� tool.

Deadline of submission of entries will be on July 15,
2006. For details, please contact Ms. Eilene Narvaez
at 09209144723 or Mr. Romulo P. Baquiran, Jr. at
9244899. Or visit the website or
email to

Alice Cozzi Heritage Language Foundation Grants

The Alice Cozzi Heritage Language Foundation announces its third grants competition: Individuals and groups working to revitalize and maintain endangered heritage languages are invited to apply for small grants (up to 500 USD*). Past awards have been made for the publication and distribution of dictionaries, lesson books, reference books and literary works as well as for teacher stipends and recording supplies, among other projects.

Applicants must answer the following questions in detail:

Describe the community the project serves. Where is the language spoken and how many people speak it? What materials are available in the language?
Describe your involvement in the language community.
Describe the project, including the objectives, timeline and other funding received and/or applied for.
Describe how the small grant would be used and how much you are requesting.
Applicants must also include the following information:

Mailing address
E-mail address
Phone number
Project location, address and phone (if different)
Applications which do not include the requested information will not be considered.

Recipients agree to submit a copy of the funded work.

The deadline for receipt of applications is September 30, 2006; decisions wil be announced at the end of October.

Applications should be made in or attached to an e-mail to Confirmation of receipt of application will be e-mailed within 30 days. If you are unable to apply by e-mail, send 6 hard copies to the Alice Cozzi Heritage Language Foundation, 96 Bard Lane, Ventura, CA 93001 USA.

In awarding grants, preference will be given to those projects which most directly serve economically and educationally disadvantaged communities and whose plans, objectives and budgets are best met by this small award.

Past applicants are welcome to apply for the 2006 awards for a revised project. Descriptions of past awards should be available in August at

* Awardees who are unable to receive the funds in a check from a US bank drawn on US dollars may apply for up to 450 USD only.

Rene O. Villanueva Children’s Reader is off the press

Children’s story writer Rene O. Villanueva has a new book that reintroduces his works for young readers to parents, teachers, and children, The Rene O. Villanueva Children’s Reader.

Published by Cacho Publishing Inc., with an introduction by renowned poet and children’s story writer Ramon Sunico, The Rene O. Villanueva Children’s Reader puts together 22 of Villlanueva’s popular previously published stories, as well as lyrics of children’s songs and children’s drama.

The Reader also includes 19 unpublished stories, three plays for the classroom, and ten songs from the pioneering educational TV program, “Batibot,” where he served as head writer for more than ten years. The book is illustrated by Elbert Or; the book cover features a painting by Robert Corbin showing the prolific storywriter surrounded by his storybook characters.

Villanueva, considered among the pioneers of modern children’s literature in the Philippines, started writing for children in 1978 as author of the first two Aklat Adarna prototypes. When he won the Gawad CCP para sa Sining in 2004, he was cited for writing children’s stories that “influenced the worldview formation of a generation of young Filipinos.”

The author is currently teaching as Associate Professor at the Department of Filipino, College of Arts and Letters, University of the Philippines in Diliman. He also serves as an associate of U.P. Institute of Creative Writing.

Villanueva has published more than 60 storybooks for children and has worked with numerous publishers for children’s books, including Aklat Adarna, Lampara, Tahanan, Anvil Juvenile, and Manila-Unicef.

He is an honorary member of Kuting and Philippine Board on Books for Young People. He was elevated to the Carlos Palanca Hall of Fame in 1993, having won the country’s most prestigious literary award 29 times.

Rene O. Villanueva Children’s Reader is available at the children’s section of all branches of National Bookstore and other leading book stores.


The Knowing Is in the Writing: Notes on the Practice of Fiction by Jose Y. Dalisay Jr.

Part manual, part testament, part autobiography, The Knowing Is in the Writing : Notes on the Practice of Fiction was written by the author to engage new and young writers of fiction not only in matters of craft but also of life and livelihood. Beginning with an overview of the nature and elements of fiction, the book then deals with specific issues in the writing of fiction, from plotting and characterization to the workshop experience and publishing one’s first book. “Through fiction,” Dalisay says, “we best make sense of our lives by stepping away from them—by momentarily becoming strangers unto ourselves, by exploring more interesting alternatives to what we already know or most likely would do, and, ultimately, by giving ourselves a new reason to hope and believe that life indeed follows a plot we can direct—if we only knew what it was.”

Jose Y. Dalisay Jr., PhD, has published fifteen books of fiction and non-fiction, with five of those winning the National Book Award from the Manila Critics Circle. A Palanca Hall of Fame and TOYM awardee for creative writing, he teaches English at the University of the Philippines. As Butch Dalisay, he writes a weekly column, “Penman,” for the Philippine Star.

The Knowing Is in the Writing: Notes on the Practice of Fiction is part of the University of the Philippines Press’s Ikalawang Yugto for 2006. It will be launched along with 11 other new titles on June 30, 2006 at 6:00 p.m. at Balay Kalinaw in UP Diliman.

For more details, please contact the University of the Philippines Press Marketing Office at (02) 9266642 and (02) 928-2558 locals 111 and 112.


June 17, 2006

An accident (or was it an incident?) occurred to me while walking along Sta Cruz Puro here in Naga City. A shirtless, semi-kalbo fellow called my attention and accused me of bumping his small child. I was totally surprised by this because I could neither remember nor feel hitting a foreign object. The man, small boy in tow, came near me and called me names. He was furious and seemed ready to hit me. And so I did not move, appeared calm and looked for his vital points (so I could settle the matter with one blow). He was thinner and smaller than me, but he was really loud.  

And so I apologized repeatedly, putting my left hand forward as measure (so that I would be able to see where he would strike). I was also thinking of the small boy. He was not even crying but he might just get hurt if his father becomes over-zealous. I would not want that to happen.

I did my best to show him that I was sorry. And of course, this inspired him to call me more names. An old man, seated in a pedicab near us blurted something. I did not catch it but it was addressed to the furious man. It must have meant something to him for he left immediately. Then the old man told me, 'Sige na.'

But I really could not remember bumping anybody. Even then, I gave the man the benefit of the doubt (though he looked very much like a trouble maker) and thought he was just doing what a good father would do for his son. Besides he looked like a tambay, perhaps he was jobless and could not take more. 'Noli me tangere', he must have thought.

However, as a young writer with some vision for the future, I also saw the need to defend my body lest I get killed for some petty reason. And according to the Art of War, avoid direct battle. Use diplomacy. It's easy really, just don't be a hothead. However, according to the PC Games Red Alert II and Yuri's Revenge, diplomacy is but a means to delay the enemy's attack so that you can prepare to put him out. Something to think about when we hear 'peace talks'. 

Sharing the incident with some friends, some Ateneo guards, they opined that he must have been making it up and only wanted to ask for danyos. Maybe, but then, maybe not. And so I asked them to look after me for I would still need to use the same route. I told them that my small bag has a rock inside it–so I could crush his skull with it. Because if he were to attack me now, that's another thing.


June 15, 2006

Camilo Villanueva of CCP Literature Division's Ani 32 communicated to us in order to ask for an updated short-bio and an image/electronic graphic, that to us, best depicts the embodiment of the Global Pinoy. We did comply with the said request and sent two images, the 'Hagbayon the Boatman' which is mine, and a brain drain digital picture that I took from a Japanese IT site (I did credit the source).

This led us to realize that we have various versions of the Global Pinoy: The OFWs, Diplomats, Multinationals, scholars and academicians, politicians, and of course, the bloggers.

As writers and cultural workers, bloggers conscious or not, expose Philippine postcoloniality. Blogs are in a way 'locations of cultures' and support regional literature. They must be utilized, therefore, by any self-respecting literary artist.

Classes have started and we think of how the academe can help the nation attain and mantain intellectual, industrial and cultural progress. It should not serve as political tool or business franchise doomed under the meshwork of beureaucracy. It must fuel academic freedom and not suppress it. It must not strive to turn its Filipino students into second-class Americans with Western intellectual and cultural predisposition.

Now we have so many nursing schools because the current trend favors it.
When will we prioritize courses that are needed not by foreign countries but by us?


Got a copy from the mail of the 12th Iligan National Writers Workshop where I was the lone fellow for Filipino poetry. We have been reading it and were surprised that we were actually participative during the sessions. Needless to say, we all learned and matured a bit, writing fellows and panelists alike, because of the experience.

We did write an article about it in my Dalityapi Unpoemed column Vers Libre.