March 17, 2007

Early Saturday morning, I got an SMS from writer Rizaldy Manrique asking for my permission to use one of my poems in Iriganon. I slept early Friday night so I was up and ready to answer and allow him to use it. I think Rizaldy is now also the poetry editor of Bikol Reporter. He maintains a column in the same regional newspaper. He calls it Bikol Blogger.

Now let me reprint the poem here:


1. Mainit na sinapna,
Pagmawuw ika uda,
Namit itum na raga.

2. Usipun kading buut,
Mig-anud, migpadagus.
Maulug man su upus,
Diri pa matatapus.

3. Pagmata, paturug,
Pagsapuy, parigus,
Pagkape, pagnaug–
Puso ko, naglinug!

4. Karusun man na kinudkud,
Bagong tigbas man na ubud,
Dawa tubig man sa nuyug–
Tam-is mo, Kaye, da kaarug!

5. Pag nagrarawitdawit
Ading rira ko lubid.
Kunu ka mabibitik?

Yes, it’s for my Esmi. I have lots of other SMS poems for her and some are even written in Tagalog like this diona:

Baryo mang may piyesta

Subalit kung wala ka

Parang ibang planeta.

I used to write stuffs like this everyday (when I still had much time in my hands). And each time I came up with something good I would send it to her. I actually intend to collect and later include them in my Tagalog book of poetry. I will allot a chapter, I think.

Meanwhile, I have been working on some podcasts lately. The FNF spent a considerable amount just to train me as a blogger and podcaster so might as well put my knowledge (no matter how limited) into use. My first product is a podcast of my poem in Tagalog ‘Panantili’. I plan to upload it here soon.




In the middle of a hectic but thankless academic schedule, I managed to squeeze in some literary activities. Yesterday, Friday at 6 p.m. we had the first leg of this month’s palihan. There will be another one on March 24, Saturday. This will be a bi-monthly gathering.

There were only three of us (Tom Navarro, Lance Gulim and me) but nevertheless I can say that it was a fruitful exercise. Not only that it was a welcome diversion from pragmatic existence, it also soothed our spirits. Nothing will compare to a small group sharing of poetry where you have everybody’s attention. Earlier, I also discussed the ways and means of literary publishing. I mused how effective a modality it is to have one’s poems printed in news-stand magazines than publish them in a book which nobody would read unless you market them by yourself. I also warned my friends of some no-pay publications, especially local ones—those that would sell themselves out to politicians election time or not.

Today, I had an incident at SOS-Naga City again. My newly-bought UPS turned out to be defective. After conversing with the proprietress, I gathered that: 1.) They will send it to Manila on Monday and it will take at least three weeks before a replacement arrives 2.) They cannot replace my unit right there and then because they won’t be able to extend warranty to the next costumer 3.) This practice is accepted nationwide 4.) They sell different brands and so I should have chosen the more expensive one because it will perform better, 5.) I’m not really so aggrieved because I have used the product 6.) SOS-Naga’s procedures and policies are always right

Now this is not the first time that this happened so I am not surprised. My mistake is that I am too loyal a costumer. Here are my comments on the matter.

1.) It is great that they assured me that they will send it to Manila on Monday. But this will not ensure that it will be replaced soonest. This means I will have to use my PC without back-up power. I bought the unit only last January 7, it was mid-February when I learned that there might be a problem (when it failed to back me up), but I gave it the benefit of the doubt (perhaps it was undercharged or discharged).

2.) They seem to be more concerned of the costumer who is yet to spend his or her money than the one who has already given them income.

3.) I think there is a nationwide problem then.

4.) And so the costumer is blamed for buying the cheaper product.

5.) I don’t really want to use my UPS because that would practically mean there’s power interruption (it’s built for that). In effect I only got to use it as a power regulator. When it had its rare chance (Sta Cruz rarely has power interruptions) to perform, it failed miserably.

6.) I was told that ‘Mayo kaming salang procedure’ (We have no wrong procedure/replacement policy). And so the costumer when encountering warranty problems, is always wrong. Not a nice policy really.

Nothing personal, just my comments and arguments, but then my computer is personal.





March 8, 2007

My blog’s readership seems to be getting wider. My blogstats can attest to this. Blogstats is a cool feature by WordPress where bloggers can check if people bother to drop by their blogs. It also tells from which Web site they come from and/or what they are looking for. Most of my referrers are literary sites where I am linked. Many of my readers are students doing research on literary stuffs.

I started serious writing back in 1999 (when I won grandprize for a one-act play in English). It started this itch to express myself in print. At first, I had no teachers. I simply wrote and wrote, deluding myself that I was a real poet. But then, when I think about it, if I had teachers who would tell me how bad my writing was, I would have stopped as early, because all I had was my ego. I started sending my poems to magazines. Some of them saw print and so I got more excited. I thought I was good. It was later when I learned from national writers workshops that many of my stuffs were crap. Real crap. But then, as they say, ‘May pera sa basura’. Some of those bad poems even won prizes.

I am actually writing this because I want to say that the internet helped me a lot. Since 2000, I have been publishing some of my works electronically. Truth is, there are many readers around here, inside this electronic universe. Many writers too. And of course, this is because there are lots of outlets. Before we only had Web sites, now we have blogs, podcasts and videocasts.

I first became columnist for ABS-CBN’s PinoyCentral.Com Magasin. And I remember, cartoonist Elbert Or, my co-fellow during Ricky Lee’s scriptwriting workshop was also there. It was fun writing for them. Aside from foreign poetry sites, I also got involved in other local sites like Dalityapi Unpoemed, the literary Web site of Pangasinense poet Sonny Villafania. There are lots of Dalityapi writers, enough to form a group. It would really be wise if the contributors would meet from time to time. Another one of my Web sites is OragonRepublic.Com. It is maintained by my friends Fer and Shiela Basbas. I serve as its literary editor, and in 2005, we published a Bikol literary folio. We also sponsored the Writer’s Night right there in Lolo’s Bar. I hope we can still do a repeat of those projects again.

As for my blogging, it was second quarter of last year when the Friedrich Naumann Foundation granted me fellowship for their blogging and podcasting workshop. There we learned from blogging gurus like Manolo Quezon and likewise, we are to spread the word about this phenomenon called blogging, and how it liberates the heart and the intellect.



Yes, it’s master poet Cirilo F. Butista. He was much younger in this picture. But then poets are made of fire, they never grow old and die. They are immortal for they rewrite the text of the universe.

The first book penned by this author that I ever owned was a collection of poems in Tagalog. Bought it in National Bookstore in Robinson’s Imus (Or was it Goodwill Bookstore as part of a poetry prize?). I stayed in Cavite because my aunt owns a place there. I was then finishing my ROTC in FEU-Morayta. I was B.S. R.O. as they used to say.

I remember that I would only go to Manila during weekends, staying at Jamael Jacob’s apartment in UP-Diliman. There we would have drinks (as other batchmates would also come over) and endless talks about almost everything. And come Sunday, I had to be the demoted Sergeant (I quit as MP, could not stand it) that I was.

After each training session, I went to CCP, Intramuros or National Museum. It was fun looking at artworks and being in places that had this creative atmosphere. Then I would go back to Cavite.

There I devoured books. I had no other things that I could use to entertain myself, no radio or TV, the house was almost bare. And so I wrote and read, almost like a hermit isolated from the rest of the world.

Bautista’s poetry in Tagalog was a fresh read for me. I was then reading works by foreign authors, mainly suicidal poets who had groupies. I noticed that Bautista employed techniques not usually observed among Tagalog poets. Some of his works ( as I read them, young as I was) were almost dream-like, ethereal and yet philosophical. And I could not understand them at first until they got into me–music, beat and punches.

It seemed like long ago. Years after, I met him in Baguio during a national writers workshop (where my favorite poem got shredded). I found him to be cool and composed, like a Jedi master.

Now I heard he will be publishing an anthology of poems in English and Tagalog by young and emerging writers. It will be pressed in UST and will come out later this year. Well, a writer of his caliber will never be turned down by publishers. And I’m sure both volumes will be an exciting collection.

Now on Friday (March 9), there will be another poetry discussion here in my place. Same people will attend (and more, I think). Lecturer will be, of course, me (since I’m not done with the previous topic). Then followed by critiquing, rounds of beer and poetry readings with distorted guitar music. You want to come? Just tell us.