March 5, 2007


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.



  1. tomachfive said

    Jason, you impart not only poetic beauty, but also Timeless Wisdom to young poets and bohemians looking for Formalism in their defamiliarized life situations. We thrive in Chaos to give order to the populations. Hail the Saber-com Tigers, Warriors!

  2. hagbayon said

    Yeah, thanks.

    See you on Friday!

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